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Eagles Fly By Bears


It was only two weeks ago that Doug Pederson was in danger of losing his job. Now he's the first Philadelphia Eagles quarterback to win on the road in 20 games.

Pederson, playing like Brett Favre, another quarterback Eagles coach Andy Reid tutored in Green Bay, had career highs in completions (16), yards passing (207) and longest pass (57 yards) by halftime Sunday, and the Eagles hung on for the 20-16 victory over the Chicago Bears.

"Sometimes you've got to put yourself in a tough situation," said Pederson, 2-0 since getting benched at the end of a loss to the New York Giants.

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  • "Having a half like that is tremendous, and it's great for my confidence," he said. "The only thing I can say is we've got to do that in the second half."

    The Eagles gained only 88 yards in the second half, and never got beyond the Bears 29. Cade McNown, making his first NFL start in place of the injured Shane Matthews, threw an 80-yard touchdown pass, and Chris Boniol kicked a 41-yard field goal in the second half, but the Bears (3-3) came up empty in two trips to the Eagles 31.

    "I wasn't nervous," said McNown, who finished 17-of-33 for 255 yards with two interceptions. "I just didn't get a feel for the game until a couple of series."

    The victory gives Philadelphia (2-4), which beat Dallas last week, a winning streak for the first time since November 1997. It also is the Eagles' first victory ever at Soldier Field, and just their second win over Chicago since 1980.

    Philadelphia, 0-18-1 on the road since beating the New York Jets 21-20 on Dec. 14, 1996, looked right at home in the first half. After an ineffective first series, the Eagles scored on their next fur possessions.

    Everything seemed to go their way, with the second series symbolizing the half. Pederson was intercepted, but the play was wiped out when Bears tackle Jim Flanigan was whistled for roughing the passer.

    Two plays later, the Eagles were called for pass interference, giving them second-and-20 from their own 36. But Pederson hit Torrance Small for a 7-yard gain, and then connected with Dietrich Jells for the 57-yard score.

    "We just told ourselves, `Let's just pick up where we left off last week,"' Pederson said. "It really helped us confidence-wise, more than anything."

    Pederson also threw a 3-yard TD pass to Luther Broughton, and Norm Johnson kicked field goals of 28 and 27 yards in the first half. Pederson finished 22-of-38 for 228 yards. Duce Staley rushed for 101 yards on 23 carries.

    "I would like to say maybe we're coming over that hump a little bit," Pederson said. "We just have to keep that momentum going."

    And the Bears, who had fans talking playoffs after upsetting the Minnesota Vikings at the Metrodome last weekend, have to find it again. The defense was ineffective in the first half, and the offense looked just as out of synch.

    The biggest problem was the absence of Matthews, who has a pulled hamstring. Though McNown played at least one series in each of the first five games, he looked like the rookie he is in his first start.

    He threw two interceptions in the first half, with the first setting up a Philadelphia field goal. He was 9-of-18 for 67 yards in the first half, and also was sacked once.

    "He really came into a situation that's extremely tough," said Reid, whose plan to develop his own rookie quarterback, Donovan McNabb, was similar to Bears coach Dick Jauron's plan for McNown.

    "I thought he handled it very well," Reid added. "He kept his composure very well and he did some things he can build on."

    McNown looked sharper in the second half, finding Marcus Robinson for the 80-yard score on his second play of the third quarter. But he couldn't find the end zone again, getting sacked for a loss at the Eagles 31 and throwing an incompletion on fourth-and-3.

    "We know who he is and what he's going to be," Jauron said. "Overall, he played a good game. He made mistakes, but he wasn't alone."

    Notes

  • Former Bears defensive end Richard Dent officially retired before the game.
  • Pederson's 57-yard TD pass to Jells was the Eagles' longest pla from scrimmage this year.
  • Robinson set a career-high with 136 yards receiving.
  • The Eagles had two interceptions, increasing their season total to an NFL-high 13.

    ©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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