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First Quarter Recap: Eagles Lead, 21-0

Posted Dec 22, 2013

On a balmy evening in South Philadelphia, the Eagles and Chicago Bears squared off on Sunday Night Football. Due to results from earlier in the day, the Eagles entered the game knowing their game in Dallas against the Cowboys next week would determine the NFC East winner, while the Bears knew that they would have a chance to capture the NFC North crown with a win because the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers both lost.

The Bears won the toss and elected to receive. After gaining seven yards on their first two plays, quarterback Jay Cutler was sacked by outside linebacker Trent Cole to force fourth and long. The ensuing punt traveled only 25 yards and gave the Eagles excellent field position at the Bears’ 43-yard line.

Running back LeSean McCoy got the handoff on the Eagles’ first play from scrimmage and broke free outside for a 19-yard gain. McCoy then caught a pass for a short gain, followed by quarterback Nick Foles scrambling for 10 yards and a first down. After two McCoy runs gained five yards and put the Eagles at the Bears’ 5-yard line, on third down Foles rolled to his right and threw a strike to wide receiver Riley Cooper in the back of the end zone. Exactly five minutes into the game, the Eagles led 7-0.

On the kickoff following the touchdown, Bears returner Devin Hester exploded through a hole up the right sideline. However, he was caught from behind by cornerback Bradley Fletcher, who ripped the ball away to force the fumble. Cornerback Cary Williams pounced on it at the Bears’ 39-yard line and the Eagles were in business on offense once again.

On first down, Foles rolled right again and found tight end Zach Ertz working back to the ball for a 27-yard gain. A swing pass-lateral to wide receiver DeSean Jackson for a gain of eight yards followed, putting the Eagles in a second-and-2 situation at the Bears’ 4-yard line. Following a Foles incompletion, McCoy got the handoff and run up the middle for three yards and a first down at the Bears’ 1-yard line. He got the ball again on first-and-goal and dove plowed into the end zone for a touchdown to put the Eagles up 14-0.

The Bears started their next drive at the 26-yard line following a 19-yard return. Again, they went three-and-out and punted the ball back to the Eagles. Jackson was tackled at the Eagles’ 28-yard line. The drive started with wide receiver Brad Smith at quarterback, who took the snap and ran forward for two yards. Foles then hit tight end Brent Celek for a diving catch and 27-yard gain to move the Eagles beyond midfield. The next three plays gained nine yards, and the Eagles were faced with a fourth-and-1 at the Bears’ 37-yard line. Head coach Chip Kelly decided to go for it with a run play to McCoy, who motored 11 yards to the Bears’ 26-yard line for a first down. A short pass to McCoy followed, and he ran 16 yards down to the Bears’ 10. Three plays later, on third-and-10, Foles hit a wide open Celek over the middle, and he rumbled in untouched for a touchdown to make it 21-0.

The Bears got the ball at their own 21 after a 15-yard return on the kickoff. They finally were able to get something going on offense, as quarterback Jay Cutler hit wide receiver Brandon Marshall for a 14-yard gain, then wide receiver Alshon Jeffery for an eight-yard gain. Running back Matt Forte was stuffed for no gain to bring up a third-and-2 as the first quarter expired.

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