PHILADELPHIA – Unfortunately for the Bears, Sunday's game against the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field turned out to be just as much of a mismatch as it appeared to be on paper.
The Eagles raced to a 24-0 halftime lead in cruising to a 31-3 win, dominating the Bears in the first half in total yards (272-33), first downs (16-0) and time of possession (20:10-9:50). Carson Wentz threw three touchdown passes in the game's first 30 minutes to lead the rout.
"They're a pretty potent offense," said coach John Fox. "They can run the ball effectively. They're tops in the league in that area as well as passing the ball. That's a good football team that's had similar scores to what we experienced today. We didn't play well enough in any phase really for us to compete. The game was not competitive from early on."
The Eagles (10-1) have now won nine straight games, while the Bears (3-8) have lost four consecutive contests and six of eight since a Week 3 overtime win over the Steelers.
"This isn't ideal," Fox said. "But how you get stronger is how you handle situations like this."
Wentz's 17-yard touchdown pass to Zach Ertz over the middle gave the Eagles a 7-0 lead with 6:04 left in the first quarter. The eight-play, 44-yard drive was sustained by Jay Ajayi's 2-yard run on fourth-and-one and Alshon Jeffery's 14-yard reception on third-and-eight.
The Eagles started the possession at the Bears' 44 following Pat O'Donnell's 34-yard punt.
The Bears then generated two takeaways, one on offense and one on defense. Mitchell Trubisky's pass deflected off Tre McBride's hand and was intercepted by Malcolm Jenkins. But Dion Sims stripped the ball from Jenkins and McBride recovered it at the 50.
Adrian Amos later ripped the ball away from LeGarrette Blount on a 35-yard run and Sam Acho recovered the fumble at the Philadelphia 42.
The Bears had a chance to convert the turnover into points on Cairo Santos' first field goal attempt with the team, but his 54-yarder was short and wide to the right.
Wentz's 15-yard TD pass to Nelson Agholor increased the Eagles' lead to 14-0 with 10:52 left in the half. Agholor sprinted around Eddie Jackson and hurdled Kyle Fuller near the goal line.
The Bears seemingly had stopped the Eagles earlier on a third-down incompletion. But a holding penalty on Prince Amukamara resulted in an automatic first down. Wentz followed by brilliantly spinning away from a blitzing Cre'von LeBlanc and scrambling for 16 yards on third-and-nine.
Jake Elliott's 45-yard field goal widened the margin to 17-0 with 6:52 left in the first half. The Eagles settled for the kick after Jonathan Bullard sacked Wentz on third down.
Wentz's 8-yard touchdown pass to Jeffery made it 24-0 with :05 remaining in the half.
"Everything we expected them to do, they did," Acho said. "We just didn't execute. This really has nothing to do with what Philadelphia did. It has everything to do with us not executing our assignments. We're not proud of the performance we put out."
The Bears scored their only points of the game early in the third quarter as Santos booted a 38-yard field goal. But by then it was too little and too late.
The Eagles increased their lead to 31-3 early in the fourth quarter when Agholor recovered an Ajayi fumble in the end zone. LeBlanc stripped the ball from Ajayi at the 5 after a 30-yard run.
"We need to learn how to weather the storm," Acho said. "We need to learn that you can be down 17-0 at halftime and still come back and win. We need to learn that even if something doesn't go your way one play, you can go back and make it right the next play. Learn that things may not go your way early, but you can always come back and turn it around. That's the lesson that we need to learn. It's a lesson of maturity."
Wentz was replaced by backup Nick Foles early in the fourth quarter after completing 23 of 36 passes for 227 yards with three TDs, no interception and a 109.4 passer rating. Trubisky connected on 17 of 33 passes for 147 yards with two interceptions and a 38.3 rating.
Philadelphia held decisive advantages in the game in first downs (24-8), total yards (420-140) and time of possession (37:08-22:52).
"We needed to play better," Fox said. "We needed to play really, really well in all three phases for us to beat that football team, and we didn't."