Philadelphia Eagles: 7 Observations from Week 16 Victory over Chicago Bears
It all comes down to next week. While the Philadelphia Eagles spanked the Chicago Bears, 54-11, before a national audience (with the Bears actually needing to win the game!), the season will be decided in Dallas next Sunday.
Does it get any better than that?
Chip Kelly has done a marvelous job this year, taking a 4-12 team to 9-6 and on the brink of a playoff berth. Along the way, he’s made a transition to his backup quarterback and coaxed an MVP-caliber season out of him.
His rushing attack is the NFL’s finest, the defense has overachieved all season and the Eagles have put themselves in position to make a serious run in the playoffs should they knock off Dallas.
Eagles fans will have a week to pump themselves up for what should be a thrilling Week 17 matchup with the Cowboys—a team that did hand the Eagles a humiliating 17-3 loss earlier this year. It’s an absolute must-win for Philly and a chance for both Nick Foles and Kelly to get redemption in the biggest way.
For now, here are seven takeaways from a good old-fashioned Eagles’ butt-kicking against the Bears.
Nick Foles Just Wins Football Games
How about Foles Sunday night?
The second-year signal-caller was on his game all day. His passes were right on the money, and he shredded a Chicago Bears defense that really needed a win.
Foles’ 84 percent completion rate was a single-game franchise record (minimum 25 attempts). He averaged 9.2 yards per attempt, threw two touchdowns and played interception-free football. Foles’ 131.7 passer rating was his eighth such game of a passer rating in the triple digits. The only quarterback to have done that more times this season is Peyton Manning, who will likely win the NFL MVP award.
Foles ran for 17 yards on two carries as well, leading the Eagles to 514 yards. That’s the fifth game this season Philly has put up at least 475 total yards of offense. Only seven other teams in history have done that.
Foles is now 8-2 this year in games in which he’s seen significant action. Without him, the Eagles are 1-4. That’s an MVP candidate if there ever was one.
LeSean McCoy Got His Wish
He certainly got his wish.
McCoy carried the ball 18 times for 133 yards and two touchdowns and added six catches for 29 yards out of the backfield. That’s 24 total touches for 162 yards and two scores for McCoy, who is running away with the NFL’s rushing title.
The Eagles are now 16-3 all-time when McCoy touches the football at least 24 times, and they’re 7-1 when he scores multiple rushing touchdowns in a game. McCoy enters Week 17 with a 198-yard lead on the rushing title, and he faces a Dallas Cowboys team that is historically awful on defense.
There May Not Be a Better Offensive Line Than the One in Philadelphia
Kelly has done a phenomenal job with the Philadelphia Eagles offense, and not enough praise can be heaped on the offensive line.
Left to right, Jason Peters, Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce, Todd Herremans and Lane Johnson have done a sensational job. All are under contract for 2014.
Sunday night, they helped Philly put up 514 yards on offense against a Chicago Bears team that really needed a win. Foles was sacked just twice, but he received enough protection that he was able to complete a whopping 84 percent of his passes. And the running game was out of this world.
McCoy ran for 133 yards, Bryce Brown added 115 and Chris Polk added a touchdown of his own. In all, that’s 289 rushing yards, 8.0 yards per carry and four rushing touchdowns for the Eagles. The Eagles became just the ninth team in modern NFL history to pull off that achievement, and the first in five years.
Should the Eagles reach the playoffs and host a snowy January football game, that offensive line is going to be a major factor in Philly’s performance.
The Secondary Contained Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery
Give some major props to the Philadelphia Eagles secondary for its tremendous performance Sunday night. The Chicago Bears presented a serious challenge with the receiving duo of Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, and Philly’s corners and safeties showed up.
Marshall finished with four catches for 36 yards and a touchdown, and Jeffery put up a 6-76 line. In all, that’s just 112 yards for the pair, and that’s a major victory for Philadelphia.
Second-year cornerback Brandon Boykin picked off a Jay Cutler pass and took it 54 yards to the house, giving him five interceptions for the season. Veteran corner Cary Williams continued his fine play, adding four tackles and a pair of pass knockdowns. And the Eagles secondary held Cutler to just 6.3 yards per attempt, a 73.8 passer rating and a brutal 15.4 in ESPN's QBR stat.
The Front Seven Put Some Serious Pressure on Jay Cutler
The Philadelphia Eagles won the battle in the trenches, pressuring Cutler all day. Trent Cole led the way, as he sacked Cutler three times. That’s now eight sacks for Cole in the past seven games, and the Eagles are 6-1 during that stretch.
Mychal Kendricks picked up a pair of sacks, a tackle for a loss, a forced fumble and five tackles. That’s now 13 total tackles and three sacks in the past two games for him. Defensive end Cedric Thornton picked up a huge safety, tackling Matt Forte in the end zone. Bennie Logan anchored the middle of the line, picking up two tackles and one for a loss.
In all, the Eagles held Forte, one of the NFL’s more underrated backs, to just 29 yards on nine carries. That’s an average of just 3.2 yards per carry, and that’s a major reason the Eagles won this game.
Philly’s Special Teams Stepped Up Big
Not to be forgotten was the fine play from the Philadelphia Eagles special teams units, especially after the brutal showing against Detroit and the short-kick fiasco versus Minnesota.
On the first kickoff to supreme return man Devin Hester, the Eagles forced a fumble (and recovered it). In all, they held Hester to a respectable 23.8 yards per return.
Alex Henery made a 49-yard field goal, and punter Donnie Jones punted twice, landing both inside the 20.
The Eagles Head to Dallas with a Lot of Momentum
The Philadelphia Eagles didn’t just beat the Chicago Bears. They annihilated them. CSNPhilly.com writer Reuben Frank said he’s never seen a team roll over and quit like the Bears did Sunday night.
Philly became the second team in NFL history to put up at least 21 points in the first and fourth quarter of a game. The only other team was the 1950 Los Angeles Rams. That’s how dominant this performance was by Kelly’s Eagles.
All that won’t matter if the Eagles can’t beat the Dallas Cowboys, though.
Most experts will likely be picking Philly, seeing as it's on a hot streak and Dallas has been largely inconsistent all season. Should Kelly lose this game, it will really put a damper on what has been such a spectacular year. But come away with a win, and the Eagles may be that team that no one wants to play in the postseason.