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Eagles Give Away A Game In Chicago

CHICAGO -- You win games like these by doing the things the Eagles didn't do on Sunday night in Chicago. You don't turn the ball over on special teams. You score inside the 10-yard line. You don't give up third-down conversions to a lousy offense.

But the Eagles did not win on Sunday night, losing 24-20 to the Bears, and they are now 2-2 on the season with a rough game Sunday ahead.\

It was a terrible loss in Chicago. Here are some of the things I saw ...

  • Even though the Eagles moved the ball pretty well the whole game, they really missed Brian Westbrook in the red zone and, especially, inside the 10-yard line. The offense just could not punch the ball in when it had to, and Westbrook's explosion wasn't replaced.
  • Matt Schobel missed his block on that fourth-down run from the 1-yard line and the line got no surge. Think the Eagles missed Shawn Andrews and L.J. Smith there?
  • With about 13 minutes left in the game, the scoreboards froze as did the on-field play clock and the officials kept the time on the field for about three minutes, which added to the surreal nature of this game.
  • Third and seven early in the fourth quarter and the Eagles blitzed and Chicago called a screen pass to Matt Forte that gained a huge first down -- 17 yards to the Philadelphia 40-yard line -- to set up Robbie Gould's 41-yard field goal that gave Chicago a 24-20 lead with 10:28 remaining.
  • I loved the call to give DeSean Jackson an end around on the final play of the third quarter. The Eagles needed to establish something on the ground, and getting the ball to Jackson in space was perfect.
  • The defense pitched a perfect third quarter: three takeaways -- one interception and two fumble recoveries -- and held Chicago to four total yards in 13 plays.
  • I can't believe this game. The defense, after a tough first half, is having a great third quarter. Trent Cole's sack and forced fumble, recovered by Omar Gaither (who is having a fantastic game) gave the offense another scoring opportunity in Chicago territory. But the Eagles couldn't put the ball in the end zone, and had to settle for a field goal. You hae to convert touchdowns in those situations.
  • Too many blown chances. Too many. The Eagles had a great Sav Rocca punt, fine punt coverage on Devin Hester to pin the Bears at the 3-yard line and then the defense made a great stand to set up the Eagles offense at Chicago's 35-yard line. But David Akers missed his second field goal of the night -- earlier he was wide right from 50 yards -- when his 47-yard attempt bounced off the right upright and the Eagles still trailed 21-14 with 8:01 to go in the third quarter.
  • Just an awful series of events to close the first half and then begin the third quarter -- the touchdown pass to Devin Hester and then Donovan McNabb's interception when DeSean Jackson turned one way -- wide open, by the way -- and McNabb's pass sailed into the hands of Kevin Payne, who returned the interception 39 yards to the Eagles 11-yard line. Thank goodness for the Quintin Mikell interception in the end zone to keep the Eagles within 21-14 with 11:47 to go in the third quarter.
  • Juqua Parker pressured Kyle Orton and altered a throw early in the second quarter, resulting in a pop-up of a pass that Darren Howard intercepted. The Eagles had so much success coming at Orton from the quarterback's left side to that point in the game. However, the Eagles failed to get a first down and David Akers just missed a 50-yard field goal.
  • The Eagles put together a very nice drive to tie the game at 14-14, with Reggie Brown catching two passes for 47 yards on the drive. Correll Buckhalter had a beautiful catch and run on a screen pass that gained 19 yards to the 1-yard line, where he blasted into the end zone on first and goal. Buckhalter handed the ball to center Jamaal Jackson to spike, a nice move. The touchdown was especially important to stem the momentum the Bears had after they recovered a DeSean Jackson fumbled punt and scored two plays later to take a lead.
  • Good blitz call on the final play of the first quarter and perfect execution from Chris Gocong to register his second NFL sack. Both came in Sunday night games, by the way. He decked Tom Brady last year in New England. I did a story earlier in the week about the linebackers and their blitz calls, and I had a sense from that conversation that Gocong would have a chance in this game to come with the heat.
  • Huge sack late in the first quarter by tackle Dan Klecko -- with an assist from Juqua Parker -- to take the Bears out of possible field goal range. The Eagles did not blitz much early on.
  • Late in the first quarter a pair of penalties were called -- one on the Eagles for an illegal formation and one on the Bears for a roughing-the-punter penalty -- and the penalties cancelled each other out and Sav Rocca punted again. Two weeks ago, there was a similar situation in Dallas when the Eagles committed a personal foul and the Cowboys had a more minor infraction. In Dallas, the Cowboys benefitted by rule that a personal foul was enforced. In Chicago, the penalties offset because there was a change in possession. Dumb rule, wouldn't you agree?
  • Jon Runyan committed a false-start penalty on the third drive and, according to the Eagles' media relations department, it was Runyan's first penalty since the 2006 season. The league has a Stats Pass package that charts these kinds of things.
  • Grrreeat second drive for the Eagles, moving 74 yards in eight plays. DeSean Jackson had two receptions for 45 yards and a touchdown, and he also took an end around for 21 yards. The touchdown catch was something the Eagles worked on in their red zone practice during the week, and Donovan McNabb delivered a perfect throw over two defenders -- linebacker Brian Urlacher and safety Mike Brown -- and into Jackson's hands. No celebration for Jackson, by the way. He acted like he had been there before, and flipped the football back to the referee.
  • Terrible start for the Eagles. Brent Celek dropped a pass on first down, an easy catch. Then Donovan McNabb tried to go deep to DeSean Jackson, but he was well covered. The Bears sacked McNabb for a 10-yard loss on third down. Defensively, the Eagles were gashed by Chicago's passing game. This is exactly the kind of start the Eagles needed to avoid.
  • Rookie Joe Mays is in uniform for the first time this season. He is here to excel on special teams. With all of the injuries, Mays has to be a big part of the coverage group.
  • Hank Baskett started at wide receiver with DeSean Jackson. I expected Reggie Brown to start.
  • The decision to make Westbrook inactive came very, very late in the process. He warmed up before the game and there was a buzz on the sidelines that he would play. This was about 2 1/2 hours before the game. Then the Eagles made the decision shortly before the inactive list was to be determined -- which happens 90 minutes before kickoff -- that Westbrook wouldn't play. He came to Chicago to play and is surely disappointed, but everyone knows it makes no sense to have Westbrook on the field if he can't be effective for 60 snaps.
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