Live analysis as Jalen Hurts, Justin Fields match up

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CHICAGO — Jalen Hurts took it easy in the first half of the season, and the Eagles struggled.

They led 10-6 at halftime after Hurts threw 2 interceptions, his most in any game this season.

But Hurts’ 22-yard TD run with 43 seconds left in the first half, when he ran untouched on a QB draw, put the Eagles ahead.

However, he was just 8-for-16 in the first half for 139 yards and 2 INTs. Three of those completions went to Devonta Smith for 104 yards, including a 38-yard pass on that scoring drive.

Maybe it had something to do with the cold weather. The game time temperature was 18 degrees with a 16 mph wind, making it feel like 4 degrees.

The Eagles were able to take the lead mainly due to the strong defensive play of Hassan Reddick and Josh Sweat, who each had 2 of the Eagles’ 5 sacks. However, Reddick missed two more.

One of those fumbles forced a fumble that the Bears recovered after he sacked quarterback Justin Fields. On the next play, Redick almost tackled Fields, but Fields escaped, broke some tackles and gained 39 yards down to the Eagles 9.

David Montgomery ran the ball on the next play, but missed the extra point.

Reddick had 11 sacks on the season, Swett had 9.5 sacks, which tied a career high, and Javon Hargrave also had a sack. However, Fields had 81 yards throwing and 81 yards rushing in the first half. This brought him within 14 rushing yards of 1,000 for the season.

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Hurts, meanwhile, struggled except for Smith’s throws. He was intercepted by Kyle Gordon at the Bears 17 on the Eagles’ first drive. He attempted another INT on Kyuse Watkins near midfield to DeAndre Houston Carson, who returned the ball to the Eagles 25.

But Redick’s Zach Pearce fumbled the ball on 3rd-and-16 from the Eagles 20. That set up the Eagles’ final drive of the first half. This time, Hurts took advantage.

Miles Sanders came into the game fifth in the NFL with 1,068 yards. But he didn’t touch the ball until 6 minutes into the first half.

Sanders had 3 carries for 12 yards in the first half. Hurts led the Eagles with 7 carries for 40 yards.

Why did the Eagles keep Goedert on IR?

Two weeks ago, Dallas Goedert said he fully expected to start off the injured bench this Sunday, the first game he was eligible to play.

Although Godert returned to practice last week, the Eagles let Saturday’s deadline pass without activating Godert for their game against the Chicago Bears. It’s possible the Eagles gave Goedert an extra week to rebuild his shoulder strength so he’ll be ready for the Eagles’ showdown against the Dallas Cowboys next Saturday.

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There will be plenty of danger next week anyway. The Eagles already have a playoff spot. But if the Eagles beat the Bears on Sunday or the Cowboys lose to Jacksonville, the Eagles can clinch the NFC East and the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs with a win over the Cowboys next Saturday.

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Goedert doesn’t believe in that strategy.

“Although the Bears only have 3 wins, they have lost many close games,” he said. “They’re not a bad team, that’s for sure…I definitely want to play in Dallas.”

The game kicks off at 1 p.m. and will be televised on Fox with Joe Davis, Daryl Johnston and Pam Oliver providing coverage.

The Eagles played one of their ugliest first quarters of the season on Sunday, but at least they didn’t lose because the defense, featuring Justin Fields, did a good job.

The Eagles only had the ball 2 minutes, 10 seconds into the quarter. Jalen Hurts went 1-for-5 for 21 yards with an interception. Hurts rolled to his left and threw it to the side as Smith dove and caught it while keeping his feet inside.

But on the next play, Hurts rolled to his right and intercepted at the Pierce 17.

The Eagles sacked Fields twice in the first quarter. Josh Sweat’s first gave him 8.5 runs on the season, a career high. In all, the Eagles have 51 sacks on the season, most in the NFL.

The Eagles are without safety Reid Blankenship, who started the previous two games in place of Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, who is on injured reserve. Blankenship injured his knee last week against the Giants.

But Blankenship didn’t replace Blankenship on the Eagles’ roster because the practice squad didn’t get promoted to safety Anthony Harris, who was signed to the practice squad on Thursday. K’Von Wallace started in Blankenship’s place, but Avonte Maddox also played some safety.

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Other inactives for the Eagles are QB Ian Book, RB Trey Sermon, DE Janarius Robinson, G Josh Sills and G Sua Opeta.

The Bears, meanwhile, will be without two wide receivers in Chase Claypool and N’Kiel Harry. The Bears traded for Claypool before the deadline in October. He has 12 receptions in 5 games. Harry has 5 catches this season.

Contact Martin Frank at [email protected] Follow on Twitter @Mfranknfl.

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