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Ertz, Eagles Edge Bears in Wild Card Thriller

Zach Ertz and the Philadelphia Eagles emerged from Chicago victorious on Sunday, extending their season another week after a thrilling 16-15 win that came down to the final seconds at Soldier Field.

The Chicago Bears boasted one of the best defenses in the NFL entering the game after an impressive first season under Matt Nagy. But, Nick Foles came into the game brimming with confidence after leading the Eagles on a three-game win streak to close the regular season and clinch a playoff spot.

“That’s a good football team,” Pederson said about the Bears. “Matt Nagy did a great job this season, and my hat’s off to him and that Chicago Bear team, it’s a tremendous football team.”

Jake Elliott and the Eagles were first to jump on the board in Chicago when Elliott nailed a 43-yard field goal to put the Eagles ahead by three.

For the remainder of the first quarter, very little offense was generated be either team as the defenses flourished. The Eagles had two more possessions in the first, punting on one, Foles throwing an interception on the other.

Foles was putting together a solid drive late in the first quarter, gaining 53 yards on seven plays before throwing an interception to Bears linebacker Roquan Smith early in the second. Chicago capitalized on the interception driving 47 yards downfield in eight plays where Cody Parkey would make his first field goal of the night to tie the game up 3-3.

Foles and the offense hustled back onto the field ready to forget the last drive and move forward. Smallwood took the majority of the workload in the first half of the drive carrying the ball twice for 10 yards. Foles began to throw the ball and pushed the Eagles into Chicago territory. On the Bears 22-yard line, Foles threw a deep pass intended for Eagles receiver Nelson Agholor, but the ball found the hands of Bears defender Adrian Amos.

The turnover by Foles led nowhere for the Bears as they punted on the resulting drive. The Eagles weren’t able to generate any momentum either sending the ball back to the Bears for the last possession of the first half.

With 2:38 left on the game clock and ball on the Chicago 11-yard line, Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky took control of the offense and pushed the ball 78 yards into Philadelphia territory to set Parkey up for his second field goal as time expired. At the end of the first half the Bears led the Eagles 6-3.

Through the first half of play, Foles posted 143 yards passing while completing 10-of-16 passes with two interceptions and no touchdowns. Both teams were moving the football, but weren’t having much luck getting into the end zone, but the second half would be much different.

The Bears received the opening kickoff, but they ended up punting the ball back to the Eagles. Once again, the Eagles would draw first blood in the second half. Eagles RB Darren Sproles aided Foles on the ground, while Foles completed five passes including a 10-yard touchdown pass to rookie tight end Dallas Goedert.

Chicago put up their first second half points with Parkey’s third field goal a few drives later, keeping the Bears in the game. The Eagles held the lead 10-9.

With 12 minutes left in the game, both offenses began to fully function. Trubisky completed three passes on the Bears’ six-play 80-yard drive including a 22-yard touchdown pass to the reliable Allen Robinson. Chicago head coach Matt Nagy elected to go for two points to give the Bears a seven-point lead. Trubisky scrambled before launching a pass to Taylor Gabriel in the end zone, but it fell incomplete and the Bears lead remained at 15-10.

The Eagles offense had one final opportunity with 4:48 left in the fourth quarter to retake the lead.

Foles came out on the drive and attempted five straight passes. He completed four of them for 46 yards to move the ball into Bears’ territory, including a 13-yard strike to Ertz to get the ball all the way down to the Bears’ 14-yard line.

With plenty of time left on the clock, Smallwood ran the ball down to the two-minute warning.

A third-down completion to Alshon Jeffery granted Philly a fresh set of downs at the two-yard line, but Chicago’s stout defensive front wouldn’t let up, thwarting the Eagles’ efforts for three consecutive plays and forcing a fourth down with the game on the line.

Doug Pederson anticipated pressure from the Bears, so he devised a sprint out play for Foles, and Foles delivered the ball to Golden Tate on his out route perfectly for the go-ahead score.

“[The sprint out pass] was still a part of the game plan,” Pederson said. “We had a feeling that coach Fangio he’s a zero blitz guy when you gotta have it and we felt like the best thing to do was get [Foles] on the run at that time.”

The Bears had one timeout and had to get into field goal range. With Tarik Cohen back for Chicago, Elliott kicked the ball off 58 yards to the Chicago 7-yard line. Cohen took the ball 35 yards before getting pushed out of bounds at the Chicago 42-yard line.

Trubisky completed 2-of-4 passes, while spiking the ball on one play to conserve the clock. Trubisky’s first completed pass went for 25 yards to Allen Robinson and the second for eight to Robinson. The Bears were at the Philadelphia 25-yard line and Parkey lined up for a routine 43-yard field goal. O’Donnell caught the snap and Parkey drilled the ball through the uprights, but Pederson called the Eagles last timeout of the game. Parkey would have to kick one last time to win the game.

With the roaring crowd of Bears fans screaming, the game was on the foot of Parkey. His second kick, the one that counted, began by drifting left before clanking off both the left upright and the crossbar before bouncing back out towards the field of play. The kick was no good, sealing a road victory for the Eagles, keeping their title defense alive.

Foles ended the game 25-of-40 passing for 266 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. He came up huge all game, especially later in the game when every play mattered.

The Eagles spread the ball around all night, consistently finding the trio of Ertz, Jefferys and Tate in big moments. No. 86 finished the game with five receptions for 52 yards in the win.

“[Foles] never tries to do too much, I think he just tries to play within himself,” Ertz said about Foles. “The moment’s never too big for him. He just resonates that calm and positive outlook each and every snap whether it’s the first quarter or the fourth quarter he’s the exact same person.”

With the win in Chicago, the Eagles extended their season another week. Next Sunday, the Eagles will fly to Mercedes-Benz Superdome to face the New Orleans Saints, who beat them in Week 11. Philadelphia will be working all week to ensure a different outcome this time around.

Kickoff is slated for 4:40 p.m. ET on Fox on Sunday.



By | 2019-01-08T21:59:50+00:00 01.08.19|News|0 Comments

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