The Eagles and the Chicago Bears began trading blows from the beginning of the game and it didn’t end until Chicago topped the Birds, 24-20, at Soldier Field.
The Bears started off strong with a kick out of the endzone, which set up a 3 and out for the Eagles. Kyle Orton wasted no time, taking his team 59 yards in three plays using the no-huddle offense and getting the first points of the night.
Donovan McNabb was not to be outdone. He marched a Brian Westbrook-less Philadelphia team down the field in a shotgun-filled drive that also ended in a touchdown to, rookie, Desean Jackson.
Both defenses took turns forcing punts until Desean Jackson opened the door for the Bears by muffing a punt and allowing Chicago’s coverage team to recover the ball at the Philly 24-yard line.
It only took Orton 45 seconds to throw his second touchdown pass of the night, but, again, the Eagles answered right back. Donovan threw for 56 yards and Correll Buckhalter mashed it in for a one more yard for the score.
Devin Hester added his contribution with an impressive 20-yard touchdown reception and the Eagles looked shell-shocked for the rest of the game.
The usually-automatic, David Akers went 2 for 4 in his attempts at field goals and the runningback corps saw another member go down to injury. Correll Buckhalter, who had done a good job at being Brian Westbrook’s understudy, got injured while trying to chase down Kevin Payne after he came up with McNabb’s only interception of the night. It was obvious that the second year back out of Florida State was not the guy to carry the team to victory. He had two rushes for 7 yards and one reception the ended 3 yards behind where it started.
Buckhalter returned to the field late in the game but it was too little too late as Robbie Gould etched 3 more insurance points on the board. The Bears controlled the clock for the rest of the bout.
Donovan McNabb’s 262 yards were not enough to get his team the win. Reggie Brown had a game-high 79-yards receiving. Buckhalter also lead all rushers with 66 yards and one touchdown. But the Bears proved that the only stat that matters is the scoreboard.
The Eagles will have to tighten up the ship before next week when they face a division opponent, Washington Redskins, coming off of a stunning victory over the Dallas Cowboys. Every division game is of the utmost importance in the NFC East as most pundits predict only one team to be left out of the post season. No one wants to be the odd man out. But playing below their potential, like they did tonight, the Eagles might repeat that very feat two years in a row.