Chicago Bears freeze Dallas Cowboys in their tracks

By
Updated: December 11, 2013

Quarterback Josh McCown scrambled for a touchdown as the Chicago Bears wholloped the Dallas Cowboys at Soldier Field on Monday Night Football.

Well, that was fun.

After back-to-back frustrating road losses to the St. Louis Rams and Minnesota Vikings, the Chicago Bears returned home to the friendly confines of Soldier Field and unleashed their frustrations on the Dallas Cowboys.

Forty-five points, 490 yards, and zero punts later, the Chicago Bears had done Mike Ditka proud on a frigid Windy City night and moved into a tie with the Detroit Lions for the NFC North lead. They still have some work to do, though, as they remain behind Detroit due to losing the head-to-head tiebreaker.

Quarterback controversy brewing?

Backup quarterback Josh McCown continued his stellar play in relief of the injured Jay Cutler, having his best game yet as he threw for four touchdowns and ran for another while not turning the ball over.

Many people in Chicago and around the country are calling for him to continue to start, even though Cutler is expected to be back and playing against Cleveland this week.

Although McCown has been playing very well and outperforming Cutler statistically, it is still important that Cutler be able to play these last three games if he is healthy enough to do so. His contract expires at the end of the season, so it is important to see him play in this offense in order to see how well he can execute it.

McCown is 34 and is not going to be the long-term starter, while Cutler is 30 and could be the franchise’s signal caller for the next half decade or more.

If quarterback Jay Cutler is healthy, he is starting for the Chicago Bears.

If quarterback Jay Cutler is healthy, he is starting for the Chicago Bears.

Cutler has already played the entirety of six games this year and large parts of two more, but it has been over a month since he last saw the field.

But with Marc Trestman implementing a new offensive system this year, it was expected that they would continue to get better as the season progressed. Therefore, the offense should now be more effective than it was the last time Cutler was at the helm. It is important for general manager Phil Emery to see Cutler in control of it these last three weeks of the season before making a franchise-defining decision on him this offseason.

Offense finishes drives

One problem with the offense lately had been their inability to finish drives; they were unable to score any touchdowns on two trips inside their opponents’ 25-yard line last week in a game they would ultimately lose in overtime.

The results were better in this game, as Chicago scored five touchdowns (four from inside the red zone) on eight scoring drives. These touchdowns helped put the game out of reach early and forced the Cowboys to abandon the run, which the defense were unable to stop.

Spreading it out

Another positive for the offense was the contributions of rather unheralded skill players.

Chicago’s offensive breakout this year has come largely on the backs of running back Matt Forte, wide receivers Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall, and tight end Martellus Bennett. This quartet rarely leaves the field and has accounted for virtually all of the yardage production from Chicago’s skill position players.

Against Dallas, Earl Bennett (two catches, 18 yards, one touchdown), Dante Rosario (one catch, 13 yards), and Michael Bush (eight rushes, 38 yards; one catch, 17 yards, one touchdown) all recorded stats as well.

None of these contributions were huge, but having other players on the field who can prove capable of at least making a basic play or two per game gives the defense something else to worry about and helps make the offense more versatile and dynamic.

Alshon has arrived

Second-year wide receiver Alshon Jeffery followed up his monster outing last week by grabbing five catches for 86 yards and a spectacular touchdown catch.

After a quiet start to the season, Jeffery continues to produce week in and week out. At this point a solid game from Jeffery has become the expectation rather than a surprise, solidifying his standing as a top young receiver in the NFL.

An added bonus of Jeffery’s strong production is that his play is helping open things up for fellow wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who had a highly efficient six catches for 100 yards on eight targets. Jeffery and Marshall have both topped 1,000 receiving yards on the season, and having both of them playing at a high level presents a daunting challenge for opposing defenses.

The only thing that stopped Dallas running back DeMarco Murray against the Chicago Bears was when his coaches stopped giving him the ball.

The only thing that stopped Dallas running back DeMarco Murray against the Chicago Bears was when his coaches stopped giving him the ball.

Defensive woes continue

On the bright side, the score was 42-14 early in the fourth quarter, meaning that half of Dallas’ 28 points came after the game was out of reach. Dallas only gained 328 yards of offense, not terrible considering they were playing catch-up the whole second half.

But anybody who watched the game cannot feel good about this Bears defense.

They once again proved incapable of stopping the run: Dallas ran the ball 28 times for 198 yards and a gaudy 7.1 yards per carry. Why Dallas only ran it 28 times is beyond me — Chicago never proved even remotely capable of slowing running back DeMarco Murray — but I am certainly not going to complain.

With running backs LeSean McCoy (Philadelphia Eagles) and Eddie Lacy (Green Bay Packers) still on the docket the final three weeks, Chicago must figure out a way to improve their run defense if they want to make a push for a playoff spot, much less do anything in the playoffs should they get there.

Basically, they need to hope that getting linebacker Lance Briggs back will help tremendously.

On the surface, it seems foolish to expect one player to have such a seismic impact against the run, but it is not out of the realm of possibility.

Briggs’ presence should help the entire linebacking corps as rookie Jonathan Bostic and veteran James Anderson both played notably better when Briggs was on the field. Briggs was responsible for calling the plays, a task that has fallen to Anderson, who has not seemed up for the challenge — understandable, given that this is his first year in Chicago’s Cover-2 defense.

Handing those responsibilities back to Briggs should free Anderson to focus on getting himself in the right position to make plays.

Likewise, Briggs helps rookie Jon Bostic by getting him in the right position before the snap and giving him a better feel for what to expect from the opposing offense, which can help him prevent the overruns that have become too frequent for Bostic lately.

Replacing rookie Khaseem Greene, who has also been prone to overrunning plays, with a smart veteran should also help Bostic as he stays one gap behind Briggs.

These projected are pretty much the only realistic way that Chicago’s defense gets notably better in the last three weeks of the season.

Overview

This was an impressive and much-needed win for the Chicago Bears, but don’t let the gaudy offensive output skew the serious defensive issues that remain.

The pass defense is passable but nothing special without injured cornerback Charles Tillman, and the run defense is the worst in the NFL. Until those things change, this remains a team that cannot realistically expect to be in the playoffs.

With that said, Chicago remains very much in the playoff hunt. If they win their three remaining games, all they need is one loss from the Detroit Lions and they will be the NFC North champions and hosting a playoff game Wild Card weekend. That tall task begins this week when they travel to Cleveland to take on the Browns.

If nothing else, it’s nice to see a Week 15 game still be meaningful for a team that has struggled with so many injuries this year.

About the author(s)

Johnathan Wood is a passionate fan of the Chicago Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks, Cubs, and Northwestern Wildcats. He enjoys being the beat writer for the Bears at Water Cooler Sports and being obnoxiously unapologetic about how his favorite teams are more awesome than yours. Feel free to email him at if you have any comments or suggestions. Connect with .

675 comments
Staffords_Glove
Staffords_Glove

But on a serious note, It really comes down to what you let offend you. My wife and I are an interracial couple, if I let petty idiocy upset me; id be constantly cranky. It just isnt worth it

NightStalkerThief
NightStalkerThief

Not trying to start a whole argument over Christ and his legitimacy or the bible but I will say this. Alot of people are confused about the bible and completely don't understand it yet try to use typical phrases pulled from it to make Christianity look bad or make Christians look like hypocrites (there are alot that are, i'll give you that), but don't comment on something when you obviously don't know anything about the bible, it's teachings or what it even says. This is for those people that obviously haven't read the bible as is demonstrated by some of the comments on here. 

50CaliberFalconoles
50CaliberFalconoles

dont ever judge a religion base off of a few idiots take on it. Especially the few idiots the Media allows to represent it

andylet445
andylet445

i feel like as a species we have to oppress a group in order to be functional and happy.  if it isn't women, its blacks, if its not blacks its homosexuals.  you think we would learn our lessons over the years but continue to be ignorant to what has happened in history.  

Staffords_Glove
Staffords_Glove

McCarthy on Cobb: "Randall's doing more in his rehab. He's progressing. Looks good. He's starting to bounce around. Looks good."

8P
8P moderator

rdd
rdd

It does amuse me when people look for justification or condemnation of homosexual behavior in ancient documents like the Bible. The concepts of homosexuality or heterosexuality simply didn't exist back then. The Greeks didn't even have a word that can be translated "homosexual." Hell, the term translated "sodomite" or "homosexual offender" in the writings of Paul is a term that he apparently coined and is found nowhere else in Greek literature. We're not entirely sure what it means. The word "homosexual" didn't appear until the 19th century, and it was developed by German psychologists to describe what they perceived to be a mental illness.

Super Saints Sanya
Super Saints Sanya

i think its awesome that my maternity leave will be up by the time the super bowl is over, that way work can keep me busy until the draft and so forth

Tearloch
Tearloch

Which bible have you read?  Since each version seems to make small changes over time.

thenichels
thenichels

I judge religion based on the religion.  I judge people individually.

Tearloch
Tearloch

Does that include former Popes?

robertj72
robertj72

I hate those guys. Burn them!

Tearloch
Tearloch

He will be ready for training camp.

8P
8P moderator

You think we are here to talk football?

niemerg1
niemerg1

that blue background makes it look so nice outside though

Kuato Face
Kuato Face moderator

The way I see it is that it seems to be common behavior among many animals around the world. The purpose of said behavior is not crystal clear in these species but it may be related to keeping peaceful order within the community. To keep randy animals in line when it is not mating season.Obviously conscious thought adds a twist to human's interaction that lesser animals may not ever go through. Either way, labeling it a sin seems extremely misguided. especially for something that seems to be a natural instinct for many creatures. We are animals after all.

thenichels
thenichels

What amuses me is the hypocritical nature of those types of people.  That tattooed preacher I was talking about was quoting from Leviticus about the evils of homosexuality seemed to totally disregard the same book when it came to tattoos.

andylet445
andylet445

The entire Christian religion is based on the Teachings of one man who never even breached the topic.  the jewish religion should be more up in arms about homosexuality than anyone.  

Tearloch
Tearloch

Sure we are.  Jerry Falwell told us what he meant.

I love how many people fail to recognize the number of times what most consider as "the word of God" has been translated and morphed over the last few thousand years.

8P
8P moderator

But we do know that many people find gay sex ishy, and want to legitimize how they feel about it.

andylet445
andylet445

what are you going to do for three of those weeks?

50CaliberFalconoles
50CaliberFalconoles

I dont know what the fuck I am saying I was just trying to sound smart

robertj72
robertj72

Note this was said prior to the "and blacks".

8P
8P moderator

Umm.  Hmm.  I think you should maybe have a seat.

Tearloch
Tearloch

"Until we check out his hamstring" - Packers training staff

rdd
rdd

Homosexual behavior is hardly mentioned at all in the Hebrew writings either. The punishments for same-sex behavior were probably for consorting with male temple prostitutes. Consorting with temple prostitutes was forbidden to all Israelites because they were prohibited from worshiping foreign gods. Even the men with same-sex leanings would still have gotten married because without children, their line would have ended, and that was the worst imaginable fate for a person in the Mesopotamian culture of that time.

robertj72
robertj72

So I guess my Amos and Andy Christmas article is a no go now?!

8P
8P moderator

But wait, I was joking about how you were joking and how it didn't make sense like that one Chappelle skit omg now everyone knows because we Ben'd ourselves.

andylet445
andylet445

i knew i hated you.  i mean how about that weather.. (please don't steal my wallet)

rdd
rdd

That is obviously an oversimplification, more of an American GI way of looking at what happens, but yeah, there is some of that. It would be silly to assume they don't have sex with women for fun, though.

8P
8P moderator

Men are for fun, women are for babies - lot's of middle eastern dudes.

rdd
rdd

Anyone who has spent time in Near East societies knows that plenty of same-sex activity goes on, including among married men, but they don't look at it as an "orientation" in the way Westerners do. Trying to phrase Western concepts in Near East frameworks is really counterproductive, in my opinion.

8P
8P moderator

Ya heard.