The Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Chicago Bears on Sunday in what might go down as the most forgettable game of the 2022 season for a team with Super Bowl aspirations.
Three turnovers, a missed field goal, and a peculiar variety of situational miscues couldn’t stop the Eagles from a 25-20 road victory. They’ll now prepare for the real matchup that fans have been waiting for against the Dallas Cowboys on Christmas Eve.
The win in Chicago also had an odd resemblance to a win eight years ago in Philadelphia and two other wins by the best Eagles teams of the 21st century.
Eagles Roll Over Titans in 2014
The 2014 Eagles began the season with a 7-3 record under national darling head coach Chip Kelly. They battled neck and neck with the Cowboys early in the season for the top spot in the NFC East. They faced the 2-8 Tennessee Titans at Lincoln Financial Field Field in Week 12 just four days before a Thanksgiving showdown with their arch-rivals.
Josh Huff (of all people) returned the opening kickoff for 107 yards to give the Eagles a lead they never gave up. They took a 17-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. Their dominance throughout the game made the win so minimal in the overall context of the season that the Philadelphia crowd lacked the typical juice of a November home game by halftime.
The Eagles pulled away late in the third quarter with a touchdown pass from Mark Sanchez to James Casey (I wish there were more celebrated names in this flashback). A home crowd that expected a victory all week felt the tiny bit of doubt in their minds fade away. They broke out into a memorable chant with a short week before Philadelphia’s next game:
We. Want. Dallas!
We. Want. Dallas!
We. Want. Dallas!
If you tuned your radio to 97.5 The Fanatic the next day, local hosts openly pushed the win against Tennessee aside with only a short, hectic week in front of them to get ready for a clash against the Cowboys in front of the entire country in a holiday showcase.
Although the 2014 season didn’t play out the way they wanted overall, the Eagles traveled to Dallas and crushed the Cowboys 33-10 on Thanksgiving Day to improve to 9-3.
Eagles Defeat Bears in 2004, 2017
Jalen Hurts and the Eagles were guilty of allowing themselves to fall into malaise against the Bears. The win on Sunday fell way short of their best efforts of the season. However, the two best Eagles teams of the 21st century defeated the Bears in a similar fashion.
The 2004 Eagles improved to 4-0 with a 19-9 win at Soldier Field behind four field goals by David Akers. A prolific offense with Donovan McNabb, Terrell Owens, and Brian Westbrook scored just one touchdown.
The 2017 Eagles beat the Bears 31-3 on Thanksgiving weekend at the Linc. They turned the ball over three times in a win against a team that finished 5-11. Despite the lopsided score, they failed to execute at the level that got them their first Super Bowl ring in franchise history.
The win in November 2017 tied the longest winning streak in franchise history at nine. The crowd at the Linc, however, trickled out during the second half. The fans knew the Eagles could whip lesser opponents, and they were ready for a bigger challenge. The team then left for a two-game trip on the West Coast against playoff contenders at the toughest point of their schedule.
Eagles fans traveled well to Chicago. The Fox broadcast even picked up an “MVP” chant as Hurts left the field for the 13-1 Eagles. However, they all know to focus on bigger and better things.
Showdown Against Cowboys
Micah Parsons riled up the Philadelphia fan base last week with comments about Hurts, which added some fire to an already hot rivalry. The stage is set just like it was in 2014, and Eagles fans should waste no time dwelling on an ugly win that means very little in the context of a potentially historic season.
The Eagles will travel to Dallas on a short week to play on a national broadcast on Christmas Eve with the eyes of the entire country tuned in. It’s the biggest game of the regular season in the NFC East.
A loss won’t sink Philadelphia’s chances, especially after Doug Pederson’s Jacksonville Jaguars took down the Cowboys on Sunday.
A win means the top seed in the NFC, home field in the conference playoffs, and an option to rest the starters during the final two games of the season. It’ll be their toughest test of the regular season and the most defining measuring stick of the Eagles as Super Bowl contenders.