Eagles Give Bears More to Worry About Than Revenge

At 3-4 and with their season headed nowhere, the Bears can't be concerned with avenging last year's playoff loss to the Philadelphia Eagles when they play a road game Sunday in an effort to snap a three-game losing streak. Stopping Jordan Howard and getting running back David Montgomery going are two of the big issues.
Author:
Publish date:

To their credit, none of the Bears are talking about getting even for last year's playoff loss when they play the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday in a road game.

No sense worrying about the past when the present finds you on the verge of free fall.

"I just remember we lost," linebacker Danny Trevathan said. "You never forget that. But it's a new year. You know it's in the back of my mind, but they're a new team, we're a new team and we've got this angry attitude, still chasing greatness and that team is kind of in our way right now.

"It's not personally about the team, it's about us right now, it's about us getting our stride and us turning our head to the next game coming up."

The next game coming up is all the Bears have at this point. At 3-4 and with so many teams ahead of them in the hunt for two NFC wild cards, they can't even begin to think about such things. They all might as well imitate Jim Mora and holler "Playoffs?"

Actually, what the Bears would like to do is imitate the Eagles.

Philadelphia last year started with a 3-4 record, fell to 4-6, then stormed back to make the playoffs and beat the Bears at Soldier Field before bowing out against the Saints.=

This year the Eagles started out 3-4 again, like the Bears are now, and then came up with a huge road victory against the 5-1 Bills.

The Bears would love to find just a little of that type of resilience.

Before their current three-game losing streak, the Bears had never lost more than two consecutive games under Nagy.

"There’s a lot of great competition, the parity in this league and the coaching in this league is really good and it’s close," coach Matt Nagy said. "So when you have adversity and you hit a couple lows in your season, you honestly never know how your team is gonna react to it.

"I said last year when we lost to Green Bay in Week 1, I said it this year when we lost to Green Bay, somewhere, this is gonna make us better. I just don't know when it's gonna come."

Considering what they face Sunday against a surging playoff team from last year, the Bears have to hope it starts for them this week.

If they handle these four matchups it's possible it could happen.

Bears RG Rashaad Coward vs. Eagles DT Fletcher Cox

Coward's second start Sunday left plenty of room for improvement. Three key penalties hurt the Bears on a day when they had enough problems scoring. Trying to handle Cox could bring even more penalties. He's never piled up big stats in four games against the Bears, including the playoff game. However, what he's done is force the line of scrimmage into the Bears' backfield and made them one-dimensional. In four games facing the Eagles with Cox playing, the Bears averaged 49 yards rushing with a high of 65. They averaged 3.2 yards a carry. Cox's pass rush has been off this season with just 2 1/2 sacks and three quarterback hits. Considering he had 34 QB hits last year, it's way off. This is probably the most lopsided matchup the Bears face Sunday.

Bears WR Allen Robinson II vs. Eagles CB Jalen Mills

Robinson is coming off his lowest production since Week 2, but still had a big role with five catches for 62 yards and a touchdown. Robinson came up big against the Eagles last year in the playoffs, too, with 10 catches for 143 yards. He has a 3-inch height advantage on Mills, who started the year on the physically unable to perform list and has been back just two games. He made an impact with an interception. Two years ago when the Eagles won it all, Mills had a strong season with 14 passes defensed and a pick. Last year he tailed off with injuries and it continued into this year. The Eagles looked particularly vulnerable in the secondary when cornerback Avonte Maddox suffered a concussion, but Maddox is supposed to return this week and they should have their full group to battle Robinson.

Bears S Eddie Jackson vs. Eagles TE Zach Ertz

With so many threats in the Eagles receiver corps, including Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor, the Bears likely will be trying to match up man to man more than they would like. Ertz is impossible for linebackers to handle with his speed and route-running ability. Roquan Smith might be able to to cover him in a zone for a few yards. Eddie Jackson may be drawing that straw to cover one of the top three tight ends in the league, and finally could have some passes coming his way. He's without an interception this season, which he and defensive coordinator blame for opponents looking to avoid him. Ertz has made only two catches in each of the last two games after a hot start to his season. He's due to break out. In his last two games against the Bears he's had 15 catches for 155 yards.

Bears LB Danny Trevathan vs. Eagles RB Jordan Howard

Trevathan leads the Bears in tackles while still filling the role of field general. He's been vital in their defense being ranked sixth against the run. Downhill style runners like Howard have been the Achilles heel for the Bears defense. The Saints and Raiders got physical with them. Howard is definitely capable of running this way, but that's not necessarily the Eagles' greatest strength in the running game. They're at their best trying to run the way the Bears do, with inside zone runs or moving laterally. Howard would love to do to the Bears what Cedric Benson did to them after they gave up on him. Matt Nagy didn't want him, and it's his chance for revenge. Howard is coming off his best Eagles game with season highs of 23 runs and 96 yards. He's getting warmed up and is at his best with a lot of carries.

Twitter@BearsOnMaven