The lead up to the Eagles-Bears Sunday Night Football was a little disappointing for Eagles fans. The Dallas Cowboys managed to pull off a close win over the Redskins earlier in the day, rendering the Eagles-Bears result meaningless in terms of deciding the NFC East winner.
Some thought it would be best for Eagles coach Chip Kelly to avoid injury risk and simply rest the starters since there wasn't much to play for other than potential playoff seeding benefits. Kelly made it clear earlier in the week that no matter the outcome of the Dallas game, the Eagles' starters would be playing against the Bears. Kelly stayed true to his word, and the payoff was big. The Philadelphia Eagles absolutely crushed the Chicago Bears in a win that seemed to atone for the failures of last week's 48-30 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
Asked about his decision to play the starters in this game, Kelly had the following to say.
"Very simply. We're from Philadelphia and we fight. That's it. If there's a game on, we're playing, end of story. All this stuff with backing in, not worry about things. I have no idea. So many different scenarios, could have been a tie. What if there's a tie when we go play Dallas next week and we gave a game away last week. If we are going to lineup and kickoff, and you tell us what time to show up and we will be there."
Now that's a quote if I've ever seen one. Kelly is a very quotable personality, but this is easily his magnum opus of the season.
Kelly made the right call. Yeah, he could have rested the starters. Maybe they would have been more fresh for the Dallas finale. It could have been a reasonable decision. But that's not what this team is about. They're about fighting hard and earning what they get. Last week, the team response after the Vikings game was sobering. Based on this week's performance, it was apparent the Eagles gained perspective from that lost and used it constructively to respond well against the Bears.
The Eagles win on Sunday Night Football wasn't just a "meaningless" victory. It was a statement. Bold faced, large font, and an exclamation point. They absolutely stomped an 8-6 team that was fighting to clinch a playoff spot. Chip Kelly and the Eagles put the national audience on notice. Last week's loss was a slip up that the team wouldn't allow to derail the rest of the season. Instead, they played with confidence and used a full week of practice to correct those mistakes they had made the previous week.
With the regular season finale in Dallas on schedule for this upcoming week, the Eagles will play in the biggest game of their season. And just as he did tonight, you can be sure Chip Kelly will have this team ready to fight.