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Smashing Victory



    The Bears played their best game of the season, Sunday, beating the NFC East-leading Philadelphia Eagles 31-26 at Soldier Field.

    Coupled with a Packers loss to the Atlanta Falcons, the victory propelled the Bears into sole ownership of the NFC North lead.

    Chicago played stiff defense in the first half and appeared to be in a trench fight with Vick and the Eagles, the game turned for the Bears near the end of the second quarter.

    At the two-minute warning, the Bears were up by just one point. The Eagles were on the Bears eight-yard line, when MVP candidate Michael Vick did something he hasn't done in years. He threw an interception.

    Tommie Harris tipped up his pass near the line of scrimmage, and Chris Harris got the pick and ran it back 39 yards. The offense took over and Devin Hester, Johnny Knox made huge plays culminating in an Earl Bennett touchdown.

    Within two minutes, the Bears went from inches away from being down at the half to being up by eight.

    The offense got the job done by stringing together plenty of big plays. It started early, with Matt Forte breaking out for a 61-yard run, which set up an Earl Bennett touchdown catch. Hester followed that up with a 39-yard catch that set up a Knox TD, and then in the third quarter, Hester caught a 34-yarder to set up a Greg Olsen TD.

    But the offense's big plays would have meant nothing without the outstanding play of the defense. They stopped a previously unstoppable quarterback in Vick. Not only did they pick him off for the first time since 2006, they sacked him four times. LeSean McCoy, a running back who is averaging 72 yards per game, had just 53 yards.

    Plenty of Bears put up big numbers in the win. Brian Urlacher led the team with nine tackles. Julius Peppers had four tackles and a sack. Hester, Earl and Bennett all finished the day with a catch of more than 30 yards, and Forte had a 100+ yard rushing game for just the second time this season. Cutler finished the game with four TD passes, going 14-21 and gaining 247 yards.

    Now, the Bears have the lead of the NFC North all to themselves, and their destiny is in their hands. They'll head to Detroit next Sunday.