Chicago, IL (Sports Network) – Jay Cutler matched a career-high with four touchdown passes to lead Chicago to a 31-26 victory over Philadelphia in a battle at Soldier Field.
Cutler connected on 14-of-21 throws for 247 yards as the Bears (8-3) put together their highest scoring game of the season to win for a fourth straight outing.
Matt Forte ran for 117 yards on 14 attempts while Earl Bennett made four catches for 56 yards and had his first career two-TD game for Chicago, which leads Green Bay by one game in the NFC North.
Michael Vick connected on 29-of-44 passes for 333 yards and two scores along with his first interception of the season, and ran nine times for another 44 yards for the Eagles (7-4), who had their three-game win streak halted.
LeSean McCoy carried 10 times for 53 yards and hauled in eight passes for 67 yards while Jason Avant made eight receptions for 83 yards for Philadelphia, which fell into a first place tie with the New York Giants in the NFC East.
David Akers kicked four field goals in defeat in his 183rd career game, which tied former safety Brian Dawkins for the franchise’s all-time record.
Trailing by 15, Philadelphia advanced to the Bears 10 before a screen pass to McCoy lost nine yards and had to settle for a 36-yard Akers field goal that cut the lead to 31-19 with 4:47 left in the game.
The Eagles forced a three-and-out and got the ball back at their own 32 with 4:18 to play. Vick completed six passes to McCoy and Avant before being faced with 4th-and-9 at the Bears 30. Vick then threaded a scoring pass between two defenders to Brent Celek to trim the lead to 31-26 with 1:48 to go.
Philadelphia had no timeouts left and was forced into an onside kick that was recovered by Johnny Knox to effectively end the game.
The Eagles got on the board first with a 45-yard field goal from Akers with just under nine minutes to play in the opening session.
Chicago responded with a quick four-play drive that culminated in Cutler’s 10- yard scoring strike to Bennett. A 61-yard run by Forte on two plays prior set up the touchdown.
Hester took a screen pass 39 yards to the Eagles 21 on the Bears next touch to set up Cutler’s 20-yard scoring toss to a wide open Knox with 2:25 to go in the period to make it 14-3 and finish off a four-play, 59-yard drive.
Philadelphia answered with a 10-play, 65-yard march that Vick finished off with an eight-yard scoring toss to Jeremy Maclin. It was Vick’s 12th scoring pass of the year without an interception, making him the first quarterback to accomplish that feat from the start of the season since Randall Cunningham did it with the Vikings in 1998.
The Eagles reached the Chicago three on their next possession before Vick was sacked by Julius Peppers and recovered his own fumble at the 18. Akers came on to boot a 36-yarder to draw the visitors to within 14-13 with 8:08 to play in the half.
A huge momentum swing took place in the final stages of the first half after Vick directed another drive that moved to the Bears four. However, a tipped pass was intercepted in the end zone by Chris Harris, who returned it to his own 37 on the first play after the two-minute warning. It ended a franchise record streak of 220 consecutive passes without a pick to start the season.
Chicago capitalized on the turnover, as Cutler found Bennett from six yards out to finish off a six-play, 63-yard drive in only 72 seconds to give the hosts a 21-13 advantage at the intermission.
Olsen made a leaping catch in the back of the end zone on Cutler’s pass from nine yards out just 84 seconds into the second half to give the Bears a 28-13 lead. Hester returned the opening kick 46 yards and took a short pass 34 yards to the Eagles 18 before a horse collar tackle penalty on rookie safety Nate Allen moved the ball halfway to the goal line.
Chicago then authored a season-long 17-play drive that chewed up 10:05 and culminated in Robbie Gould’s 23-yard field goal that pushed the advantage to 31-13 with 1:26 left in the period.
Philadelphia’s next drive stalled at the Bears four before Akers booted a 22- yarder to chip away at the lead with 11:51 left in the contest.
Cutler had thrown four TD passes in four other games, most recently in the last two games of the 2009 season against Minnesota and Detroit…Hester made three catches for 86 yards while Knox caught three balls for 68 yards…Forte became the first back to run for more than 100 yards against the Eagles this season…Long snapper Patrick Mannelly became the first player ever to play in 200 games as a member of the Bears….Vick had his second 300-yard passing game of the season and fourth of his career…Maclin made four catches for 47 yards and Celek added three grabs for 50 yards…Trent Cole moved into third place in Eagles history with his first quarter sack of Cutler…He had two QB drops to bring his career total to 56…Cole trails only Reggie White (124) and Clyde Simmons (76.5) in Philadelphia history.