Two early moments at Soldier Field set the tempo Sunday for what developed into the Chicago Bears' best game of the season.
On the third play of the game, Bears defensive end Israel Idonije looped inside on a pass-rush stunt and combined with defensive tackle Henry Melton for a sack of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick. Idonije, who had also made the tackle on the Eagles' first two plays, got into the pocket so fast that Vick didn't see him until contact.
I realize the Eagles went on to take a 3-0 lead on their second possession, but I thought the first-series sack of Vick -- one of four the Bears had in the game -- was symbolic and important. Most defenses live in fear of Vick's mobility, but the Bears demonstrated early that they weren't going to let him pick them apart from the pocket.
The second decisive moment came on the second play of, yes, the Bears' second possession. Tailback Matt Forte patiently waited for left tackle Frank Omiyale and tight end Greg Olsen to complete their downblocks and then accelerated through the resulting hole for a 61-yard gain. The play set up the Bears' first score, but more important, it established their offense as a multi-pronged threat.
It's no accident that, two plays later, Eagles middle linebacker Stewart Bradley bit on a play-action fake, opening up the middle of the field for Earl Bennett's 10-yard touchdown reception. Overall, three of quarterback Jay Cutler's four touchdown passes came on play-action passes.
Both plays happened before the midway mark of the first quarter, but for me they were decisive moments in the Bears' 31-26 victory.