The Associated PressCHICAGO (AP) — The Philadelphia Eagles needed help to get into the playoffs, and Chicago provided it.
Look how the defending Super Bowl champions repaid the Bears.
Nick Foles hit Golden Tate with a 2-yard touchdown pass on fourth down with 56 seconds remaining against the NFL’s stingiest defense, lifting the Philadelphia Eagles past the Chicago Bears 16-15 on Sunday in the final wild-card game.
Former Eagles kicker Cody Parkey hit the left upright and then the crossbar with a field-goal attempt from 43 yards with 10 seconds remaining, silencing the raucous crowd.
The key, of course, was how the Eagles, even when they are messing up, never give up. On Parkey’s kick, several Eagles said defensive tackle Treyvon Hester touched it.
“I think the big thing is, we saw some adversity tonight in the first half [and] I had a couple of turnovers,” Foles said. “I think the big thing is that no one loses faith, no one stops believing, everyone just keeps talking, keeps believing in one another, and we just rallied. Our defense really kept us in this game.”
The defending league champion Eagles (10-7) squeezed into the playoffs by beating Washington and having the Bears (12-5) help them by knocking off Minnesota in the season finale.
Philadelphia thanked its benefactor with a 12-play, 60-yard drive on which Foles, the Super Bowl MVP last February, hit six passes. Tate made a reaching grab in the right side of the end zone near the goal line.
“We found a way,” Tate said. “That’s playoff football right there for you. That’s why we play this game for times like now once you get to January and February.”
Philly plays at New Orleans (13-3) next Sunday. Chicago’s sensational turnaround season from last place to the NFC North title is over.
“We wanted to write our story and start it off,” Bears second-year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky said. “But it does not always go the way you want it to, and that’s life, that’s football.”
No team has repeated as Super Bowl champion since New England in 2004, and the Eagles are a sixth seed. The last sixth seed to win the NFL title was Green Bay in the 2010 season; the Packers won the NFC championship at Soldier Field that season.
These Eagles, led by Foles once again replacing an injured Carson Wentz, and a defense down to backups at several positions, seem to have that magical touch like last season.
It was a sizzling ending to a game marked by superior defense and several critical mistakes by the Eagles. They had to survive after Tarik Cohen, an All-Pro punt returner, took back the kickoff following Philly’s go-ahead score 35 yards. Mitchell Trubisky completed two passes to get the Bears close enough for Parkey. But his kick took a double deflection and fell harmlessly into the end zone.
He was 11 of 12 in the fourth-quarter on field goals before missing the biggest kick of his career.
Chargers hold off Ravens
BALTIMORE (AP) — The Los Angeles Chargers kept Lamar Jackson grounded, and by the time the rookie got the passing game going, it was too late for the Baltimore Ravens.
Michael Badgley kicked five field goals, and Los Angeles harassed and hounded Jackson during a 23-17 victory Sunday in the opening round of the NFL playoffs.
The Chargers (13-4) will next face the second-seeded New England Patriots (11-5) on the road Sunday. The Chargers last won two games during a single postseason in 2007, when the franchise was in San Diego.
Philip Rivers went 22 for 32 for 160 yards for Los Angeles, providing just enough offense to help the Chargers get even for a 22-10 loss to Baltimore (10-7) just two weeks ago.
Badgley set a franchise record for field goals in a playoff game, connecting from 21, 53, 40, 34 and 47 yards.