McNabb, Philadelphia hang on to knock off Chicago
Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) reacts in the third quarter during the Bears' 24-20 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles during an NFL football game in Chicago, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2009.
CHICAGO -- Donovan McNabb and the Philadelphia Eagles found a way to pull out a close win. They also hurt the Chicago Bears in the process.
McNabb threw for 244 yards against his hometown team, LeSean McCoy scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 10-yard run following Antonio Dixon's block of a field goal attempt, and Philadelphia came away with a 24-20 victory over struggling Chicago on Sunday night after back-to-back close losses.
"It wouldn't have mattered if we had won 3-2, this was a game we needed to come out and win by any means necessary," McNabb said.
The Bears were leading 20-17 when Dixon blocked a 48-yard field goal by Robbie Gould with 11 minutes left. McNabb then led the Eagles (6-4) on a 62-yard touchdown drive that McCoy capped with a neat 10-yard run, sending Chicago to its fifth loss in six games and delivering another big hit to its playoff hopes.
Barring a big run, the Bears (4-6) will miss the postseason for the third straight season - certainly not what they expected when they made that big offseason trade with Denver for Jay Cutler.
The Bears had high hopes after that deal, but after a 3-1 start, all the optimism is gone.
"We're running out of time," Cutler said. "The window is getting smaller and smaller. Anything can happen, you get strange things happening in November and December, but for us it's smaller and smaller."
Or, as Bears coach Lovie Smith put it: "This wasn't part of the master plan."
Cutler, who came into the game with a league-leading 17 interceptions, did not get picked off until the final minute. Tracy White tipped a pass, Sean Jones came away with the ball near midfield, and that sealed the win.
"The last couple years we haven't had a lot of luck in close ones," Eagles coach Andy Reid said. "The guys battled, and they didn't worry about that. They just kept banging."
The Eagles also exhaled after losing 31-23 to San Diego and 20-16 to Dallas the previous two weeks, putting them in what McNabb said was a must-win situation.
The veteran quarterback was 23 of 32, and DeSean Jackson caught eight of those passes for 107 yards to lead Philadelphia to the win even though star running back Brian Westbrook missed the game with a concussion. The Eagles also lost cornerback Asante Samuel to a neck stinger, yet still pulled this one out.