JC's Game Blog: Bears vs. Eagles

Be sure to refresh this live blog every now and then for all the goings on Sunday afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. From the field to the sideline to the press box, JC will make you feel like you're a part of the game.

Greetings, Bears fans. Today's game features a pair of desperate football teams, and it's possible that the loser could be out of the playoff picture come January. The Monsters of the Midway have to forget about last week's nightmare against Minnesota, while the Eagles need to find some consistency because they've been up and down all year long. It's amazing to think that these two clubs have combined for only four wins so far this season considering the expectations for both. This was supposed to be a Week 7 NFC championship game preview ...

Inactive today for the Bears are CB Nathan Vasher, CB Ade Jimoh, FB Lousaka Polite, S Josh Gattis, LB Darrell McClover, OG Josh Beekman, and DT Darwin Walker. Kyle Orton will serve as the third quarterback. As for the Vikings, S Brian Dawkins, LB Pago Togafau, OG Max Jean-Gilles, DT Kimo von Oelhoffen, OG Scott Young, TE L.J. Smith, and DT Montae Reagor will sit this one out. Kevin Kolb is the No. 3 QB. Anthony Adams will once again make the start at defensive tackle in place of Walker, who must be disappointed not being able to face his former team Sunday in Philly ...

The Eagles have won the toss and elected to receive …

The Bears force a punt on the Eagles' opening drive. And here comes Devin Hester, but don't expect him to get too many opportunities today in the return game. That punt goes straight out of bounds, but the offense will take over with great field position at the Chicago 41-yard line …

Cedric Benson gets the ball on the first two plays of the drive, but he can only manage four yards. Brian Griese hits Desmond Clark in the right flat on 3rd-and-6, however, he's well short of the first down as the Bears go three-and-out. The Eagles get the ball right back at their own 5-yard line after a penalty on Reno Mahe for an illegal fair catch …

Philadelphia head coach Andy Reid obviously watched the tape of last week's Minnesota game. The Bears receive a heavy dose of Brian Westbrook on the ground on this drive, but they get a break as Reggie Brown drops a pass from Donovan McNabb near the goal line that would have gone for a touchdown. Instead, the Eagles settle for a 24-yard field goal from David Akers and an early 3-0 lead …

And that's the end of the first quarter with the Bears on the move, but Philly leads 3-0 …

In typical Bears fashion, at least this season, rookie Greg Olsen makes a big catch over the middle for about 20 yards but gets stripped and fumbles the ball. The Eagles make the recovery, yet another turnover for this offense and all of them seem to come at the worst possible moment. Fortunately, head coach Lovie Smith challenges the call and gets it reversed because Olsen's shin hit the ground before the ball came loose …

Griese had Hester open on a go route down the left sideline, but the ball is underthrown and Sheldon Brown is able to catch up and break up the pass. The offense has to settle for a 39-yard field goal attempt from Robbie Gould, but he pulls it left and keeps a goose egg on the Bears' side of the scoreboard. Offensive coordinator Ron Turner looks like he's going to keep feeding the ball to Benson at all costs, but remember he severely changed his stripes in the second half last week …

As has been the case much of this season, the Eagles offense can't get anything done in the red zone. Akers comes on again, this time connecting from 33 yards to extend the Philly lead to 6-0 with 4:08 left before halftime. The Bears are having trouble covering the likes of Kevin Curtis and Westbrook out of the backfield, but they've been lucky so far because McNabb really hasn't gotten hot yet …

"This is the two-minute warning" …

Muhsin Muhammad makes a big play with a 44-yard catch-and-run from Griese, but the offense stalls once again. Gould doesn't miss this time, splitting the uprights from 31 yards away to get the Bears on the board for the first time. 6-3 Eagles still leading with 1:46 to go before intermission …

McNabb puts together a nice little drive in the two-minute drill, but again he leaves it up to Akers in the kicking game. Akers delivers for the third time in the first half, pushing the lead up to 9-3 with just 22 seconds left on the clock. The Eagles have done a wonderful job kicking off short and keeping the ball away from Hester, so you know he's getting nowhere near this ball …

And that's the end of the first half, Philadelphia leading 9-3 in what has been a defensive struggle thus far …

Griese connects with Olsen on the first play of the second half and gets the Bears on the move, and a would-be drive-killing sack by Trent Cole is nullified by a defensive holding penalty on William James. Griese then keeps the drive alive by hitting Adrian Peterson out of the backfield on another third down after scrambling away from Lito Sheppard, who was coming on a delayed blitz. But the Bears break down in the red zone just like the Eagles have all day, settling for a 22-yard boot from Gould to close to gap to 9-6 …

Ricky Manning Jr. breaks up a pass intended for Jason Avant on third down, forcing a Philadelphia punt. Once again, Hester is not a factor as the punt bounces through the back of the end zone for a safety. The Bears are pretty lucky to be alive in this game right now, to be perfectly honest …

That's the danger of having Hester on offense since he's still learning the playbook, as Muhammad is forced to call a timeout because the alignment was messed up before the snap …

And that's the end of the third quarter, Bears on the move but still trailing 9-6 in a battle of field goals …

What a surprise, time for another field goal attempt by Gould. Either this is a great display of red-zone defense, or it's just a horrible showing by both offenses the closer they get to the goal line. The Bears are forced to burn another timeout on this drive before the kick, but Gould ties the game 9-9 with a strike from 41 yards away …

Back-to-back sacks by Tommie Harris to force another Philadelphia punt, and the boobirds are out at Lincoln Financial Field. This Bears team all of a sudden has the momentum in this ballgame. So much for Harris not being healthy enough to play today with that sprained knee he's been battling …

An offensive pass interference penalty on Olsen slows down what was a promising drive by Griese and the offense, so it will be up to Gould once again. Finally the Bears catch a break, as Gould's 45-yard attempt ricochets off the left goal post and still manages to go over the crossbar for three points. The Midway Monsters have their first lead of the game, 12-9 with 9:12 left in the contest …

Touchdown Eagles as McNabb hits tight end Matt Schobel in the back of the end zone behind Brian Urlacher and in front of, guess who, Adam Archuleta. 16-12 Eagles with just under five minutes to go in this game. Archuleta has no chance in coverage, that's all there is to it …

Man, that was an ugly response to the Philly touchdown. Three-and-out on that drive, which included a holding penalty on Olin Kreutz and a sack of Griese on 3rd-and-20. The Eagles get the ball back after the punt and have 4:02 to milk off the clock in order to seal their third victory of the season …

McNabb picks up one gigantic first down with a 9-yard scramble on 3rd-and-8, but the defense holds just before the two-minute warning. I'm assuming Hester won't get a chance to win this puppy with some fireworks since the Eagles have laid the blueprint on how to take him out of the game. Every punt today has gone straight out of bounds and rendered him utterly useless in the return game …

Touchdown Bears, as Griese hits Muhammad in the back of the end zone from 15 yards out to complete an improbable 11-play, 97-yard scoring drive in less than two minutes with no timeouts. What a march by Griese, dinking and dunking when everything was covered downfield but also delivering deep strikes to first Bernard Berrian and then Hester over the middle. Just nine seconds left on the game clock, so it's gonna take some Cal-Stanford theatrics for the Eagles to pull this one out …

And that's the ballgame, ladies and gentlemen. A heart-stopping 19-16 thriller to once again save the season and keep the Bears' playoff hopes alive. If I hadn't seen it, I wouldn't have believed it.

Be sure to visit BearReport.com for all the analysis, all the insight, and all the latest from Philadelphia as the Bears pull a rabbit out of their collective hat and move to 3-4.

John Crist is the Editor in Chief of BearReport.com and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.


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