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Miller's return doesn't spark Bears, who fall again

11/4/2002

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) -- Hugh Douglas and the relentless
Philadelphia Eagles' defense had trouble digging in Sunday because
the Chicago Bears were making them guess.

Included in the Bears' arsenal of surprises was a no-huddle
offense and a play that allowed their best receiver, Marty Booker, to throw a pass.

Question on the Eagles: Do you think the Eagles have developed a balanced offense or is it still all about Donovan McNabb?
The Eagles are trying to create balance -- which is a good thing -- but McNabb is still the star. They want the ball in his hands at crunch time. That doesn't mean Duce Staley or Antonio Freeman or Todd Pinkston or James Thrash aren't important to the team. They can make big plays, too. What I like about McNabb is he tries to use them. He uses different ones each week.

Question on the Bears: Should the Bears turn to Chris Chandler or is QB the least of their worries?
Defensively, they are really banged up. When Ted Washington went out, I thought he would be a huge loss for them. He can stop the run, push the pocket back and give Brian Urlacher an opportunity to roam free. Offensively, I'm not sure if play-calling is the problem, but they have good players. It looks like Anthony Thomas may be a little heavy. I can't see why the Bears can't get their offense going. I like Chandler, but the Bears have to worry about his health and how long he will last.

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.

But in the second half, the Eagles showed why they have one of
the best defenses in the NFL.

Douglas made a late sack on Jim Miller and the Eagles stopped a
last second-drive to shut out the Bears in the second half and
preserve a 19-13 victory.

"They kept us off-balance for the whole first half. We just had
to calm down,'' Douglas said. "We played two quarters of defensive
football. The first two quarters weren't very good, but we came
together.''

Philadelphia has allowed 13 or fewer points five times this
season.

Douglas, who knocked Miller out of a playoff game in January by
slamming him to the turf during an interception return, sacked the
quarterback on a third down from the Eagles 24 with 17 seconds to
go.

Miller, returning after missing two starts with a sore shoulder
and elbow, then threw a fourth-down pass to the end zone that was
too high for Marcus Robinson as the Bears (2-6) lost their sixth
straight.

"The route was designed to go to the back of the end zone. It
wasn't a good decision,'' Miller said.

"The last drive they were getting a couple of chunks here and
there. It felt good to just stand up and make four straight plays
that didn't let them get in,'' said Eagles linebacker Ike Reese.

"That second half was just unbelievable for us. Everything they
called, we had the right call against it.''

Until that final drive it was completely frustrating for the
Bears, who managed just 53 yards in the second half -- 32 on the
final drive -- after gaining 207 in the first two quarters.

David Akers kicked four second-half field goals when the Eagles
(6-2) struggled to find the end zone, but still overcame a 13-7
halftime deficit.

Donovan McNabb ran for 46 yards on nine carries and completed 18
of 33 passes for 209 yards. But Chicago's defense did a better job
of pressuring the elusive Eagles quarterback than in a 33-19
playoff loss just more than nine months ago.

Penalties were also a big problem. Chicago was called 12 times
for 121 yards, nine against their defense.

"There were questionable calls all day long. It's pathetic,''
Chicago defensive back R.W. McQuarters said.

Getting the ball with just more than three minutes to go, Miller
moved the Bears from the 25 to the Eagles 24 with 14- and 13-yard
passes to Stanley Pritchett and Anthony Thomas.

But after two incompletions, Douglas roared through and dropped
Miller for a 9-yard loss.

"I don't think anyone touched me,'' Douglas said.

Akers kicked a go-ahead 27-yarder early in the fourth quarter,
four plays after Chicago receiver Dez White fumbled a pitchout and
the Eagles recovered at the Bears 18.

Akers hit again from 22 yards with 3:42 left after another
Philadelphia drive reached the Bears 5.

Paul Edinger's 53-yard field goal on the final play of the first
half just made it over the outstretched hand of Philadelphia's
leaping Brian Dawkins and skimmed the crossbar before going through. It gave the Bears a 13-7 lead.

Chicago went up 10-7 when Miller directed a quick seven-play,
69-yard drive by hitting a 19-yard pass to Booker and a 24-yarder
to Dez White. Thomas carried in from the 6 for the score.

Philadelphia moved 73 yards in the second quarter -- 30 coming
off three Bears penalties -- and took the lead on McNabb's 5-yard TD
run.

McNabb became only the fifth quarterback since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970 to rush for scores in four straight games. Kordell Stewart (1997), Jeff Hostetler (1993), Pat Haden (1976) and Greg Landry (1972) also accomplished the feat.

Antonio Freeman caught a 28-yard pass and McNabb scrambled for
14 yards to give Philly a first down at the Chicago 5 on the
opening series of the second half before settling for Akers'
23-yard field goal.

The Eagles advanced to the Chicago 18 the next time, but again
had to settle for Akers' field goal, this one from 36 yards that
tied the game at 13.

Game notes
Philadelphia's injuries were to Levon Kirkland
(sprained knee), Bobby Taylor (right shoulder contusion) and
Freeman (hip contusion). For the Bears. it was Daimon Shelton
(ankle sprain). ... Attendance was 54,049. ... Fans booed the
Bears' offense in the fourth quarter until their final drive ...
McNabb's TD run was his sixth this season, tying his career high
set in 2000. He had 50 family members and friends from the Chicago
suburbs at the game.