PHILADELPHIA—Sit back and get comfortable.
The Bears appear determined to take their fans on an emotional National Football Conference Central Division title drive-an excursion that appeared improbable just two weeks ago.
Philadelphia Eagles (4-1) thrust the Bears (3-2) into a three-way tie for the division lead with the Minnesota Vikings and idle Detroit Lions.
Winners of three straight, the Bears ended the 11-game home winning streak of the injury-depleted Eagles at Veterans Stadium. The Bears may have lost the services of starting wide receiver Wendell Davis for the year. Davis tore tendons in both knees while leaping to try to catch a pass in the second period.
Seven quarterback sacks by a pawing Bears defense that forced four turnovers helped give Chicago its first road victory since Oct. 25, 1992, at Green Bay.
The Bears have a bye next Sunday, but some players are talking about their next game on Monday night, Oct. 25, against the Vikings and Jim McMahon.
"I haven't thought on it much," said coach Dave Wannstedt. "Now all of a sudden our next game is a division game and now the ante goes up a little bit. It makes it real exciting. I know it's exciting for our players and for our coaches and for our organization. Hopefully, the city of Chicago will get excited about it and get out there and support us."
Minnesota edged the Bears 10-7 on Sept. 12 at the Metrodome when McMahon passed to Cris Carter for a fourth-quarter touchdown.
"I'm trying to be optimistic and keep on trucking along," said linebacker Ron Cox. "But with Minnesota, we have something personal. Last time it was shame on us, we gave that to them. McMahon was out there high-fiving."
Richard Dent led the defensive charge against the Eagles, registering two sacks, intercepting a pass and tipping two other passes.
"Dent was a professor out there today," said Cox. "You saw how he was schooling that tackle (Broderick Thompson)."
Steve McMichael also intercepted Eagles quarterback Bubby Brister (18 of 33 for 209 yards, two interceptions), who is starting for the injured Randall Cunningham.
Defensive end Trace Armstrong and linebackers Dante Jones and Cox also had sacks. For the second straight week, Cox's sack forced a fumble.
"It feels good to win," said Cox. "We went and almost shut out a team that was 4-0. That tells us we're getting a little better."
Cox also registered a sack Sept. 26 against Tampa Bay, forcing quarterback Craig Erickson to fumble.
"I think the one against Tampa Bay was better, because I hit him like somebody stole something," said Cox. "It feels good to be able to blitz from the outside. I haven't done that since I was in college. It feels good, it feels real good.
"I have had two hard quarterback sacks back to back and I am looking for another one now. Now it will be McMahon, and I'm going to hang (him) out to dry."
The Bears ran up a 17-0 halftime lead and would have wound up with back-to-back shutouts if Brister had not connected with Calvin Williams on a 7-yard pass with :23 remaining. The score was set up by a 58-yard pass to Victor Bailey.
"I never thought I would be a little bit disappointed about a win," said Wannstedt. "That's how crazy it is. But we wanted to get a shutout. But this was a great win for the team. In the first half, the defense caused turnovers and the offense took advantage of it and made plays.
"I want our players to be proud and happy that we're 3-2 and we won on the road. And I hope they don't overreact to my wanting the shutout."
The Bears took advantage of the first of two first-quarter turnovers by the Eagles with a 37-yard field goal by Kevin Butler.
Brister's pass was intercepted by Dent and returned 23 yards to the Eagles 30.
"That didn't just happen," said Wannstedt. "They had run a certain play out of a certain formation. Give Richard some credit. He knocked down two of those in practice during the week. That was a smart play by him. He knew exactly what was coming."
The Bears drove to the Philadelphia 13 before the drive went backward. They had to settle for Butler's three-pointer with 5:02 to go in the period.
The Eagles turned the ball over again less than 5 minutes later when Brister was stripped of the ball by Armstrong. Jones recovered at the Philadelphia 28.
A second-down fumble by Neal Anderson was recovered by Jim Harbaugh for a 10-yard loss. But Harbaugh connected on a 32-yard touchdown pass with rookie wide receiver Curtis Conway, who outmaneuvered cornerback Ben Smith. Butler's extra point put the Bears on top 10-0 with 2:35 left in the first period.
"I think that might have been the key play of the game," said Harbaugh, who completed 14 of 27 passes for 165 yards and one touchdown plus one interception. "Curtis made the play. From an offensive standpoint, that was the play of the game. The defense made a lot of big plays."
Conway made three catches on the day for 42 yards, but the third-down TD grab was the biggest.
"To make a play like that and score was very positive, not just for him, but for the offense," said Wannstedt. "From a coaching standpoint, it gives me a little more confidence that if we throw him the football, he has a chance to make a play."