Over the past two years, I’ve done a live recap of a prime time Philadelphia Eagles each season. Since I’ve been writing about the Eagles for a Philly sports site, I originally wrote this there. To avoid disappointing the few of my readers who like the football (and because it’s an easy way to fill a day of the 31 Days of Blogging), I figured I could post it here as well.
Tonight’s game doesn’t affect the Eagles ability to make the playoffs, but the Bears can clinch their division with a victory. This means:
1. The Bears will have A LOT more motivation.
2. There’s a very good chance that we’ll be watching the Eagles next Sunday night as well.
While it’s sad that the Eagles can’t clinch anything, maybe in a way this will provide a stronger test of what kind of team they are.
I realized that with the Eagles not appearing on Sunday Night Football this season before tonight, I haven’t gotten to see the new opening intro with Carrie Underwood. Or did they have that last year? I can’t recall. Anyway, I kind of miss Faith Hill, but that’s only because “This Kiss” is one of my favorite songs. I wonder if there’s some way they could make that song the official opening theme for SNF. Somehow, I doubt it.
I gotta tell you: Nothing gets me fired up for football like Carrie Underwood singing while various NFL players pose on top of giant video cubes.
Two weeks ago, Lincoln Financial Field had blizzard-like conditions. Tonight, it’s in the 60s. Weather is weird.
We’re almost ready for kickoff!
15:00 – Look at that! The Eagles kicked it deep! And even better, they covered well, stopping Devin Hester at the 19 yard line.
14:27 – Jay Cutler is apparently going to break the Bears’ franchise record for passing yards. On a related note, the current NFL really favors the offense. These records barely mean anything anymore.
13:45 – Cutler scrambles and looks really awkward doing it. Nick Foles almost looks graceful in comparison. Almost.
13:30 – Trent Cole with a sack! He’s played much better of late, but I still wouldn’t mind the Eagles seeking out an upgrade at the “pass rushing” linebacker spot in the offseason.
12:53 – The Bears shank the punt, and the Eagles will have great field position to start.
12:46 – LeSean McCoy gains 19 yards on his first carry. On a related note, the Bears have a poor run defense.
11:56 – Mike Carey refereeing the game tonight! I love Carey when the Eagles are doing well. When they’re not, his dramatic gesturing annoys the heck out of me.
11:38 – Nick Foles shows off that foot speed that makes him semi-dangerous if none of the defenders are looking for him to run. He gains a first down.
10:23 – 3rd and goal from the five. A big play early in the game…
9:54 – Touchdown pass to Riley Cooper! Great job by Foles to move in the pocket and find the open receiver. This game is off to a very good start.
9:46 – I was about to write that the Eagles didn’t cover the next kickoff quite so well, and then Devin Hester fumbled and the Eagles recover. Eagles ball on the Bears’ 39.
9:33 – Foles has an eternity to throw, and eventually finds Zach Ertz for a big gain.
7:44 – McCoy somehow emerges through a mass of bodies for the touchdown! Now what I want to see is for the defense to shut the Bears down again. If they can do that, this game might get out of hand quickly.
7:39 – Short kickoff, which the Bears come close to fumbling again. Sadly, they do not.
6:11 – Cutler bounces a third down pass, and the Bears have to punt again. If the Eagles can score on this possession…
5:54 – They put Jeff Smith in at quarterback for a wildcard look. Is this really the right time for that? The Eagles have scored on their first two possessions!
5:14 – That play gained a couple of yards, but Foles comes back in and completes a pass, so I guess it didn’t affect him too adversely.
4:23 – Kelly is getting everyone involved as we have our first Bryce Brown sighting of the evening. He carries it on two straight possessions, but comes up short of the first down. Brown has not proven to be especially good in short yardage this season. I’d much rather see Chris Polk in that spot.
3:06 – The Eagles go for it on 4th and 1, and McCoy is back in. It looks like he’s stopped at first, but then bounces outside for an 11 yard gain. After the play, a Bears player is down and the crowd boos. I assume they think the player is faking it in order to slow the Eagles down a bit.
2:36 – Beautiful screen pass to McCoy, and the Bears look like they have no ability to stop him. Which is what most people suspected coming into the game.
2:07 – When Foles throws the ball away, he THROWS IT AWAY. His last throw went about three rows deep into the crowd.
1:58 – Brown comes back in and once again fails to impress.
1:27 – Pass to Brent Celek who doesn’t have a defender anywhere near him. Celek strolls into the end zone to make the score 21-0 (pending extra point)
Considering how Jay Cutler is known for poorly responding to adversity, this bodes very well for the Eagles’ fortunes. Then again, a 21-0 first quarter lead bodes well for just about any team’s fortunes.
1:15 – Cutler proves me wrong for the time being by completing his first pass of the evening for a first down. You generally want your quarterback to have more than one completion at this point in the game.
0:00 – I can’t recall many first quarters that have gone better than that. The game against the Redskins three years ago was more amazing, but this was about as good as it gets. Let’s hope it continues.
14:45 – The Eagles’ defense holds, and come very close to blocking the ensuing punt. Cris Collinsworth is practically drooling when talking about the Eagles’ offense as they take the field.
13:31 – Foles does a great job of standing in the pocket and finding Cooper for a first down.
12:35 – Any idea what the S1 and S2 on Chip Kelly’s play chart mean?
12:08 – Foles takes a sack on a play where he probably should have thrown the ball away. That’s one thing he needs to improve on.
11:30 – Chris Polk in the game! He makes a nifty move on a screen pass. I would definitely like to see him get more playing time over Brown.
10:45 – Naturally, Polk makes me look bad by coming up just short on 3rd and 2. Oh well. Eagles will punt for the first time. Sure, that drive didn’t result in points, but they did reverse field position, so it wasn’t a complete loss.
10:22 – Cutler takes a tough shot. I hope this continues, as there’s a good chance we’ll get to see Cutler screaming at somebody on the sideline.
10:16 – Great breakup of a pass by cornerback Cary Williams. Williams and his fellow cornerback Bradley Fletcher at least have the size necessary to match up against the Bears’ big receivers. It doesn’t mean they’ll be effective, but it certainly doesn’t hurt.
10:11 – I should stop writing things like that because Bears receiver Alshon Jeffrey is left wide open and gets a first down. On a related note, the Eagles have been lousy on third and long all season.
9:53 – A long pass goes incomplete, and after the Bears’ receiver falls down, the crowd holds their breath waiting for a pass interference flag. Thankfully, one does not come, and replays indicate that none was justified. Of course, that doesn’t always mean much in today’s offense-happy NFL. Refs seem to throw flags out of habit anymore.
7:54 – Cutler seems to be finding some rhythm and the Bears are moving. Collinsworth points out that the Eagles aren’t getting much pressure with a four-man rush.
6:36 – Trent Cole with his second sack of the evening. Forget what I said earlier. They don’t need an upgrade!
5:56 – Cutler fumbles the next snap and is buried by Mychal Kendricks. The Bears are moving backwards fast, and that likely knocked them out of field goal range.
5:13 – On 3rd and 28, the Bears throw it to Brandon Marshall in the end zone. Despite some contact, no flags are thrown. If the refs call the game like this, it definitely favors the Eagles.
4:30 – This game is not hurting McCoy’s chances at the rushing title as he breaks off another big gain.
4:06 – We’re seeing a lot of Bryce Brown tonight as he breaks off a good run of his own.
3:33 – Another beautiful screen pass to McCoy. This is fun to watch.
2:59 – Jason Avant catches a ball, makes a move, and – you’ll never believe this – he doesn’t fall down immediately afterwards. Avant may have the worst ever ratio of yards after catch/total receiving yards.
1:10 – Decision time for Kelly. Does he let Alex Henery attempt a long field goal? He hasn’t shown much confidence in him this season. I suppose that if you don’t have faith in your kicker to make a 49 yard field goal on 3rd and 14, you need to find a new kicker.
1:07 – Henery’s kick is true! Eagles lead 24-0. And amazingly, unless I missed it earlier, immediately before that play was the first time the announcers mentioned Eagles fans booing Santa Claus. I figured they’d have brought that up about ten times by now. Maybe that’s only because it doesn’t quite fit the narrative with the Eagles winning big.
Never mind. Coming off the commercial, we get a special graphic about booing Santa. To Al Michaels credit, he doesn’t seem especially happy to be talking about it.
0:48 – Alshon Jeffrey was being covered by Nate Allen. Want to guess how that play turned out? If you guessed that the pass was complete, you’d be right!
0:42 – Cutler goes right back to Jeffrey who is once again covered by Allen. But this time, the pass was way too high for Jeffrey to catch.
0:24 – With time winding down, the Bears are driving. Can the Eagles hold them scoreless in the first half? That would be a huge accomplishment.
0:03 – Cutler runs for a first down after getting a very generous spot. Replays indicate that he was brought down short of the first down, but the Bears hurry up and spike the ball before the play can be reviewed.
0:00 – The Bears kick a 50 yard field goal as time expires. They really caught a break there, and let’s hope that those three points don’t come back to haunt the Eagles.
Despite that last drive, that was an excellent first half by the Eagles. But they can’t afford to rest on their laurels. I’ve watched too many games where the Eagles got off to big leads and let their opponents mount a comeback. Considering the Bears’ dangerous receivers, they definitely don’t want to give the Bears any sort of life.
14:56 – Brad Smith returns the Bears’ first kickoff of the game. Smith fails to do much and can’t even get to the 20.
13:48 – Tough catch by DeSean Jackson to gain a first down. If the Eagles had punted there, you would have felt a definite shift in momentum.
12:39 – It’s become the DeSean Jackson show as he catches his third straight pass. Uncharacteristically, they’ve all been relatively short passes.
12:02 – McCoy fumbles and the Bears recover. Remember what I said about a shift in momentum? Replays show that his knee is extremely close to being down, but it will be tough to overturn this. It’s likely one of those cases where there simply isn’t enough evidence to overturn the on-the-field ruling.
Despite all turnovers being automatically reviewed, Kelly throws a challenge flag, and as a result, the Eagles are charged with a timeout. Come on, Chip! You can’t be making those kinds of mistakes!
And the call is overturned! The Eagles will get the ball back. I agree with Michaels who said that it could have gone either way, but I’m certainly not complaining. I kind of wish that this game was on Fox so that Mike Pereira could have been wrong about the call.
10:50 – The Eagles didn’t exactly take advantage of that break as they move backwards and have to punt. On the punt, Brandon Boykin makes an excellent play to down the ball at the 2 yard line. The Eagles have been very good at downing the ball near the opponent’s goal line this season. Unfortunately, the defense has often done a poor job of keeping the opponent pinned back.
10:18 – Matt Forte is tackled JUST outside of the end zone. The defense thinks that they have a safety. The crowd thinks they have a safety. Replays seem to indicate that it’s a safety. The challenge flag is (wisely this time) thrown, so we’ll see what the refs think after taking a closer look.
Sure enough, the ball was not completely out of the end zone, and the Eagles have a safety!
That was a great play by defensive end Cedric Thornton who singlehandedly burst into the backfield and make the tackle. Remember what I said about the Eagles defense not doing well when they have their opponents pinned back?
9:47 – After a relatively short free kick, the Eagles have good field position, and it gets even better as McCoy bursts through a huge hole and brings the ball to midfield.
9:05 – Riley Cooper is wide open, and the crowd is actually saying “Coooooooper” instead of “Booooo!” It would have been hard to predict that happening when the season began.
8:01 – Bryce Brown gets a giant hole of his own to set up first and goal. On his next carry, he comes just short of the end zone. Looks like he won’t get another shot as McCoy is back in.
7:11 – McCoy spins out of a tackle and is in for the touchdown! Michaels makes a good point: Why isn’t McCoy in the discussion for league MVP? Obviously, Peyton Manning is going to win, but has anyone else been more valuable than McCoy? Foles is somewhat deservedly getting some mentions, but really, who is more valuable to the Eagles? Foles or McCoy? The team can certainly win with Michael Vick. Would they be able to win without McCoy?
6:16 – Strip sack by the Eagles, but the Bears recover. Cutler isn’t openly yelling at anyone as he dejectedly walks off the field, and that’s a huge disappointment.
5:34 – Damaris Johnson fair catches the punt. I honestly forgot he was still on the team. I am very pleased to see him returning kicks in this situation. No need to risk DeSean Jackson with a 30 point lead.
5:24 – After a long completion, Celek fumbles the ball high into the air, and it is recovered by the Bears. This one is NOT going to be overturned. At least the fumble happened in Bears’ territory, so it wasn’t too costly. More just like a quick punt.
4:48 – The defense reacted well after the turnover, forcing a three-and out…Or maybe not. Bears are going for it on 4th down.
4:45 – Or maybe not again. The Bears called timeout immediately before the snap.
4:43 – The Bears pick up the first down. Bummer. A stop there would have really demoralized the Bears.
3:23 – Trent Cole (who hails from Cincinnati in case you didn’t know) nearly decapitated Cutler for his third sack of the night.
1:24 – Bears go for it on 4th down again and once again convert when Forte takes a dump off pass and gets just enough yardage.
0:42 – Martellus Bennett is wide open, and is forced out at the 1. The Bears take advantage by having a false start and have to move back five yards.
0:00 – The Bears get a little bit of life as the quarter ends, as Brandon Marshall catches a touchdown. (After a push-off that wasn’t called.) The Bears go for two, and Earl Bennett was disgustingly open for the conversion.
The Eagles still have a sizeable lead, but they simply can’t let up. The Bears have a little bit of momentum going now, and the Eagles need to make sure that it does not continue. If they can score points on this next drive, they can pretty much squash any hopes the Bears might have.
15:00 – The Bears are set up for an onside kick, but the ball falls off the tee. Having lost the element of surprise, they kick it deep. Or at least they tried to kick it deep. It wasn’t an especially great kick, giving the Eagles good field position.
12:45 – The Eagles are keeping it on the ground as we get some long gains from both McCoy and Brown.
11:56 – McCoy has over 2,000 total yards for the season, and is only the third Eagle to ever reach that mark.
11:19 – There’s my boy Chris Polk! He runs it in for a touchdown that makes the score 40-11 and should pretty much end things. Collinsworth is amazed that the Eagles keep running the same play over and over, and the Bears haven’t come close to stopping it. Should he be this surprised? The Bears have the worst run defense in the league. They’ve clearly established that they are not good at stopping running plays.
I may hate Xfinity, but I like the commercial where the guy gets mauled by a mountain lion. I realize the point of the commercial is supposed to be that Xfinity distracts people, but honestly, I think the real problem is that mountain lions are freely roaming this neighborhood. That thing just blatantly walked into the guy’s house and attacked him. Aren’t these animals usually fearful of humans?
Ooh, a special holiday edition of Hollywood Game Night is on tomorrow! That show is awesome!
9:55 – Brandon Marshall doesn’t exactly give a full effort to catch a pass. I have a feeling he might be looking ahead to next week at this point.
9:47 – The annoying thing is that had the Redskins shown just a little bit more competence earlier today, we’d be celebrating this game as the clinching of the NFC East. Oh well. I guess it will be that much sweeter when they beat the Cowboys in Dallas in order to do it.
8:00 – Brandon Boykin with an interception that he runs back for a touchdown! Come on, Cutler! Let’s see you go off on someone! Instead, he just makes a sour face as he walks off. Has Cutler matured or something?
I just remembered that I lost in my fantasy playoffs last week partially because my opponent had a ton of Bears players on his roster. Things would have probably been different this week. The fantasy gods are fickle.
Cutler leaves the game and Josh McCown comes in. Looks like the Bears are going to have a quarterback controversy on their hands heading into their final game. That should brighten the spirits of the people of Chicago!
7:55 – The Eagles welcome McCown to the game by crushing him. Cutler almost looks kind of happy about it on the sideline. He’s probably just relieved that it wasn’t him.
6:24 – Eagles get the ball back, and the only real question is how much more action will the starters receive. I know he’s going for the rushing title, but I don’t think I care to see anymore of LeSean McCoy tonight. And wouldn’t this be a great spot to give Matt Barkley some action?
6:15 – Surprisingly, it’s Michael Vick who comes into the game. He hands the ball to Brown who runs 64 yards for a touchdown. Yes, the Bears’ run defense is that bad. Looking at the replays, they barely even tried to tackle him.
But seriously, why is Vick in this game? I think the coaching staff should have a pretty good idea of what Vick can do. Wouldn’t this be a perfect time to see what Barkley can do?
6:05 – They’re showing footage of the first Eagles vs. Cowboys matchup. If Nick Foles goes on to have a successful career, I think historians may spend time trying to figure out just why he played so poorly in that game.
3:55 – I was about to ask if the Eagles were still eligible for a wild card, but then I remembered that they’d need to win in order to tie the Saints, and if they win next week, they win the East. So no, they can not win the wild card.
So Josh Holloway is coming back to television? I’m surprised it took this long. Wasn’t everyone predicting future stardom for him after Lost?
1:12 – McCown’s fourth down pass sails out of bounds, and the Eagles will get the ball back. If you’re a big fan of seeing people kneel down, this part of the game should be extremely exciting.
0:00 – Game over. “We want Dallas! We want Dallas!”
That was a lot easier than expected. I don’t think the Eagles are that much better than the Bears, but they got some early momentum, and never really gave the Bears a chance to get back into the game. This was an excellent performance by all three units.
And to think, the Bears were the ones who had a lot on the line. If the score was reversed, you might have said, “Well, the Eagles didn’t have the motivation, and the Bears did.” I remarked that this might have been a big test for the mental state of the Eagles, and I’m happy to say they passed with flying colors.
Let’s just hope that the Eagles can do the same thing to Dallas next week and win the NFC East!