Determined Bears will 'keep going'
For a team that appeared to be in disarray not long ago, the Chicago Bears are sitting pretty.
They have won four consecutive games and are alone atop the NFC North. A run to the play-offs seems more like a certainty after their latest performance, a 31-26 victory on Sunday over Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles.
"We're where we want to be, leading our division," said Brian Urlacher, the Bears linebacker. "That's where we've wanted to be all season long. We've got to keep playing well and winning."
Jay Cutler tied a career high with four touchdown passes, and the 31 points were a season high for the Bears (8-3), who lead Green Bay by a game in the division after beating one of the top teams in the NFC.
The Eagles (7-4) had won three straight, but were unable to break big plays against one of the league's stingiest defences and fell into a tie with the New York Giants for the NFC East lead.
"It's going to be tough to put this one on the back burner," Vick said. "We have to do it."
Eagles coach Andy Reid said his team has "to learn from this quickly, get it out of our mind, and get going", particularly with a game against Houston on Thursday.
Vick threw for 333 yards and two touchdowns.
But he also threw his first interception in four years when he got picked off by Chris Harris in the end zone late in the first half, stopping a potential go-ahead scoring drive and snapping a string of 238 passes without one.
Julius Peppers had a sack for Chicago after getting three the previous week, and the Bears came away with a signature win after beating struggling teams like Buffalo, Minnesota and the injury-ravaged Dolphins.
Matt Forte ran for 117 yards and Cutler had a 146.2 rating for the game, completing 14 of 21 passes for 247 yards and no interceptions.
Devin Hester caught three passes for 86 yards and Earl Bennett added two touchdown catches as the Bears moved closer to making the play-offs for the first time since the 2006 team's Super Bowl run. Not bad for a team that was a wobbly 4-3 a month ago.
Since then, the Bears have ditched their pass-happy ways and gone with a more balanced offence. The blocking has improved, too, and Cutler is not taking the sort of poundings he received earlier this season.
"It was a big game for us," Cutler said. "We talked about it in there. We have to keep going. We have to put this behind us. The true test in this league is consistency, especially in November and December, whether it's third downs, red zone, turnovers or winning games. We just have to keep going."
The Eagles fell to 5-1 in games Vick has started and finished. He hit Brent Celek with a 30-yard TD that made it 31-26 with 1:54 left, but Johnny Knox recovered the onside kick, preserving a victory for the Bears.
Published: November 30, 2010 04:00 AM