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Bears Must Win Against Pack After Being Routed In Philly

By Chuck Sudo in News on Dec 23, 2013 4:00PM

It's only fitting that the Bears should have to beat Green Bay at Soldier Field Sunday afternoon in their regular season finale if they wish to reach the postseason. The Packers have to be relishing the opportunity to face the porous Bears rushing defense after the Philadelphia Eagles rushed for 289 yards and amassed 514 yards in total offense in a 54-11 rout at Liberty Financial Field Sunday night. The Bears spoiled a golden opportunity to clinch the NFC North with a lackluster performance. (That's a generous assessment.)

After a quick three-and-out by Jay Cutler and the Bears offense Philly moved the ball 43 yards in six plays to take a 7-0 lead on a 5-yard pass from Nick Foles to Riley Cooperwith 9:54 left in the first quarter. Devin Hester fumbled the ensuing kickoff return (his first kickoff return fumble since 2009), the Eagles recovered and only needed five plays to move the ball 39 yards, ending with a LeSean McCoy 1-yard run and a 14-0 lead.

The Eagles made the score 21-0 with less than 90 seconds remaining in the quarter when Foles completed a pass to Brent Celek, who was wide open thanks to some Keystone Cops-style play by the Bears defense and high-stepped into the endzone for a 10-yard score.

Alex Henery added a 49-yard field goal with 1:07 remaining in the second quarter before the Bears finally scored with a Robbie Gould 50-yard field goal with time expiring. Philadelphia entered halftime with a 24-3 lead.

If Bears coach Marc Trestman and his staff made any adjustments for the second half the Eagles apparently had them sniffed out once the teams returned to the field. The Bears seemed to regain some momentum when a McCoy fumble was recovered by Stephen Paea. A review by the officials, however, overruled the call. The Eagles then made the score 26-3 when Matt Forte was tackled in the endzone by Cedric Thornton for a safety.

It was at that point where the Bears seemingly gave up. The Eagles got the ball back at their 33-yard line and only needed six plays to march the ball down the field 67 yards for another McCoy touchdown run. The Bears put together their only touchdown drive of the game as the third period came to a close when Jay Cutler connected with Brandon Marshall for a 6-yard touchdown. The Bears opted for the two-point conversion and got it when Cutler found Earl Bennett in the endzone as the third quarter came to close.

The fourth quarter was all Eagles and all on the ground. The quick-strike Philly offense moved 70 downfield in six plays capped by a Chris Polk 10-yard touchdown run. The Bears got the ball back and Cutler promptly threw an interception to Brandon Boykin, who sprinted down the sideline 54 yards for a pick-six and a 47-11 lead. Trestman pulled Cutler from the game with eight minutes left and put Josh McCown in the game, who didn't fare any better.The Eagles got the ball back and Bryce Brown galloped through the Bears defense 65 yards to cap the scoring.

Philadelphia averaged eight yards a carry against the Bears run defense. McCoy moved closer to clinching the NFL rushing title with 133 yards on 18 carries. Bryce Brown added 115 yards and averaged 12.8 yards a carry. Matt Forte, conversely, had a total of five yards rushing on six carries through three quarters.

Cutler ended his night with 20 completions in 35 attempts and was sacked a season-high five times for 46 yards in losses. He did surpassed Sid Luckman in the Bears' record books as the team's all-time leader in passing yardage. Foles was an efficient 21 of 25 for 230 yards and two TDs. Much of the talk after the game by armchair quarterbacks on the city's two sports talk radio stations centered on why Cutler couldn't bring the Bears back. But Cutler doesn't play defense. Neither does the Bears defense, apparently. The "D" looked lost against Chip Kelly's offense, who kept showing the same formation against the Bears all night. Lance Briggs returned to the field and recorded a tackle but spent much of the game vacillating between playing and collecting his breath on the sidelines. Julius Peppers, as he has most of the season, looked a step or two behind and lost.

Now the Bears have to regroup against a Packers squad that may have Aaron Rodgers back under center Sunday afternoon. With the NFC North title and a trip to the playoffs on the line the game time moves to a 3:25 p.m. start but, if the Bears play like they did Sunday night, the result will be academic and the Pack will win the division.