Eagle Sighting

LAKE FOREST -- The buzz is in the air again. The Bears are in the playoffs for the first time since 1994, and now they have an opponent to prepare for in the Philadelphia Eagles.

   The players are also in a good mood.    "No, I was not dreaming of Donovan (McNabb). I don't know if you guys are upset about that," joked Bears linebacker Rosevelt Colvin of facing the talented Eagles quarterback. "We're just excited to get everything going. It's like when you're in college and you had a bowl game, you're just anxious to get stuff started. You want to see what's going to happen, what the outcome's going to be.

   "I have confidence in myself and my teammates that we're going to go out there and give it our all, and hopefully we can bring home another victory."

   The Bears (13-3), the NFC Central Division champs, will face the NFC East champion Eagles (12-5) Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at Soldier Field.

   Philadelphia is a road warrior. The Eagles have compiled a single-season club record 7-1 mark on the road this season.

   The Eagles have allowed just 20 points in the second half on the road and have held six of their eight road opponents to 10 points or less. The Eagle defense has allowed only four touchdowns on the road all season.

   "I know that they have good speed on their defense, too," Bears offensive tackle Blake Brockermeyer said. "Last year when we played them in Philly (a 13-9 Eagles win), I don't think we moved the ball particularly well against them.

   "They've got one of the best defenses. I think they're second in the league behind us as far as points given up. We've got our work cut out for us."

   The Bears, on the other hand, have given up a NFL-low 203 points and have one of the top run defenses in the league.

   One guy who can run is McNabb, a Mt. Carmel grad who can beat you with his arm or his legs.

   "You have to be more disciplined when you play a quarterback like Donovan," Bears defensive end Phillip Daniels said. "You can't just go out and do your own thing.

   "Every guy's got a spot where he's supposed to be, and we have to be where we're supposed to be at the right time. If you're not, you're going to get hurt."

   The attention this week will go to the two great defenses and McNabb. But the outcome could be decided by the other quarterback in the game, the Bears' Jim Miller.

   Miller, who has battled injuries and naysayers his whole career, is having a breakout season. And while the offense has been far from great, Miller has been solid, unflappable and made good decisions.

   "All the work I put in makes it more rewarding," Miller said. "You hear people when you get an injury like, 'Oh, it's going to take forever to come back, and you'll never be right again.' And then to come back and have this opportunity to be the quarterback of this team ..."

   Miller gave McNabb credit as a great player and quarterback. And while he knows he may never be regarded as such, he's not concerned. He's got the respect of his teammates and coaches.

   "Jimmy wins games and Jimmy has won games for us," Bears coach Dick Jauron said. "He's a very strong leader. There's a lot of intangibles obviously in the position for everybody. Jimmy has them all.

   "The bottom line is he wins football games."


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