Bears Get ‘Run’ out of Philly
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) — It was supposed to be strength vs. strength. The immovable object against the irresistible force.
It turned out to be the Washington Generals against the Harlem Globetrotters.
The running game was the only thing the Chicago Bears had going for them when they arrived at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday but Jim Schwartz was there to great them with a ferocious front that gave no quarter, the cornerstone to a 31-3 blowout for Philadelphia, the Eagles' third consecutive triumph by 28 points.
Chicago's paltry offense, totaling 140 yards, was the fewest the Birds have allowed since a December game in 1996 against the New York Giants when "Big Blue" only got 121 yards of traction.
Philadelphia's success stopping the run, however, was even more historic, allowing only six yards to the Bears, the fewest in a single game by the franchise since 1950, a stunning span of nearly 70 years.
Perhaps the most impressive part to the Eagles' blistering 10-1 start, which has included nine consecutive wins, has been the game planning each week whether it's Doug Pederson's often innovative play calling or Schwartz's ability to focus in on the weakness of the opposing offense.
On Sunday Schwartz's plan was as obvious as if gets. If the Bears were going to shock the world against the NFC's best team, it was Mitchell Trubisky's arm that was going to have to do it.
“The biggest thing was limiting the run game," Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins admitted. "They’re a top-5 running team, so we knew we would have to stop the run, especially some of the gadget runs they have with two running backs that they’re trying to feature. Once we were able to do that and make them really one-dimensional, we knew it would be tough for Trubisky to match up. They were short some receivers. We thought we matched up well in the back end."
Brandon Graham also confirmed the game plan afterward.
"That was the biggest emphasis this week," Graham explained. "We just wanted to go out there and do our job. We made it about us and obviously we got the job done today."
Got the job done was an understatement. The final tally was 14 rushes for six yards for the Bears or 15.4 inches per rush, just over a foot of movement every time the NFL's fifth-ranked running team tried to move Graham, Fletcher Cox, Tim Jernigan and Co. off the ball.
And if you take away Trubisky's scramble of 11 yards with 2 1/2 minutes left in the game with a host of reserves defenders finishing the rout, Chicago was actually underwater against the Eagles' starters.
“It starts with all four of us up front, and takes guys like [Eagles DE] Vinny Curry, [Eagles DE] Brandon Graham, [Eagles DE] Derek Barnett, and [Eagles DE] Chris Long," Jernigan said. "There’s no way that me and [Eagles DT Fletcher Cox] can do that by ourselves. It’s seemingly impossible because this league is too good and [we] go against too good of competition."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen