Cody Parkey makes that kick 99 times out of 100 in practice. But playoff pressure can’t be practiced.
It was such an evenly-matched hard-fought game by both teams. Neither the Eagles nor the Bears established anything close to dominance, either offensively or defensively. If it had to come down to a special teams play, you would have thought the Bears took the advantage with a massive kick return with about a minute to go. Mitch Trubisky to his credit got the Bears to winning-FG range with 10 seconds to go, picking on the double-move victim of the day, Avonte Maddox.
But in the end, a Double-DONK pinball bounce off the crossbar trumped double-move victimhood.
Setting it all up for the DONK-ey ending was the most clutch play of Nick Foles’ and Golden Tate’s combined careers. Nick Foles hit Golden Tate with a 2-yard touchdown pass on fourth down with 56 seconds remaining against the NFL’s stingiest defense, lifting the Philadelphia Eagles past the Chicago Bears 16-15 on Sunday in the final wild-card game.
Former Eagles kicker Cody Parkey hit the left upright and then the crossbar with a field-goal attempt from 43 yards with 10 seconds remaining, silencing the raucous crowd.
The defending league champion Eagles (10-7) squeezed into the playoffs by beating Washington and having the Bears (12-5) help them by knocking off Minnesota in the season finale. Philadelphia thanked its benefactor with a 12-play, 60-yard game-winning drive on which Foles, the Super Bowl MVP last February, hit six passes.
Philly plays at New Orleans next Sunday.
No team has repeated as Super Bowl champion since New England in 2004, and the Eagles are a sixth seed. The last sixth seed to win the NFL title was Green Bay in the 2010 season.
From Marcus Hayes’ recap for Philly.com:
“Big Game” Nick Foles did it again. He was good to start, shaky in the middle, unbelievable at the end.
“After going 4-for-5 for 57 yards on the opening drive, Foles ended the next two drives with bad interceptions thrown from the Bears’ 40-yard line and 21-yard line. Foles engineered a third-quarter touchdown drive capped by a 10-yard TD pass to Dallas Goedert. Foles has thrown five interceptions and seven touchdown passes in his six starts this season. He finished 25-for-40 for 266 yards with two TDs and two interceptions.
“In the penultimate drive in the fourth quarter, Foles underthrew Tate, who was open deep against a linebacker. On the next play he overthrew Goedert, who was open for a first down. That precipitated an Eagles punt, but the Eagles’ defense held and gave him another chance to extend the season — and his career as an Eagle.
“It was the best of times and the worst of time for the young Eagles cornerbacks. Avonte Maddox made was outstanding early, but he was beaten on consecutive plays — a 34-yard bomb, a 22-yard TD to Allen Robinson that gave the Bears a 15-10 lead with 9 minutes, 4 seconds to play, and a 25-yard teardrop to Robinson that put the Bears in field goal range with 35 seconds left. Linebacker Nigel Bradham and cornerbacks Rasul Douglas (eight tackles) stood out. Bradham spied Trubisky for most of the game and forced two incompletions. Douglas made two trademark tackles in the flat.
“For the first three quarters the Eagles contained All Pro pass-rushing linebacker Khalil Mack with outstanding efforts from tackles Jason Peters and Lane Johnson and a strategy of attacking him. Then, after the bears took a 5-point lead, he beat Peters inside and forced a first-down incompletion and knocked Golden Tate off his route on second down.”
This game had everything you want to see in a football game, and at least one thing I’ve never seen before. With 26 seconds remaining in the second quarter, officials erroneously called a 25-yard pass to Anthony Miller incomplete. It was, in fact, complete. It also was stripped by Eagles cornerback (and former Bear) Cre’Von LeBlanc as the pair tumbled to the ground. However, since neither team recovered the ball — it died at the Eagles’ 4 after the whistle blew — upon review, officials correctly nullified both the catch and the fumble and the teams proceeded as if it was an incomplete pass. Hmmmm. An Eagles recovery there would have somewhat changed the course of the game, preventing the Bears’ first-half-ending FG. But the double-DONK thing at the end of the game erases the horror of a totally botched call which went the wrong way at the end of the first half. Other goofy things didn’t make things any easier—overall in the first half, the Eagles dropped two potential interceptions and committed three penalties — including two on third downs that gave Chicago first downs.
On to New Orleans… Clean up a few things in the secondary and don’t rule these Birds out. I liked the team spirit I saw in Chicago. These guys played hungry.
|Passing 1st downs||17||12|
|Rushing 1st downs||2||3|
|1st downs from penalties||2||2|
|3rd down efficiency||6-13||5-16|
|4th down efficiency||1-1||0-0|
|Yards per Play||4.7||5.7|
|Yards per pass||6.3||6.5|
|Yards per rush||1.8||3.6|
|Red Zone (Made-Att)||2-3||0-3|
|Defensive / Special Teams TDs||0||0|