CHICAGO – Throughout the first half of their 16-15 victory over the Bears on Sunday night, throughout a game in which every play felt fraught with consequence, the Eagles spent most of their time coming up with creative ways to stymie themselves. Nick Foles spread pumpkin seeds all over Soldier Field, throwing two interceptions, including one that was particularly egregious – into triple coverage in the end zone. Michael Bennett committed an inexcusable unnecessary-roughness penalty, allowing himself to be goaded into a fight with lineman Kyle Long, that extended a Bears possession and led to a field goal. Cornerback Tre Sullivan dropped what should have been a drive-stopping interception. They were the sorts of mistakes that a team cannot make in the postseason and expect to advance, and the Eagles kept making them.
And still there they were, down five with 4 minutes, 48 seconds left in regulation, embarking on a 12-play, 60-yard drive to take the lead – on a two-yard, fourth-down touchdown pass from Nick Foles to Golden Tate – trying to wring every last drop of tension out of a nerve-tingling night. They had been in this position before, tight game, win or go home, and it was to their credit, especially their defense’s, that they were in it again. This time, though, they needed help from Bears kicker, and former Eagles kicker, Cody Parkey. From 43 yards out to win the game, Parkey drilled his attempt off the left upright and the crossbar. A miss. A rather remarkable way for the Super Bowl champions to extend their attempt to defend their title.
Foles was not great Sunday night, but he was great when the Eagles needed him to be. Tate, who had contributed little to the team since they acquired him in a midseason trade with the Detroit Lions, made a hellacious 28-yard catch in the first half before giving the Eagles that late lead. It allowed the Eagles to overcome a familiar weakness that the Bears exploited. Three times over back-to-back possessions, Mitch Trubisky joined with a wide receiver to pull off a pump-and-go move: to Allen Robinson for 45 yards to set up a field goal, to Joshua Bellamy for 34 yards, and to Robinson again for a 22-yard touchdown that gave the Bears the lead back with 9:04 left in regulation. Bears 15, Eagles 10.
All that was, as it turned out, was a prelude to another display of toughness from a team that shows it time and time again, and to a little luck. To New Orleans and a matchup next weekend with the No. 1-seeded Saints, then. Save the Carson Wentz-or-Nick Foles discussion for a while, and just enjoy what the Eagles accomplished last season, what they did Sunday night, and what they might yet do.
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» UP-DOWN DRILL: Foles, Tate trending up; Corners trending down
» SOCIAL MEDIA ROUNDUP: What they’re saying about Parkey’s miss and the Eagles’ win
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