Last week, the Eagles converted just 1 of 5 red-zone opportunities against the Giants. But thanks to five giveaways by the Giants, they still managed to cruise to a 27-17 win.
They weren't so lucky against the Bears. This time, another dreadful 1-for-5 red-zone performance resulted in a five-point loss and leaves them in a precarious situation heading into a short-week Thursday night game against the born-again Houston Texans, who will be coming off an impressive, 20-0 win over Tennessee.
"We've got to make sure we score [touchdowns] when we're given the opportunity,'' an angry Reid said after the game. "That answers a lot of things there. There are going to be games when you're not going to get a turnover. When you're down in the red zone, you've got to score touchdowns against good teams.''
Five trips inside the 20 and the Eagles walked away with just 16 points. They lost by five. You do the math.
"It's very frustrating,'' said left tackle Jason Peters. "We left a lot of points out there. We were kicking field goals when we got in the red zone. We've got to correct that. We've got to put seven points on the board.
"I don't know what the problem is. We watched film last week [after the Giants game] and we thought we had corrected it. We've got to go back and readjust.''
Aside from a 4-for-4 red-zone performance in their impressive, could-do-no-wrong, 59-28 win over the Redskins 2 weeks ago, the Eagles have been struggling in the red zone for a while now. Take out the Washington game and they're a lousy 6-for-23 in the red zone in their last five games.
Yesterday's red-zone adventure actually started out OK. Michael Vick capped off a 10-play, 65-yard first-half drive with an 8-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Maclin.
But that would be the Eagles' one and only red-zone touchdown. Drove down to the Chicago 3 on their next possession, only to have Vick sacked for a 14-yard loss on third down. Had to settle for one of David Akers' four field goals, which pulled them within 14-13.
Drove back down to the Chicago 4 on their next possession and didn't even get a field goal out of that trip. In one of the many protection breakdowns the offensive line had, defensive tackle Tommie Harris beat left guard Todd Herremans and got a hand on a second-down pass by Vick. Free safety Chris Harris intercepted the ball and returned it all the way to the Chicago 37.
"We've got to do a better job in the red zone,'' Reid said. "You can't have a team like that with its back to the wall and have an interception take place, a missed protection and so on. You can't do that and expect to come out on top. It's my responsibility to get that right.''
The interception was the first Vick has thrown this season, but it was a costly one. Much like that red-zone fumble in the loss to Tennessee last month, it swung momentum to the opponent. The Bears drove down and scored to take a 21-13 halftime lead. They would add 10 more points in the third quarter before the Eagles were able to counter. And again, too many Akers field goals, too few touchdowns.
"I have to be better in the red zone,'' Vick said. "I have to get better in red-zone efficiency and get more touchdowns than field goals. That's been the biggest thing for us the last couple of weeks. Not capitalizing in the red zone. We have to work on that.
"That interception was just deflating as a team. We had an opportunity to go up. Then momentum swings back their way.''
Vick's right. He has to get better in the red zone. He completed just 5 of 11 passes for 16 yards in the red zone against the Bears. It wasn't all his fault. An offensive line that had been showing improvement came up small against the Bears' fierce pass rush.
Vick was sacked four times, which is the most sacks the Eagles have given up since Kevin Kolb was dumped four times by the 49ers in Week 5.
"A couple of those times, Mike slipped,'' Peters said of a Soldier Field turf that was worse than a cow pasture. "I've got to watch the film. I'm not exactly sure what happened.
"They were running a bunch of stunts. We knew they were going to run games with the defensive line. And that's what they did. Not too many blitzes, but they were getting to Michael a little bit.
"But as bad as we played, we lost by five. They know that we're a better team and they got a victory [because] we let the game get away. Hopefully, we'll see them again.''
For most of the first half, the Bears were able to get consistent pressure on Vick with a four-man rush. In the second half, they started bringing a fifth rusher, which forced the Eagles to use a lot of tight formations rather than spread out the Bears.
"You've got to give them credit,'' said tight end Brent Celek. "They're a very good defensive team. But we killed ourselves today, too. Made too many mistakes. When we don't make mistakes, we beat teams.
"We didn't do ourselves any favors in the red zone. When you get down there, especially when you're playing a team like them and they're scoring, you've got to score touchdowns. We can't just settle for field goals going forward. It comes down to that.''
Celek isn't sure why the Eagles are struggling in the red zone. They've scored 310 points this season and are averaging nearly two points a game more than they were at this point last year. But 1-for-5 in the red zone isn't going to beat good teams. He knows it and his coach knows it.
"Things are a little bit tighter down there,'' Celek said. "So it's a little bit harder to move the ball. But that's no excuse. We have a great offense. We've got to put it in. We'll go back and watch film and see what we did wrong. It's gotta be fixed. Otherwise, we're not going to win football games.''
To the knuckleheads who operate Soldier Field and gave the green light to playing a high school football game Friday night on what already was a chewed-up surface. The NFL generates $9 billion a year in revenue and ends up having to play a critical game on grass unfit for cows let alone professional football players.
DID YOU NOTICE?
-- How similar the Eagles' final, too-slow scoring drive was to the one in Super Bowl XXXIX, when Bill Belichick needed confirmation from one of his assistants that the Patriots really were winning the game.
-- Besides returning punts, the Bears' Devin Hester also split the kickoff-return duties with Danieal Manning. Hester had a 46-yard return.
-- The difficulty the Eagles had with their footing on the Soldier Field cow pasture. Cornerbacks Joselio Hanson and Trevard Lindley both slipped on key completions. Michael Vick also slipped a couple of times while he was scrambling.
-- The Eagles used an alignment with five down linemen on Trent Cole's third-down sack of Jay Cutler on the Bears' first possession. They also had linebacker Stewart Bradley coming on a blitz on the play. The Eagles finished with four sacks, their highest total since notching seven in Week 3 against Jacksonville.
-- While Joselio Hanson was lined up in the slot against Earl Bennett on Bennett's 10-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter, it appeared he expected more help than he got inside from rookie free safety Nate Allen.
-- The Bears started at their own 34 and 41 after Sav Rocca's first two punts. In his 26 previous punts, opponents started beyond the 32 just three times.
-- Nobody blocked Julius Peppers on a third-and-goal play midway through the second quarter. Fullback Owen Schmitt and tight end Brent Celek both ran routes, leaving Peppers a free shot at Michael Vick.
-- Bears safety Danieal Manning grinding LeSean McCoy's injured shoulder into the ground following his 14-yard catch and run on a screen late in the second quarter.
-- Michael Vick had Brent Celek wide open down the field on the Eagles' second possession but overthrew him.
-- Left guard Todd Herremans allowed defensive tackle Tommie Harris to get penetration up the middle and tip the second-quarter pass by Michael Vick that Chris Harris intercepted. The turnover killed a potential score and kick-started a Bears touchdown drive that gave them a 21-13 halftime lead.
-- The Eagles had to use their first timeout of the second half with 12:23 left in the third quarter.
-- Julius Peppers twice caught Michael Vick from behind when he took off and ran.
-- Michael Vick actually tried to slide on a fourth-quarter run. He ended up looking like Eli Manning on his slide last week against the Eagles, when he fumbled.
-- The nice block by LeSean McCoy on blitzing linebacker Brian Urlacher on Michael Vick's 29-yard completion to Riley Cooper in the fourth quarter.
BY THE NUMBERS
-- Michael Vick's streak of consecutive passes without an interception ended at 240 when Bears free safety Chris Harris picked off a tipped pass late in the first half. Vick had 211 attempts this season without an interception. His streak dated back to the 2006 season with the Falcons.
-- The Bears' average starting position on their four touchdown drives was their 36-yard line.
-- The Eagles are 4-2 against the Bears at Soldier Field under Andy Reid.
-- As bad as the Eagles' red-zone offense has been, their red-zone defense isn't much better. The Bears converted three of four red-zone opportunities into TDs. For the season, opponents are 23-for-30 in the red-zone against the Eagles. The Birds are last in the league in red-zone defense.
-- Through 11 games last season, the Eagles scored 293 points (26.6 per game). Through 11 games this year, they've scored 310 (28.1).
-- The Eagles have scored 83 points in the first quarter in their seven wins. They've scored just six points in the first quarter in their four losses.
-- The Eagles have won eight straight time-of-possession battles and nine of 11 this season. Last year, they finished 29th in the league in time of possession (28:15).
-- LeSean McCoy, who rushed for 53 yards on 10 carries, has 151 rushing yards on his last 16 carries. That's 9.4 yards per carry.
-- DeSean Jackson had just two receptions for 26 yards. In the 23 previous quarters he'd been on the field with Michael Vick, Jackson had 28 receptions for 581 yards and four TDs.
-- Through 11 games last season, tight end Brent Celek had 54 receptions. Through 11 this season, he's got just 26. His TD catch against the Bears was just his third of the season and his first in six games.
-- Jay Cutler's 146.2 passer rating against the Eagles was the highest rating of his career. The opponent passer rating against the Eagles in their first 10 games was 71.0.