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Philadelphia Eagles vs. Chicago Bears: 16 winners, losers, and I don’t knows

Let’s goooo

NFL: NFC Wild Card-Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles beat the Bears, 16-15. Now let’s hand out some winners and losers!


The Philadelphia Eagles

As if there was ever a single doubt.

Doug Pederson

The big winner of the night remains -- rightfully -- Ol’ Douglas.

It’s easy to forget that last season, when Nick Foles was doing...well, exactly what Nick Foles is doing again, that the majority of the credit was not going to Nick. It was going to Doug: the Eagles’ were able to out-gameplan some venerable coaches in Dan Quinn, Mike Zimmer (lol), and Bill Belichick en route to their impossible Super Bowl victory. Foles lore was certainly growing, but it was Pederson -- a Coach of the Year snub -- who shined brightest on those stages.

So as Episode Two: Attack of the Foles continues, it’s easy to begin pouring the credit on Nick for his second playoff run -- and he rightfully deserves some credit. But Doug Pederson’s offensive gameplanning around Foles’ limitations and strengths is nothing short of masterful; the defense always rises to the occasion when Foles is in the backfield; and in tight fourth-quarter moments, Pederson manages the clock and game script better than the opponent opposite him.

Easy to forget that two months ago, Pederson was being called into question. His fearlessness and “new norm” narrative was catching heat and scrutiny. But it’s tough to argue with a guy who pulls his team through tremendous odds, time and time again.

Alshon Jeffery

I said before the game that, for the Eagles to win, Alshon needed to have a dominant night.

He didn’t hit 100 yards -- final line was 6 receptions for 82 yards on 9 targets -- but it was a Top-10 performance by a WR against this fierce Chicago Bears defense. Alshon did what he was supposed to do: he won his 1-on-1 matchups when presented with man coverage regularly, modeling the unbelievable hand strength and physical prowess in the short to intermediate areas that makes him a nightmare to handle on an island.

As was well reported before the game, Jeffery was taking the game against Chicago a little personally. It was his old “place of work,” and he wanted to show his old employers why they should have extended his contract. Suffice to say that he did.

Rasul Douglas

I swear, I never write about a player more in this column than Sul.

Ready? Think about the completions Rasul Douglas gave up in coverage last night. Having some trouble, are you?

That’s how you know a corner played a good game.

Jake Elliott

IMAGINE taking umbrage with Jake Elliott’s play -- IMAGINE IT! -- when you know he never would have missed the potential game-winning field goal. He’s literally never missed one in his entire career, for what it’s worth.

Yes, it was tipped. But Elliott wouldn’t have had it be tipped (idk just go with it).

Treyvon Hester

The tipper! Hester remains a bubble-53 player for me, in terms of his on-field ability as a defensive tackle. I view him in the Destiny Vaeao category of players who get rotational snaps, which is valuable because it helps keep the stronger players fresh, but is tricky because Hester doesn’t bring that much impact play.

That said, Hester has certainly played his way into a long look at camp next year when Philadelphia goes to figure out their depth pieces; and it helps to be a special-teams legend in the city. Hester, who by many reports and slow-motion videos, caught just enough of the football to alter its path on the ultimate field goal, lives in the same infamy as Keanu Neal and the would-be, coulda-been interception in the Atlanta game last year. More chips falling Philadelphia’s way.

Rodney McLeod

The Eagles defense is fixed, right? They’ve been playing great these past few weeks. Corners Avonte Maddox, Rasul Douglas, and Cre’Von LeBlanc have cured the disease.

Yes, but no. There’s still so much area to work with on the deep sideline against the Eagles, and it’s because neither Tre Sullivan nor Corey Graham have the range to win from that position. Both struggled last night to affect the deep shots Trubisky was winning with late, and it only goes to show: McLeod, whose contract will make him cuttable next season...ain’t gettin’ cut. Unless the Eagles land Earl Thomas in free agency, McLeod is their best option by a mile.

Jim Schwartz

Jimbo strikes again! He’s letting Rasul Douglas play tighter into the line of scrimmage and Avonte Maddox is playing off. He’s rushing with four and winning when he does. My man is back in his groove and gonna get some head coaching buzz in a week or two? Hmm. Good game against New Orleans would go a long way there.


The Chicago Bears

NA NA NA NA! NA NA NA NA! HEY HEY HEY! Good game and honestly you guys seem like you have a promising future and Nagy seems like a really fun coach and I have a lot of respect for your organization as a whole, better luck next time!


I left my charger at Soldier Field, like an idiot.

Mitchell Trubisky

I don’t think the Bears can say, quite yet, after two seasons that they’ve found their franchise QB. Trubisky remains an untrustworthy thrower beyond his first read, who struggles with slight pocket adjustments and is also more generally accurate than he is strong as a placement thrower.

That said, Trubisky deserves a ton of credit for hanging in for four quarters and getting his team in a position to hit a game-winner. Nagy opened things up for him downfield in the second half, with some nice sequencing and complementary play-calling, and Trubisky took advantage. The more snaps and starts he takes, the better Trubisky will understand his own game and play more risk-averse (he shoulda had 2 picks), veteran football.

Khalil Mack

Kyle Fuller

Where was the first-team All-Pro corner? Well, when he had man coverage responsibilities on Alshon, he was getting beat, that’s where.

Are you wondering where the Khalil Mack bit is? Sorry, I just wanted to write as many words on Khalil Mack’s game as Mack had sacks against the Eagles.

The New Orleans Saints

Sorry, just getting a head start on next week’s column.

In all seriousness: the Saints could have played Seattle, Dallas, or Philadelphia. And in a vacuum, maybe they want to see Philly. But in context -- that is, each team going to see the Saints would be coming off of a win -- I think Philly is the last team you want to see. Last year’s underdogs are coming into the weekend as the biggest point-spread dogs for the second week in a row. Doug Pederson is undefeated in the playoffs, with his backup QB. Philadelphia remembers their most embarrassing loss of the season in Week 11.

Sure, the Cowboys beat the Saints in the regular season -- you think that team isn’t itching to get vengeance? Or watching Cowboys/Seahawks and thinking “Man, if we get a team that hates passing like the Seahawks, we’ll be able to outpace them on the scoreboard?” This was the worst possible draw for New Orleans.


Nick Foles

Nick Foles has played in basically seven win-or-die games in the past two seasons, and this was his second-worst performance (worst being Atlanta last year, in the divisional round). His picks were both poor mistakes, his accuracy was scattershot even at key moments, and he struggled to manage the pocket and extend plays.

And yet somehow, once again, it all didn’t matter.

Golden Tate

Is Golden Tate going to force a conversation for Philadelphia’s front-office this offseason? I mean, probably not...but maybe?

We can’t base a whole evaluation on one play, but the fact that the ultimate 4th and 2 went Golden’s way speaks to how this coaching staff views him as a match-up piece who can win in isolation. Trading the third for Tate still feels rich, though Philadelphia’s in a nice spot where either 1) they retain him for cheap or 2) a better offer comes in and the Eagles get a compensatory pick accordingly.

But two months ago, this 11 personnel heavy game would have seen Jordan Matthews taking a huge percentage of snaps. And it’s tough to imagine 4th and 2 going the same way with JMatt on the field.

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