Eagles Grind Out Wild Wild-Card Win Over Bears, 16-15
A clutch drive and a missed field goal helped the Eagles survive and advance in dramatic fashion over the Chicago Bears by a score of 16-15 in the NFC Wild Card round at Soldier Field.
Trailing 15-10 with 4:48 to play, quarterback Nick Foles put together yet another clutch drive where he found five different targets en route to the red zone.
On fourth-and-goal from the 2-yard line, Foles found wide receiver Golden Tate in the front corner of the end zone for a go-ahead touchdown.
The two-point conversion was no good and the lead stayed at 16-15. The Bears took the ensuing kick return to their 42 and were at the Eagles’ 25-yard line thanks to a pair of passes to wide receiver Allen Robinson.
With 10 seconds remaining, Bears kicker Cody Parkey missed a 43-yard field goal that bounced off the upright and crossbar before falling haplessly in the end zone. It appeared that defensive tackle Treyvon Hester got a hand on it.
Foles finished the game 25-of-40 passing for 266 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery led the way receiving with 82 yards on six catches. Tate added 48 yards, five receptions, and the clutch touchdown. Tight end Dallas Goedert had the other touchdown.
The Eagles opened the game with the ball and fended off a raucous atmosphere and imposing defense with a methodical drive that ended with a 43-yard field goal by Jake Elliott, which gave the Eagles the early 3-0 lead.
On the Bears’ first possession, the Eagles got pressure and forced a quick punt at midfield. An excellent punt started the Eagles’ offense at its own 1-yard line. The Eagles quickly punted after three difficult plays.
The Bears then started at midfield but went three-and-out and the Eagles started again with tough field position at their own 7.
The Eagles got out from deep inside their own territory with two catches by Jeffery for a combined 43 yards, but a short pass to Smallwood was ripped out of his hands by linebacker Roquan Smith for an interception at the Bears’ 35-yard line. It was the first of two takeaways for the Bears’ defense, which topped the league in that category during the regular season.
The Bears appeared to be stopped right away after the turnover, but an unnecessary roughness call on the Eagles after a third-down stop extended the drive. That allowed the Bears to get into field goal range and tie the game at 3-3 with a 36-yarder by Parkey.
Runs by Smallwood and a 28-yard pass to wide receiver Golden Tate helped the Eagles get back into Bears’ territory easily on the next drive. But on second-and-9 from the Chicago 21, Foles was pressured and threw another costly interception to safety Adrian Amos in the end zone.
The Eagles’ defense kept the interception from being turned into points with a quick stop and a near-interception by cornerback Avonte Maddox. The Eagles’ offense went three-and-out again and the Bears took over with just more than two minutes left in the half.
The ensuing drive appeared to be stalled at midfield before another third-down penalty on the Eagles kept it going. After a long review ruled a deep pass to slot wide receiver Anthony Miller incomplete and another pass that was nearly intercepted in the end zone by Tre Sullivan, the Bears tacked on a go-ahead field goal at the buzzer to take a 6-3 lead into the half.
The Eagles’ defense set the tone in the second half with a quick stop. They took advantage of a pair of penalties called on the Bears’ defense to get to the Chicago 10-yard line. On first-and-goal, Foles found Goedert for the touchdown as the Eagles regained the lead.
With a 10-6 advantage, the Eagles’ defense swarmed and forced a three-and-out. The Eagles returned the favor with a five-play drive and a punt. Chicago’s next drive took the game into the fourth quarter.
The Bears finally got down the field on the Eagles’ defense with a 45-yard pass to Robinson, who finished with 10 receptions, 143 yards, and a touchdown. The Eagles forced short plays in the red zone and the Bears settled for a 34-yard field goal to make it 10-9 with 14:13 to play in the fourth.
Stopped on third-and-short on the next drive, the Eagles were unable to build on their lead and punted on fourth-and-1 at their 35. The Bears made them pay.
After a conversion on third-and-11 and a 34-yard completion to Robinson, Trubisky went back to Robinson in the end zone for a 22-yard touchdown. A trick play for the two-point conversion was no good and the Bears held a 15-10 lead with 9:04 left in the game.
Despite a conversion on third-and-10, the Eagles couldn’t respond and punted quickly, but a Michael Bennett sack helped force a three-and-out. Nick Foles took the ball at the Eagles’ 40-yard line with 4:48 to play trailing 15-10 and went down the field to give the Eagles the lead they needed.
With at least another week of life, the Eagles will now travel to New Orleans to take on the Saints in the NFC Divisional Round next Sunday at 4:40 p.m. on FOX.