The Chicago Bears had an opportunity to clinch the NFC North division on Sunday night against the Philadelphia Eagles, but instead they were on the receiving end of a 54-11 thrashing on national television.
LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown each rushed for over 100 yards, and Nick Foles threw for 230 yards and two touchdowns as the Eagles torched the Bears for 516 yards of total offense. Jay Cutler threw for 222 yards, a touchdown, and an interception, and Matt Forte was held to just 29 yards rushing as the Bears dropped to 8-7 on the season.
The Bears’ offense came out on the first drive of the game after receiving the opening kickoff, but they couldn’t get anything going, as they went three and out thanks to a missed blitz pickup by Matt Forte that sent Cutler sprawling to the turf.
Meanwhile, the Eagles’ offense went through no such pain, churning out an excellent opening drive after getting great field position thanks to an errant Adam Podlesh punt. LeSean McCoy had a huge carry to start off the drive, and Foles picked up a first down of his own when Shea McClellin lost contain on the edge of the line and cut in too far, allowing Foles to drive forward. To cap things off, Foles lofted a gorgeous pass over the Bears’ secondary, finding Riley Cooper in the back of the end zone to give the Eagles a 7-0 lead.
On the next kickoff, Devin Hester brought the ball out to the 40-yard line, but it was punched out by Bradley Fletcher, and the Eagles got great field position once again. This time, McCoy took the ball at the goal line and brought it in himself, and the Eagles took a 14-0 lead halfway through the first quarter.
After another Bears’ three-and-out, the Eagles once again took the ball and drove it down the field. McCoy picked up a key first down on a 4th-and-1 conversion, and a few plays later, the Eagles sealed the deal. On a great crossing route, Lance Briggs got drilled with a moving pick, and Brent Celek caught the ball in open space for the easy touchdown and gave the Eagles a 21-0 lead.
A few drives later, the Bears finally put together some really good plays on offense, picking up a couple of big third down conversions. Martellus Bennett was the one who really shone on that drive, hauling in three passes for big yardage. Unfortunately, the Bears couldn’t get over the hump thanks to some tremendous play by the Eagles’ defensive front, as they blitzed and sacked Cutler twice. The Bears couldn’t pick up the third-and-long, and they were forced to punt after being within easy field goal range.
The Eagles’ offense came back out on the field, and they moved the ball at will once again. On a great screen pass to McCoy, both McClellin and Briggs ended up getting cut down with great downfield blocks. A few plays later, McCoy again got the ball, this time on a screen pass, and both Bears’ players were drilled with great blocks. Finally, Foles had a great pump fake on a pass attempt to DeSean Jackson, and Jason Avant caught the ball for a first down.
Fortunately for Chicago, they did stiffen up on defense, and the Eagles were forced to settle for a long field goal, making it 24-0 late in the first half.
In that final minute of the quarter, the Bears were finally able to get some points on the board. Cutler made a couple of nice pass completions to Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall, but ultimately they had to settle for a field goal by Robbie Gould, and the Eagles maintained a 24-3 lead going into halftime.
After Jackson picked up a couple of first downs on great touch passes from Foles, the Bears finally got some positive momentum on defense. It started with an Isaiah Frey forced fumble that ultimately was overturned, but the Eagles could never quite recover. They did pull off a tremendous punt down to the 2-yard line of the Bears, and Cutler and company went to work at the goal line.
Taking full advantage of the Bears’ backs being to the wall, the Eagles stacked the middle of their line, and despite the Bears filling up the box on their side of the line of scrimmage, Forte was tripped up and went down in the end zone, and the Eagles got the safety after video review and got a 26-3 lead in the process.
After getting the ball back following the safety, the Eagles marched the ball right back down the field. McCoy picked up a couple of key runs on the drive, concluding with a ridiculous spin move near the goal line that he brought in for the score, and Philadelphia took a 33-3 lead after the play.
With nothing to lose, the Bears’ offense started gambling on their next drive, and it ended up paying dividends. They picked up two fourth-down conversions thanks to Marshall and Forte catches, and after a great downfield catch by Martellus Bennett that set up a 1st-and-goal, Marshall made a touchdown catch to make it 33-9. Earl Bennett picked up the two point conversion to end the third quarter, but the Bears still trailed 33-11.
As soon as the Bears’ defense got back on the field though, the Eagles went right back to work. Using some great running by McCoy and Bryce Brown, Philadelphia went back down the field with ease, but it was ultimately Chris Polk that bulldozed Chris Conte on his way into the end zone to put the Eagles ahead 40-11 early in the fourth quarter.
On the Bears’ next drive, Cutler threw his final pass of the night right into the hands of Brandon Boykin, who returned it 54 yards for a touchdown that put the Eagles up 47-11. Josh McCown came in for the Bears’ next drive, with Forte, Marshall, and Jeffery all staying on the sideline as well as Marc Trestman looked ahead to Week 17.
After yet another three-and-out, the Eagles rubbed more salt into the wound, with Brown taking a 65 yard run to the end zone to put Philadelphia up 54-11.
Despite the massive blowout, the Bears still hold their own playoff destiny in their hands, since a win next week against the Green Bay Packers would clinch the NFC North championship.