Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears
When asked how the Bears defense plans to stop the league's No.1 offense, Brian Urlacher takes a moment before he speaks.
"This late in the season there's a lot of film on them that our coaches have broken down and we'll try to do some of the things other teams have had success doing. They're not impossible to stop. Don't get me wrong they've got a great group of guys there in Philly and McNabb is having an MVP type year, but we don't look at their numbers a pee ourselves or anything. They gotta worry about stopping us too."
By this time in the season, Cutler has proven he's worth the price of admission, boasting the leagues' fifth best QB rating with Brandon Rideau being the most unlikely of beneficiaries. Matt Forte is also having a great season, only 60 yards off of his second consecutive 1000 yard season.
Of course the Eagles are no scrubs either, with McNabb topping the NFL in rating, touchdowns, and completion percentage and Brian Westbrook just six yards shy of the 1000 yard mark himself.
The drama begins early when on the opening kickoff when it looks as thoughDevin Hester fumbles on the return and that it is recovered by Bryan Smith of the Eagles. After several minutes of replay and multiple angles, the Bears keep the ball at their own 35 and Philadelphia is charged a timeout.
Though traditionally not a team known for ingenuity the against the Eagles, this day their first drive features two draw plays, an end around a half back pass and a TE screen. This seems to frustrate the Eagles defense as the Bears eat up clock and get in the end zone on a swing pass to the running back Peterson.
Bears lead 7-0
The Eagles first drive is equally as successful as McNabb gets into an early groove with TE Celek and former No.1 receiver Reggie Brown. The only run on the drive is an 11-yard touchdown run by Westbrook giving him his second 1000 yard season.
Game tied at seven.
After both teams trade field goals, the defenses decide enough is enough.
On the next Eagles possession, Brian Urlacher leaps over a weak block attempt by Moreno to push McNabb to his left, right into the arms of Mark Anderson. The ball comes loose and Israel Idonije falls on the loose ball for the game's first turnover.
Cutler has problems of his own as pressure comes from every angle. Sean Jones comes on a safety blitz and manages to hit Cutler so hard, a scuffle breaks out in the backfield. Offensive linemen are shoving Eagle players left and right and several players are warned. From there the game takes on the feel of a throwback NFC North matchup.
Both quarterbacks spend the remainder of the first half scrambling for dear life. By the start of the fourth quarter, neither offense has topped 200 total yards, both have turned the ball over twice (Cutler two interceptions, Donovan a pick and a fumble) and neither running back is averaging over three-yards per carry.
The Bears seem to catch a break when Devin Hester returns a punt to the Eagle 40-yard line late in the fourth quarter with the game still tied at 10. A couple of quick slants to Rashied Davis put the Bears just inside the Eagles' red zone with two twenty left in the game.
Although they can penetrate no further, they take the lead with a 33-yard field goal at 13-10.
With a 1:52 seconds remaining and the Eagles down to their last time out, this has historically not been McNabb's best situation. Especially not against a Bears' defense that has been quicker off the ball the Eagles for most of the day.
The Bears special teams’ coverage is excellent and Booker is not even able to get to the 20-yard line.
The Eagles start the drive shaky as Curtis drops a six-yard bullet from McNabb and the next down Andrews (Stacy) moves before the snap. He makes up for it on the next snap, obliterating Urlacher allowing Westbrook to get in the secondary for his longest run of the game,16 yards.
Clock is running: 1:41 left.
Donovan throws a beautiful touch pass over the left shoulder of Desean Jackson that he grabs in front of Charles Tillman. Unfortunately, the second-year man makes no move to get out of bounds and although the pass goes for 17 yards, the clock is still running.
Celek catches a well-thrown slant but is immediately tackled after seven yards by Hunter Hillenmeyer and held down. Jamaal Jackson is down on the field, forcing the Eagles to call their last timeout.
Nick Cole replaces Jackson, who is able to walk off the field on his own, and the Eagles continue at Bears 43-yard line.
Two straight incomplete passes leave the Eagles at a third-and-10. Knowing they have two downs to work with to get the first, they run a draw play to Moreno. Despite being a rookie he gets all he can but then runs out of bounds.
It's now fourth-and-two with 59 seconds remaining.
Putting their two biggest receivers (Baskett and Avant) on the field, Donovan completes a quick slant to Baskett for four yards. They line up and spike the ball at the Bears 31 yard line.
51 seconds remain.
Donovan speaks with Marty and Andy on the sideline to see what their next move should be.
Though everyone in the stadium know the Eagles HAVE to pass, the Eagles run a play-action fake and almost pay for it. Adewale Ogunleye was not fooled by the fake and is close to pulling McNabb down for a loss. McNabb manages to escape and connect with Kevin Curtis. Curtis caught Marcus Hamilton peeking in the backfield and got behind him. McNabb has just enough strength to get the ball to Curtis who is chased down by Danieal Manning at the Bear 17-yard line.
39 seconds remain.
Donovan, though slow getting up, manages to get the ball spiked with 28 seconds left.
This is well within Akers kicking range and he has been warming up on the sidelines, but there is time for a couple of shots into the endzone. The first attempt to Desean Jackson is broken up by Nathan Vasher.
24 seconds left.
Next Donovan can find no one open, everyone on the Eagles sideline is screaming for him to throw it out the back of the endzone.
He finally fires a pass down the middle of the field. It finds Brent Celek right between the 8 and the 7. He appears to be in the endzone and even as Hillenmeyer pushes him, out the sideline judge signals touchdown. Amidst the Bears protest the play is reviewed by the booth.
"After reviewing the play, the player made the catch with both feet in the endzone and maintained possession all the way to the ground. Therefore the ruling on the field stands it is a touchdown. Please reset the clock to nine seconds following the extra-point attempt."
Nothing dramatic happens on the kickoff, Hester is stopped as time expires.
Final Score: Eagles 17, Bears 13
Player of the Game: Stewart Bradley (14 tackles, one sack, one interception)