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Michael Vick Soars, but Eagles Flutter Away Red Zone Chances in Loss to Bears

Nov 28, 2010 – 10:07 PM
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Jerry Bonkowski

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Michael VickCHICAGO -- Every time he'd passed for more than 250 yards in a game this year -- five times coming into Sunday's match with the Bears -- Michael Vick had led the Philadelphia Eagles to victory.

But that streak was stopped cold Sunday afternoon.

Even though Vick completed a season-best 29 of 44 passes for 333 yards (tying another season-best), he could have passed for so much more if there weren't so many breakdowns in the Eagles' offense.

Had those breakdowns not occurred, we'd likely be talking about how the Eagles convincingly beat the Bears, rather than how they lost 31-26 at Soldier Field, dropping Philadelphia to 7-4.

And with a short turnaround -- Philadelphia hosts Houston on Thursday night -- the Eagles are going to have to find a way pretty quickly to fix its porous offense.

Let's count the ways: of the 15 incomplete passes Vick tossed, several were dropped or bounced off the intended receivers' hands.

It wasn't that Chicago's defensive coverage was that spectacular, given the way Vick took advantage with numerous quick hits over the middle just past the Bears' linebackers and in front of the secondary.

More coverage: Quick Hits | Recap | Check Box Score

Rather, the Eagles simply beat themselves in crucial situations. Sure, the Bears may have forced or pressured them, but the Eagles had a hard time putting two hands on the ball when they needed to most -- particularly in the red zone.

But, there's more: the offensive line let the Bears sack Vick four times for 40 yards. He also tossed an interception late in the second quarter that the Bears converted into a last-minute touchdown that would put them ahead 21-13 at halftime, seemingly taking a great deal of the air out of the Eagles' attack.

"That interception was just deflating to us as a team," Vick said. "When we have an opportunity to go up -- whether it's by six points or by two -- then you're up and momentum swings back your way. But when you have the interception, it just changes the momentum of the game.

"You hate to lose. It makes me sick and ill. You're not going to win every game, and I know that, but we're definitely going to win more than we lose."
- Michael Vick
"You hate to lose. It makes me sick and ill. You're not going to win every game, and I know that, but we're definitely going to win more than we lose."

On a more positive note, while Vick fumbled four times, he fortunately did not lose any of the errant balls. That's little consolation, just like the big numbers that Vick put up ultimately didn't mean much in the overall outcome of the game.

"Listen, we can all do better. (Vick's) part of the deal," Philadelphia coach Andy Reid said. "All of us can do better."

On the one hand, Philadelphia didn't look all that bad. It converted and scored on six of its 11 possessions. But when you're forced to settle for field goals in four of those six scoring chances, including one late in the game when you probably should have gone for a touchdown – while the Bears scored four touchdowns and only one field goal – it doesn't say much positive about your overall red zone play.

"We've got to make sure we score when we are given the opportunity," Reid said. "When you're down in the red zone, you have to score touchdowns against a good team."

The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for the Eagles, while Chicago improved to 8-3.

"We have to do better in the red zone, have to get better in red zone efficiency and get more touchdowns than field goals," Vick said. "I think that's been the biggest thing the last couple of weeks, not capitalizing in the red zone. We definitely have to work at that.

Free Shipping at FanHouse Shop"We just beat ourselves. Plays that we should make, we just don't make them. I think if you go back and watch the film, you'll see so many opportunities that we had and we didn't capitalize on them. We just have to get better and respond.

"It really doesn't change anything we're doing because we have so many alternatives in our offense. We still move the ball downfield each possession. We do a great job of doing that. We still play smart football and get in position to score -- we just don't score."

While Sunday's loss definitely stings, Vick and Reid both agree there's no point of dwelling upon it. There's too much at stake and five more crucial games to play in the regular season to let the loss to the Bears impact the overall goal the Eagles have: to make the playoffs.

"It's a short week, so we have to forget about this one, have a short-term memory and move on. It is difficult to move on, but you have to do it," Vick said. "You can't go back and play the game again. It's hindsight now. We have to move forward and you can't dwell on the past."

Added Reid, "We have to get ourselves right in a short period of time, so that's what we're going to do. We have a Thursday game and we have to learn from this quickly, get it out of our mind and get rolling."

It's not all bad news, though. The Eagles are still atop the NFC East, although now tied with the New York Giants, who squeaked by Jacksonville Sunday. And if fate has its way, the Eagles potentially could face the Bears in a rematch during the playoffs.

"It's really frustrating, but it's a learning experience and something if we look at it the right way, it'll make us better down the stretch," said Eagles strong safety Quintin Mikell, who was beaten by Chicago's Earl Bennett for the eventual winning TD just before halftime. "That was a good team we lost to, they're going to be in the playoffs and they showed us a lot of things we need to work on.

"We just basically got embarrassed. We got our asses whooped out there. They're a good team, but we're a good team, too. They got this one, but hopefully we'll see them again in the playoffs."

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