The players always talk about the always elusive chase for perfection. But the Bears would be hard-pressed to play a better quarter than they did right after halftime today.
The Bears took control in the third quarter, opening it with a 46-yard kickoff return by Devin Hester. Keep in mind they closed out the second by intercepting a pass and scoring a touchdown heading into the break.
But the Bears kept it going in the third with brilliant all-around play.
After Hester's big return, the Bears needed just three plays to move the other 54 yards. Jay Cutler bought some time, scrambling toward the right sideline, and waiting for Eagles linebacker Ernie Sims to commit. Then, he flipped the ball to Hester, who gained 34 yards and drew a penalty that gave them an extra 15 yards. On the next play, Greg Olsen caught a nine-yard touchdown.
Then, the Bears defense forced a three-and-out, and the offense put together a 17-play, 83-yard drive that ate up 10:05 on the clock.
"I think that was kind of a signature moment in the game for us [on offense], to grind out the clock and, get the running game going, pick up some tough first downs on third down," Cutler said. "It was huge."
The Bears only mustered a field goal, but they led 31-13 at the time.
When the quarter was over, the Bears had controlled all but 3:24 of the clock in the quarter, they converted three-of-four third downs and registered nine first downs. The Eagles, meanwhile, had only one first down, on the second to last play of the quarter.