Dallas' win earlier in the day made Sunday night's contest meaningless for the Philadelphia Eagles in terms of playoff implications. All Chip Kelly's players could do was send a message.
Unfortunately for the Chicago Bears, who had plenty on the line, that's exactly what they did.
LeSean McCoy has 133 yards rushing and 2 TDs as the Eagles destroy the Bears 54-11. pic.twitter.com/brWHcdgAUO— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 23, 2013
After the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions both tumbled, Chicago had a chance to clinch the NFC North, but the Eagles poured on 21 first-quarter points, 21 fourth-quarter points and ran for 289 yards on the ground en route to a comprehensive 54-11 victory at Lincoln Financial Field.
The Bears 43-point loss was their largest defeat since Nov. 6, 1977 vs Oilers (47-0)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 23, 2013
#Eagles w 289 rush yds tonite. 5th time this YR w 200+ in a game. In 5 yrs before Chip came to Philly Eagles only had 5 200+ games COMBINED.— Bruce Feldman (@BFeldmanCBS) December 23, 2013
Afterward, Kelly noted that the importance of the game didn't matter, via the Eagles' official Twitter feed:
Kelly asked why starters played: Very simple - we're from Philadelphia, we're going to fight.— Eagles Insider (@EaglesInsider) December 23, 2013
Both squads now need wins in Week 17 to advance to the postseason.
In the first quarter, LeSean McCoy's one-yard scoring run was sandwiched by two Nick Foles' touchdown throws, while the Bears ran just eight nine plays for 26 yards and Devin Hester lost a fumble on a kickoff return.
CSNPhilly.com's Reuben Frank noticed the teams appeared to have switched roles:
Following the opening 15 minutes, the tone was set, and the Eagles dominated every aspect of the game.
They continued to do whatever they wanted on offense until resting many of their starters through the fourth quarter. Nick Foles finished with 230 yards and two touchdowns on 21-of-25 throwing, while LeSean McCoy tallied 162 total yards (133 rushing, 29 receiving) and two touchdowns.
Kelly talked about Foles' extremely efficient performance:
Chip Kelly: Thought Nick Foles did a really, really nice job of managing things tonight ... Made really good decisions.— Eagles Insider (@EaglesInsider) December 23, 2013
On the ground, while much of Shady's running went through cavernous running lanes, his second touchdown showcased his special elusiveness:
But Kelly was in a giving mood. Chris Polk and Bryce Brown also got a chance at Chicago's pathetic run defense, adding touchdown scampers of 10 and 65 yards, respectively. Brown, the backup running back, mind you, ended the night with 115 yards on just nine carries.
Eagles ---> No. 1 rushing offense Bears ---> No. 32 rushing defense. The result? The Eagles have 291 rushing yards.— CBSSports.com (@CBSSports) December 23, 2013
Brandon Boykin also added a pick-six in the fourth quarter on Jay Cutler's last throw of the game.
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Cutler threw for 222 yards, one touchdown and one interception and was sacked five times before being replaced (with the game out of hand) by Josh McCown. Star running back Matt Forte, meanwhile, managed just 54 total yards on 13 touches and was taken down for a safety to top it all off.
The Eagles finished with 514 total yards of offense and 28 first downs, while Chicago mustered 257 (32 less than Philly had on the ground) and 18, much of which came late in the game after Philadelphia had already established a 30-point lead.
Nick Foles, Eagles: A
The Bears defense didn't exactly offer much resistance, but Foles did whatever he wanted. Whether he was inside or outside the pocket, he made the right decisions, used the pump fake well, threw accurately and moved the ball down the field with ease.
He threw just four incompletions on the night, but as Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer noted, the first three were throwaways:
Nick Foles completed 14 of 17 passes for 145 yds and 2 TDs in 1st half. 2 incompletions were out of bounds, another was tossed into ground.— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) December 23, 2013
You can't play much better under center than Foles did on Sunday, and it's scary to think what kind of numbers he might have put up if the game was close.
Jay Cutler, Bears: C
Cutler made some throws late in the third and early in the fourth quarter, but for the most part, he was inspiring tweets such as these from the Packers faithful:
Dear Coach Trestman, please be sure to start Jay Cutler next Sunday. Thanks.— Dave Sinykin (@TCHeadCheese) December 23, 2013
Granted, the entire blame can't be placed on Cutler. His offensive line didn't play all that well, and the early deficit essentially forced Chicago to become one-dimensional.
Still, he was far too inconsistent, as he missed throws, struggled to make the correct decisions whenever Philadelphia was able to generate pressure and topped it off with a bad pick-six in the fourth quarter.
Against a defense that has really struggled against the pass on the season, Cutler couldn't do much of anything.
Trent Cole, Eagles: A
We could probably name just about anyone on the offensive side of the ball for the Eagles here, but let's give some credit to Trent Cole.
The veteran linebacker finished with three sacks, which, as ESPN Stats & Info pointed out, was a vintage performance:
Trent Cole: 3rd career game with 3+ sacks, 1st since Week 14 2011 at Dolphins (3.0).— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 23, 2013
He and Mychal Kendricks (two sacks) were at the center of Philly's defensive success, as their pressure set the tone, making Cutler uncomfortable and upsetting the timing and flow of the Bears offense.
The Eagles travel to Dallas for a must-win season finale against the Cowboys, while the Bears face the exact same situation at home against the Green Bay Packers.