Eagles drop a tough one to Bears 30-24

November 8th, 2011 by Scott Dargis | Filed under Eagles, Football, General.

Before last night if you told me that the Eagles were going to make Matt Forte fumble the ball twice and score 14 points off of those turnovers, I would have told you that there would have been no way the Eagles could have lost. Yet due to a combination of: Jay Cutler not being sacked once, ONCE!, the mediocre play of the secondary, a failed fake punt, and two turnovers of their own the Eagles now find themselves looking up at a very daunting mountain to climb if they want to make the playoffs.

After falling down 10-0, there was a prime opportunity to capitalize just before half time. After Brian Rolle scooped up a Matt Forte fumble and ran it to the house, the Eagles forced the Bears into a quick three and out. Desean Jackson who was in desperate need of making a breakout play stood back near his own 20 waiting for the ball. A big play would come, but not the one that Jackson wanted to make.

Jackson simply could not hold onto the ball while the Bears defenders ripped and clawed at the ball eventually forcing a fumble, which was questionably recovered by the Bears, (I’ll get to that later on). All of the momentum that the Eagles had to fight so hard vanished with that turnover. After two games of doing a fantastic job of holding onto the football, that turnover bug stung the Eagles at a crucial part. There was a minute a two timeouts to work with, plenty of time for Vick to get the ball down the field for a field goal. Can’t play a game of what ifs and should haves though.

Give the defense credit they forced the Bears into a 3rd and goal situation only to have a very questionable flag thrown on Jason Babin for roughing the passer. It sure looked like Bears RG Chris Spencer pushed Babin into Cutler. Then two plays later Marion Barber found the endzone, 17-10 to end the half, all of the momentum at least for the moment gone.

If the Eagles do not make the playoffs, the second half of this game could very well be where most people point the finger and ask the question of what happened here?

The second half started with a very uncharacteristic long drive that resulted in a touchdown. Seriously a 15 play, 80 yard drive that takes up over six and a half minutes of clock, when was the last time the Eagles did that to come out and begin a half. On the next Bears possession Matt Forte fumbles again and the ball is recovered by the Eagles, but Forte is originally ruled down by the official. The replay clearly shows the ball coming out way before Forte touches the turf and it is on the officials viewing side, again a curious call by the officials, anyone sensing a theme here.

Even though he was bottled up for most of the first half, Lesean McCoy found ways to make defenders look like they were running on a treadmill. Doesn’t he just seem to always make big plays when the Eagles need to score a touchdown? Almost on cue he scores to give the Eagles a 24-17 lead on a 33 yd run with help from a great block downfield by Jason Peters. Momentum square in the corner of the Eagles.

This is the point where you look at the final score and say to yourself how the hell could the Eagles lose this one. Forte got his 133 yards, but 45 of them came on the first drive after that the Eagles kept him under control to a point where he didn’t kill them. What did kill the Eagles was their secondary and a box of tricks from Cutler.

The first really bad play from the secondary in this sequence takes place on a 2nd and 12 from just near midfield. The Bears had already kicked a FG so the score is 24-20 at this point. Earl Bennett is wide open on a little out route, gains 14 first down. The reason why this play is worth looking at is because Asumougha appeared to have been playing man where he should have been playing zone. He is cleared out of the play because he is covering Johnny Knox on a slant route leaving Bennett in a huge hole in the zone. In fact Rodgers-Cromartie is the first person to make contact with him after he had already passed the marker. This would not be the last time Asumougha had a problem.

Fast forward to a second and goal for the Bears on this drive, Culter throws a fade to the back of the endzone to a wide open Earl Bennett who left Asante Samuel looking lost in coverage. At this point in the game the groin laceration that Samuel suffered early on didn’t appear to be bothering him, so let’s just say it was terrible coverage at best.

Now at 27-24 the Eagles move the ball down just past midfield. Chas Henry’s number is called, not to punt the ball, but to actually throw to Colt Anderson. The play happened so quickly that Mike Tirico couldn’t describe it in a complete sentence. Personally I did not like the play call. The kid is good enough to punt the ball within at least the 15 yard line. The further back you can pin them the better because even though Cutler had barely been touched up until that point, his space to make plays would become limited. He wouldn’t take as much of a chance scrambling back near the goal line. Just didn’t like the play call at all, but what was worse was the actual throw by Henry. That ball just needs to be lobbed over Anderson so he can go get it, only Hester would have been there to tackle him. Just another Andy Reid blunder.

The Bears now have the win within their sights, good field position, up three, just try and take as much clock off as possible. Well not so fast, the Eagles found themselves in good position to get the ball back with a lot of time. 3rd and 11 ball on the Eagles 25, Culter throws it to Johnny Know who is getting abused by Asumougha. The refs may have made some mistakes in this one, but that was the easiest call of the game. Just flat out terrible.

More clock ticked away and a Robbie Gould automatic FG gave the Bears a six point lead. Alright it’s time for Vick to have that defining moment where he turns the season around and on cue Desean Jackson drops a first down. 4th and 10 last chance for Vick, he has Maclin open under the middle, but the throw is just a tad high causing Maclin to slip falling short of the first down and perhaps a sign that the Eagles are destined to fall short this season.

This game says just as much about the Bears as it does the Eagles. I’ll give them a ton of credit, Jay Cutler made plays all night long and finally got production out of one of his receivers. The reason why he was able to make plays was because of the unbelievable play from the offensive line, while he may have had to scramble some, the Eagles never got a clean look at him all night.

What I did like about the game:

Brent Celek – It appears as Celek has finally become a big part of the offense. After being designated to just block, he has become a strong part of the passing game due to the opposing defense’s focus on shutting down the speed of Jackson and Maclin. The middle and underneath throws are open all day long to him.

Lesean McCoy – The guy just moves at a different speed, he made Urlacher literally tackle an arm full of air at one point. I didn’t think that he was used enough in the screen passing game, he needs to touch the ball just as much as Forte does.

What I didn’t like about the game:

The second questioning of the officials – I noticed it first on a Jason Avant catch in the first half. It took the officials almost 2 minutes to decide if the ruling on the field was a catch. Even Jaws said, “just make a call”. The Babin call is worth debating and I still don’t know how Forte’s second fumble even made it to the replay booth. Overall very unimpressed with the lazy officiating.

Stuck in a Corner– All three corners had their share of blunders in this one. Rodgers-Cromartie giving up on a tackle because he thought he knocked the pass down, which was caught by the Bears receiver. The play just looked really awkward. Samuel lacerating his groin in the 2nd quarter, never heard of that one before. Then getting lost in coverage on the Earl Bennett go ahead touchdown. To top it off there was Asumougha who just underwhelmed all night. It appears that Castillo still doesn’t quite know how to use him and that Nnamdi still has a lot of work to do.

What do you guys think is this the end of the Eagles playoff hopes? Tweet me @Scottdargis and let me know what you think.

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