Parkey's dramatic missed field goal sends Eagles through
What started as a low-scoring affair to close out wildcard weekend, ended in equally exciting and heartbreaking fashion as the Philadelphia Eagles narrowly defeated the Chicago Bears 16-15.
Chicago welcomed the defending NFL Super Bowl champions to Soldier Field for the team's first postseason game since 2010 on Sunday.
The Bears nearly sent Philadelphia packing as quarterback Mitch Trubisky engineered his lone touchdown drive in the fourth quarter to pull ahead of the Eagles for the game's fourth lead change.
But, Nick Foles was not done. And unfortunately, the Bears' kicking woes were not either in a dramatic finale in Chicago.
Here are three takeaways from the Eagles' win over the Bears:
Foles' storybook season still needs an ending
It is hard to think of a better backup quarterback than Foles. The seventh-year QB has proved he can fill a starter's shoes when he led the Eagles to a Super Bowl win last season. It was the perfect ending to his campaign, and now he is poised to do it again.
Philadelphia will have a long road to Super Bowl LIII as they will now have to travel to New Orleans to face the Saints. But, Foles showed again Sunday that he still has it.
The Eagles were down five points with just under five minutes left in the game when Foles led the team 60 yards into the end zone. He found wide receiver Golden Tate, who was acquired this season and seemingly hushed any talk of the trade not being worth it.
Foles finished 25-of-40 passing for 266 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Tate finished with five catches for 46 yards and the score. He followed only Alshon Jeffery (six catches, 82 yards) and Zach Ertz (five catches, 52 yards).
Trubisky-led offense was as close as you can get
It is difficult for anyone to face any team that have won five of their last six games, let alone in the postseason. But, when Trubisky lined up against the Eagles he nearly ousted the defending champions.
The lacklustre first half saw field goal after field goal while each team struggled to get their offense going. But, Trubisky finally got the offense going after he found Allen Robinson for a 22-yard touchdown.
Trubisky, who racked up his most yards since beating Tampa Bay in late September, then charged down the field trailing by just one point. He ended up setting Cody Parkey up with a 43-yard field goal attempt to win the game.
But Parkey, who had missed 10 kicks prior to the potential game-winning attempt, missed. The ball not only hit one upright, which is all too familiar for Bears fan, but also hit the crossbar and then bounced to the ground.
To add salt to the wound, Parkey was 11 of 12 on fourth-quarter attempts before missing this one.
Trubisky completed 26 of his 43 passes for 303 yards and one touchdown.
Eagles defense will have to rely on depth once more
Philadelphia's pass rush has been led by defensive tackles Fletcher Cox (10.5 sacks) and Michael Bennett (10) with the help of edge rushers Chris Long and Brandon Graham, who have combined for 10.5 sacks, its secondary has been lacking.
It is not a lack of talent, but a sheer lack of numbers. The Eagles lost nearly all their starting secondary to season-ending injuries and have turned to backups and reserves to fill the void.
The Eagles were able to sack Trubisky twice for a loss and were led by a mix of young and old defenders including second-year cornerback Rasul Douglas (eight tackles) and veterans Nigel Bradham (seven) and Corey Graham (five). Douglas and rookie Avonte Maddox (five tackles) took the place of starters Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills, while Graham replaced safety Rodney McLeod.
Philadelphia will need another big performance when they faces the Drew Brees-led Saints on January 13.