Chicago Bears Finish off Philadelphia Eagles

Nathan VenegasCorrespondent ISeptember 29, 2008

Heading into Sunday night’s game against the Eagles, the Bears could have easily had a record of 3-0 but lack of closing caused leads to slip and racked up two losses in this short season.

The Bears were eager to put to rest all those questions marks about finishing against Donovan McNaab and the Philadelphia Eagles.

It must be noted that the Eagles were without their stud running back, and possibly the best running back in the NFL the past three years, in Brian Westbrook. Westbrook is a game changer and a match up nightmare for defenses. His absence really limited the Eagles offense.

In the same regard the Bears were without Pro Bowl DT Tommie Harris. Harris hasn’t put up big numbers so far this year but he usually draws double teams freeing up the defensive ends. While he hasn’t gotten any sacks this season be sure one of his teammates did because Harris drew a double team.

Ron Turner needs to be commended for finding ways to play around the Eagles blitz packages. End-arounds, draw plays, quick screens are all effective ways to get around a good pass rush.

The Bears need to execute better on offense as the fumble by Kevin Jones was inexcusable and can be chalked up to not being with the team the whole offseason. The second half was plagued with turnovers which they’ll have to work out.

However, at the end of the game, the Bears offense got one first down and killed the clock just enough so the Eagles had little chance of staging a comeback. Still the Bears offense has shown improvement week after week, from the check downs and screen passes in Week 1 to the route running and misdirection plays of Week 4.

The Good

The Bears Defense. It did a good job of not letting McNaab run around in the pocket and limiting the time he had to find the open receiver. They did give up some big chunks of yards to the Eagles running game late but fatigue, caused by offensive turnovers, played into that.

Regardless the defense held when they had to, something they hadn’t done in the previous two games.

The Bad

Defensive schemes. If the Bears version of the cover-2 is allowing for easy 7 and 8 yard completions like it has been doing the last two weeks perhaps its time to shake it up a little.

Like with every new defense it works well for a time because teams aren’t used to it. The Cover-2 and all it’s variants have been around since 1999 so perhaps its time to start mixing in some different formations. The Nickel worked well against the Colts.

The Ugly

Injuries. Injuries hampered the Bears early in the 2007 season hopefully that’s not the case this time around. Brandon Lloyd and Charles Tillman both left the game with Nathan Vasher getting looked at in the locker room before returning.

I know there isn’t much the Bears players themselves can do about this, but here’s hoping they do all that’s necessary to take care of their bodies.

The Difference

Kyle Orton’s 3 TD passes. His first to Olsen may or may not have been overturned but the other two were perfect balls placed where only the receiver had a shot at them.

I myself have been all over Orton for throwing the ball not only where his receivers can catch it but also so they can make the catch in stride without a major adjustment of speed or route.

Devin Hester may not return a punt or kickoff for a touchdown this season, but his mere presence in the kicking game and on the offense is a big factor for the Bears.

Hester draws extra defenders and more often than not kickers are told to keep the ball away from him. Teams are respecting his play making ability which should open the door for some of his teammates.

Oh yeah, the Bears are now tied with the Pack for first place in the NFC North. If Aaron Rodgers shoulder doesn’t heal up soon and if the Vikings are still looking for stability at quarterback (cough...Berrian...cough), this division could be there for the taking for the Monsters of the Midway.

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