Philadelphia Eagles News

Defense Stands Tall When Needed Most

As Donovan McNabb returned to the sideline after LeSean McCoy's fourth quarter fumble, Jeremiah Trotter told the quarterback to be ready and that the defense would handle its business.

Trotter and the rest of the defense delivered on that promise as the Eagles came from behind to beat the Bears 24-20 on Sunday night to improve to 6-4 on the season. Sean Jones put the finishing touches on the win as he intercepted a Jay Cutler pass, one that was knocked in the air by Tracy White, in the game's final minute for his first interception as an Eagle.

"We had a rough last two weeks and we were prepared today to play four quarters because that's what it takes to win in the NFL," Jones said.

With the ball at the Eagles' 37-yard line following McCoy's fumble, Victor Abiamiri stopped Matt Forte for a 9-yard gain on a screen pass on third down to force a 48-yard field goal attempt, which was blocked by Antonio Dixon. Despite a turnover in its own territory, the Eagles not only kept the Bears out of the end zone but didn't allow them to extend their 20-17 lead with just over 11 minutes remaining in the game.

"That was big for us. I think that was one of the biggest stands that we had all year," said Trotter, who started at middle linebacker and rotated with Joe Mays before taking over in the second half. "To have a sudden change like that deep in our territory and have them go three-and-out and actually back them up a little, but then to have Dixon block the field goal ... We knew it was going to be a tough game today, but we showed a lot of heart."

McNabb and the Eagles did their part as McCoy scored on a 10-yard touchdown run to put the team ahead with 5:38 left.

It was one thing for the defense to keep the Eagles in the game. Now, they had to seal the win.

The Bears committed one of eight penalties as left tackle Orlando Pace was called for a false start to start their ensuing drive. Pace struggled all night with defensive end Trent Cole. Trotter made a tackle on Forte to force a third-and-5 from the Bears' 30-yard line. Quarterback Jay Cutler went deep for rookie Johnny Knox down the left sideline on third down, but the pass was incomplete.

The Eagles had to contend with the speedy Bears wideouts in the game's final minutes without Pro Bowl cornerback Asante Samuel, who suffered a stinger. Sheldon Brown wasn't 100 percent as he battled through what Andy Reid said was a hamstring tear to play. Replacing Samuel was Dimitri Patterson, who has fought a quad injury for most of the season.

On the Bears' final drive, Brown and Patterson each made key tackles before Jones' interception.

"I knew deep inside that we were going to have to win the game," Patterson said. "It was going to come down to us making plays over Cutler. It happened. We needed it. It was a big win for us."

Cole, who had a sack when he blitzed the A gap as a stand-up rush end, said to win in this fashion is a "great feeling after losing some games that we should have won." But the hard work is just beginning. There are six games left in the season. Sunday's win means nothing if it doesn't carry over.

"This keeps us humble because we didn't blow them out," Cole said. "We have room for improvement. Now, we just have to stay hungry for next week."

-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 10:45 a.m., November 23

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