CHICAGO -- Thick fog stopped the Philadelphia Eagles' passing game where the Chicago Bears could not.
The Bears advanced Sunday to the NFC championship game with a fog-shrouded 20-12 victory over the Eagles, breaking a two-year playoff drought. Chicago had not won a playoff game since Super Bowl XX, losing in the divisional playoffs in each of the past two years.
Chicago had taken a 17-6 lead late in the second quarter when, as if on cue, the fog came rolling in.
The conditions reduced visibility to zero from most of the seats, but the referees allowed play to continue.
'If they would have suspended the game, we would have played it again,' Bears Coach Mike Ditka said. 'As it ended, the game's over, we won it and now we're going to proceed further and play either the Vikings or 49ers.
'I'm very proud of our football team. We know we've got a lot of work to do, but we set some goals earlier in the year and, God willing, we can make it happen.'
Eagles quarterback Randall Cunningham threw for 253 yards in the first half and finished the game completing 27 of 54 passes for 407 yards with three interceptions.
The Eagles managed only four Luis Zendejas' field goals, three in the first half.
Philadelphia also squandered several scoring opportunities. Two touchdowns were called back by penalties and a third certain TD pass was dropped. The Eagles also were stopped on a late-fourth quarter drive deep in Bears territory, when Maurice Douglass picked off Cunningham and raced to Philadelphia's 36.
Philadelphia Coach Buddy Ryan, Ditka's former defensive coordinator with the Bears, said the weather conditions were not to blame.
'The fog was on both sides,' Ryan said. 'We thought we could win. I thought it, the players thought it. But we had so many misssed opportunities, and they just kept piling up.'
But Cunningham said the Eagles were forced to change their entire game plan in the second half.
'I couldn't see 15 yards past the line of scrimmage,' he said. 'We had to go to short passes. The Bears knew that, and they jumped all over it.'
Philadelphia, the NFC East champion, was making its first playoff appearance since 1981. The Eagles are 0-12 against the Bears in Chicago.
Mike Tomczak completed 10 of 20 passes for 172 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions before leaving the game with a bruised left shoulder late in the third quarter. It was the same shoulder he separated last month.
Jim McMahon replaced Tomczak, driving the Bears 70 yards in his first action since October. The drive ended with a 27-yard field goal by Kevin Butler 2:26 into the final quarter, giving the Bears a 20-12 lead.
The Bears led 17-9 at halftime, but Zendejas hit a 35-yard field goal with 2:09 left in the third quarter that pulled Philadelphia within 17-12.
Zendejas made the score 17-9 with 32 seconds left in the first half, hitting a 30-yard field goal in the heavy fog. Cunningham hit Anthony Toney three plays earlier to bring the ball to the Chicago 1, but an offensive pass interference call on tight end Keith Jackson nullified the play.
Butler had given the Bears a 17-6 lead with 2:03 left in the half with a 46-yard field goal, his longest of the season. The field goal capped a five-play, 66-yard drive, ignited by a 58-yard run by Thomas Sanders.
Neal Anderson put the Bears ahead 14-6 with 6:21 remaining in the half on a 4-yard run up the middle. Tomczak set up the score on the previous play with a 27-yard pass to Ron Morris down the right sideline.
The Bears needed only three plays on their second possession of the game to go on top 7-0.
Tomczak hit a wide-open Dennis McKinnon down the right sideline for a 64-yard scoring strike 3:02 into the first quarter. Eagles strong safety Andre Waters slipped on the play, leaving McKinnon alone.
The Eagles drove deep into Chicago territory on their next possession, but Zendejas missed a 43-yard field goal with 9:37 left in the first quarter.
Zendejas, however, pulled the Eagles within 7-3 with a 42-yard field goal 7:56 into the first quarter after Seth Joyner intercepted a Tomczak pass at the Bears 38-yard line and returned it eight yards.
Cunningham threw apparent back-to-back touchdown passes prior to the field goal, but both were called back by penalties. On the second pass, the ball was tipped by two Bear defenders and a Philadelphia receiver before Mike Quick made a diving catch in the end zone.
'It was an ugly win,' Bears middle linebacker Mike Singletary said. 'When you win ugly, it says something.'
Butler missed a 51-yard field goal attempt on Chicago's next possession, and the Eagles drove to the Bears 4 before Cunningham was stopped on fourth-and-1 on a sneak up the middle. The Bears turned the ball over two plays later when tight end Cap Boso took a pass from Tomczak and fumbled at Chicago's 14.
Zendejas pulled the Eagles within 7-6 with a 29-yard field goal 5:43 into the second quarter. On the previous play, Cunningham hit a wide-open Jackson in the middle of the end zone, but Jackson dropped the ball.