Jay Cutler rallies Bears past Eagles
By Sean Jensen firstname.lastname@example.org November 7, 2011 11:36PM
Chicago Bears v Philadelphia Eagles
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Updated: December 9, 2011 8:22AM
PHILADELPHIA — The Bears couldn’t have scripted a better start or a better end.
Everything in between, though, was a jumbled mess in their 30-24 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night at Lincoln Financial Field.
But against one of the league’s most talented team – one dubbed “The Dream Team” because of his bevy of Pro Bowl players – the Bears dictated the tempo and turned in a performance familiar to its fan base.
“My compliments to the Bears,” Eagles coach Andy Reid said. “They played better football than we did.
“It was a tough football game. In these type of games, we have to take a lot of pride in being tougher than a tough team like the Bears.”
While Devin Hester had a quiet night, the Bears special teams recovered a fumble on a punt, setting up a touchdown, and the defense had an admirable game against an offense that was the top-ranked heading into the game.
But the Bears offense carried the team, even on a night when running back Matt Forte lost two fumbles.
“As a running back, your job is to run and hold onto the ball. When I get in traffic, I need to put two hands on it,” Forte said. “There’s no excuses. I got to put two hands on it.
“If I had turned the ball over that many times and we would have lost, it would have been… not good.”
Forte, who did finish with 133 rushing yards, was spared, and he helped the Bears start strong.
After the Bears won the coin toss and elected to receive, Forte was handed the ball on the first two plays, gaining six and 25 yards, behind some solid blocks from his linemen and tight ends.
By the end of the drive, which included key catches from Earl Bennett and a third-down conversion from Marion Barber, the Bears finished off the drive with a five-yard touchdown to tight end Matt Spaeth.
It was a 12-play, 79-yard drive that chewed up 5:42 of the clock and established Forte, who had six carries for 52 yards.
Then, the defense did its part, too, forcing a punt just as the Eagles entered Bears territory. Then early in the second quarter, Bears linebacker Lance Briggs tipped a Michael Vick pass intended for Jeremy Maclin, and safety Major Wright collected it for his first career interception.
The Bears offense stalled at the Eagles’ 33-yard line, but kicker Robbie Gould made amends, drilling a 51-yard field goal to give his team a 10-0.
Then the tables quickly turned.
Vick converted a third-and-nine from the Eagles’ 29-yard line, with a 31-yard completion to Maclin, and rookie kicker Alex Henery booted the ball onto the crossbar but barely over for a 47-yard field goal.
The Bears led 17-10 at halftime, but the Eagles stormed back, with two touchdowns in the third quarter, to take a 24-17 lead, one of them after Forte fumbled a second time.
“We had a little adversity there, in the third quarter, when we gave up two straight touchdowns and got behind,” Brian Urlacher said. “It was a tough game, we knew it was going to be tough.”
The Bears now prepare for a key game against the Detroit Lions next Sunday. At 5-3, the Bears could match the Lions in victories with a win at Soldier Field. But the Lions would have a half-game edge, because they have yet to have a bye and have only two losses on the season.