Sometimes miracles happen. After starting the season with three losses in four games, and five at the midway point, the Philadelphia Eagles have taken six of seven after last Sunday’s 54-11 pasting of Chicago at Lincoln Financial Field.
A victory or tie over the host Dallas Cowboys next week will give the Eagles the NFC East Division, while the Bears must tie or knock off the visiting Green Bay Packers for the NFC North title.
Michael Vick was the Eagles’ starting quarterback until he was injured, and in stepped Nick Foles, who has thrown 25 touchdowns with two interceptions, including a pair against Chicago.
The Eagles (9-6) led 7-0 with 9:54 left in the opening quarter when Foles, who has started nine games, targeted wide receiver Riley Cooper (53 yards on three receptions) with a five-yard toss in the back of the end zone.
When Foles located tight end Brent Celek (58 yards on three catches) all alone with a 10-yard dart it became 21-0 and 1:27 showing in the same stanza.
“My offensive line gave me a clean pocket,’’ said Foles, who drilled 21 of 25 passes for 230 yards and no interceptions. “We ran the ball really well, and when you do it demoralizes the defense and it takes time off the clock.”
Running back LeSean McCoy has 1,476 yards, and will probably capture the NFL rushing crown as he tacked on a game-best 133 yards on 18 carries including a pair of one-yard scoring runs.
McCoy’s first came with 7:44 showing in the initial quarter and gave the Eagles (514 total net yards) a 14-0 lead, while his second pushed Philadelphia ahead 33-3 with 7:11 on the clock in the third quarter.
“This is nice,’’ said McCoy, who also snared six passes for 29 yards. “The first thing everyone wants is to win the Super Bowl, and for a running back he wants to win the rushing title.”
Quarterback Jay Cutler (20 of 35 for 222 yards) did get the Bears (8-7), who finished with 257 total yards, on the scoreboard with a six-yard offering to wide receiver Brandon Marshall (four receptions for 36 yards) as the third quarter expired, and hit Earl Bennett on the two-yard conversion to get within 33-11, but Cutler was later picked off by cornerback Brandon Boykin, who ran the football back 54 yards for the touchdown and eight minutes left that made it 47-11.
In between running back Chris Polk found the end zone after a 10-yard scamper and 11:19 left in the final quarter for a 40-11 edge.
Alex Henery’s 49-yard field goal with 1:07 remaining in the second quarter pushed Philadelphia’s cushion to 24-0, but Robbie Gould’s 50-yarder ended the half and trimmed the margin to 21 points.
Running back Matt Forte was held to 29 yards on nine carries, while the Bears had 61 yards on the ground compared to 289 for the Eagles.
Forte was tackled for a safety by defensive end Cedric Thornton that made it 26-3, and 9:52 left in the third quarter as the Eagles went ahead, 26-3.
Eagles’ running back Bryce Brown (115 yards on nine carries) added a 65-yard gallop with 6:14 showing in the fourth quarter that closed the evening’s scoring.
Rick Assad has been a sportswriter for more than two decades. He has a political science degree from UCLA, a journalism degree from CSUN, is a staff writer for diamondboxing.com, and is a columnist for socalboxing.wordpress.com. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.