PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia Eagles running back Jordan Howard made a statement against his former team, rushing for 82 yards and a touchdown in a 22-14 win against the Chicago Bears that puts the Eagles (5-4) in good position heading into their bye.
Howard was traded from the Bears to the Eagles for a conditional sixth-round pick in March despite averaging more than 1,100 rushing yards during his three years in Chicago. He downplayed the significance of the matchup this week but made his presence felt with a physical brand of running that has quickly endeared him to his new city.
Fueled largely by their success on the ground, the Eagles responded to consecutive blowout losses to the Vikings and Cowboys with back-to-back wins over the Bills and Bears that puts them back on solid footing.
They have home games against the Patriots and Seahawks coming out of the bye, but their finishing schedule is favorable after that. It’s a two-horse race between the Eagles and the Cowboys (4-3) for the NFC East crown. Philly plays four of its next six games at home, including a Week 16 game against Dallas.
Promising trend: The defense gave up a couple of big plays in the second half but put together a strong game overall — its second in as many weeks. Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox is back to wreaking havoc in the middle following a slow start as a result of offseason foot surgery. With a takedown of Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, defensive end Brandon Graham now has six sacks on the season — all in the past five games. Now relatively healthy, the defense has allowed 27 points total over the past two games.
QB breakdown: Carson Wentz finished 26-of-39 for 239 yards with a touchdown and zero interceptions. Receiver DeSean Jackson made it through one series in his return from an abdominal injury and Alshon Jeffery had three drops, adding to the degree of difficulty. It wasn’t Wentz’s finest performance — his accuracy on downfield throws left something to be desired — but he helped engineer a game-sealing field goal late.
Eye-popping stat: The Eagles’ defense held the Bears to 9 yards of offense in the first half, which was Chicago’s fewest in the past 40 years, according to Elias.