A week ago, the Eagles fell flat on their faces against the lowly Vikings. A poor gameplan combined with terrible gameday management, and absolutely wretched defensive effort doomed the team in an embarrassing loss.
This week, the Eagles did a complete 180 from what they were in Minnesota.
Chip Kelly’s gameplan was much improved, with Kelly wisely making LeSean McCoy the focal point of his offense. McCoy ripped off 133 yards on 18 carries, scoring two touchdowns while Kelly’s offense dropped 45 points on the Chicago defense. Kelly’s offense dominated time of possession, and punted the ball only twice. This was an effort so dominating, it looked like one of Kelly’s Oregon Duck blowout games.
Defensively, Billy Davis and his unit did a great job cleaning up a lot of their misques from a week ago and returning to the solid form that has anchored the Eagles to a lot of their victories. The defense began the night by pitching two three-and-outs, and kept the explosive Chicago offense in check.
Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffrey, and Matt Forte have combined for over 4,000 total yards from scrimmage. What did the numbers look like for these three potent weapons tonight? Through two and a half quarters when the game mattered, Marshall was held to two catches for 19 yards. Jeffrey had five for 66. Forte gained just six yards on five carries. To bottle up all of that explosiveness is truly commendable, and you have to give the defense credit for forgetting their failures in Minnesota and getting right back on track. Davis’ defense didn’t allow a touchdown until the final play of the third quarter.
The defense was responsible for scoring nine points, and they chased Jay Cutler from the game early in the fourth quarter.
Foles Keeps Impressing
It was another solid night for Nick Foles.
Foles began his night by making a great play to find Riley Cooper in the back of the endzone on the team’s first score. Foles remained calm with a rusher heading right for him, went through his progressions, kept his eyes downfield and delivered a strike to his wide receiver.
Foles did the same thing on the next drive. He bought just enough time with his legs to extend the play and managed to find Zach Ertz for a 26-yard gain to put the team in the redzone. The big gain helped set up LeSean McCoy’s first touchdown run of the evening.
Foles had a beautiful pump fake that got a Chicago defender to jump, and allowed Foles a chance to deliver a pass to Jason Avant for a first down in the second quarter. Throughout the night, the young quarterback made big throws on third down that extended drives. He did not throw an interception, and made smart decisions to take care of the ball.
Foles finished 21/25 for 230 yards with two touchdowns.
- LeSean McCoy beautiful spin move on his second touchdown run.
- Chris Polk missed a block on Julius Peppers in the first quarter. Peppers nearly got to Foles, but Foles was able to get rid of the ball in time.
- Polk picked up a touchdown in the fourth quarter to make it a 40-11 game.
- Todd Herremans and Lane Johnson did a nice job blocking on McCoy’s touchdown run in the first quarter.
- Can we do away with the Wild Cat formation please? That fad was stale and done with three years ago.
- James Casey came up with a big block that sprung McCoy on the 4th and 1 run in the first quarter.
- The Eagles called a lot of plays that had DeSean Jackson running routes from out of the backfield. Jackson caught three passes and picked up two first downs from these formations.
- The team also called a great deal of screen plays for McCoy, which they turned into big gains all night.
- Kelly cost the team a timeout by attempting to challenge LeSean McCoy’s fumble in the third quarter. All turnovers are reviewed automatically, so a team cannot challenge a play or if they do they lose a timeout.
- Bryce Brown finished the night with a 65-yard touchdown run, giving him 115 yards for the game.
- Defense began the night with two three-and-outs. Jay Cutler didn’t target either Brandon Marshall or Alshon Jeffrey until the end of the first quarter.
- It was a huge night for Trent Cole, who finished the game with three sacks. Cole picked up his sixth sack of the season on a third down on the Bears’ opening drive. His resurgence has been remarkable.
- Earl Wolff returned to the team tonight, and broke up a pass intended for Marshall on third down early in the second quarter.
- Cary Williams broke up a deep pass intended for Marshall in the second quarter.
- The Eagles’ linebackers struggled to cover Martellus Bennett in the second quarter. Cutler found Bennett three times for 51 yards on one drive.
- Mychal Kendricks picked up a sack on Cutler in the second quarter that put the Bears in a third and 28 situation. Kendricks’ sack ended up taking the Bears out of field goal range. Kendricks picked up a second sack in the third quarter on a third down, forcing another Chicago punt.
- A poor spot by the officials gave the Bears a field goal attempt before the half, which Robbie Gould was able to connect on.
- Cedric Thornton stopped Matt Forte for a loss in the endzone for a safety in the third quarter.
- Nice play by DeMeco Ryans in the third to break up a third-down pass to Matt Forte.
- Brandon Boykin picked off a Cutler pass in the fourth quarter and ran it back for a touchdown. Boykin has five picks on the year, which is tremendous for a nickel corner.
- Great play by Bradley Fletcher to strip Devin Hester and create a turnover for the Eagles. Fletcher was pressed into special teams duty along with Cary Williams due to the absences of Kurt Coleman and Colt Anderson.
- Brad Smith has become a nice contributor on special teams. Smith picked up a tackle on the opening kickoff.
- Alex Henery hit a 49-yard field goal before the half to make it a 24-0 game.
- Another week, another great punt from Donnie Jones. In the third quarter, Jones launched a punt that pinned Chicago inside their own 5-yard line which was downed by Brandon Boykin. The punt from Jones set up a safety for the Eagles.
With nine wins, Chip Kelly has secured a winning season, continuing to go above and beyond the expectations of many, myself included.
Sure, the Bears have a very poor defense, but to see this team bounce back the way they did and look so crisp on offense and to see them fight hard again on defense was extremely encouraging, and its a tribute to the mentality that the new coaching staff has installed in these players.
However, its not time to celebrate yet.
The Eagles have one more massive challenge in front of them to close out the regular season. They must go on the road and defeat the Dallas Cowboys in order to earn the right to participate in the postseason.
Everything that the Eagles have worked for over the past year is on the line. For all intents and purposes, the playoffs begin next weekend for this team.
The chants of “We Want Dallas” in the middle of the third quarter were a beautiful thing to hear.
With Week 17′s match against the Dallas Cowboys shaping up to be a showdown for the division, Denny Basens and Jeff Kolsky are planning to get a group together to watch the game at XFINITY Live, and we would like to extend invitations to any and all readers of GCobb.com to come out and join us. We sincerely appreciate all who read, comment, and make this website great, and we’d love the opportunity to meet some of the readers and experience a great game together.