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Bears vs Cowboys: Notes, Scribbles, and Things Jotted Down

The Bears beat the Cowboys last night, and we're breaking down how they did it with our notes and other minutiae.

David Banks

  • Matt Forte, Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall have created the first Bears' trio with two thousand-yard receivers and a thousand-yard rusher since 1995. If that indicates anything about the direction Marc Trestman and Phil Emery are trying to take this team.
  • The Cowboys' first drive went straight to DeMarco Murray, as he got six carries for 52 yards on the first drive to go with a reception for six yards.
  • Of course, the Bears continue to lead the league in runs allowed of over ten yards. Khaseem Greene and Jon Bostic continued to get washed out of plays by overpursuing their gaps. Right now, they just aren't ready to play.
  • Any time Tony Romo drops back to throw, it feels like the Bears got a gift of a free down. When the Cowboys abandoned the run game down by 13, they lost their offensive threat. Expect teams in the future to not let off the run game gas, no matter what. There's a reason this team's given up six straight 100-yard individual rushers. And funny how as soon as they start running the ball again for mercy, they score another touchdown. Dallas ran for 7.1 per carry. Why are you passing at all?
  • The Bears' first touchdown drive included catches by four receivers, including the touchdown strike in the short red zone to Earl Bennett, and attempts to a fifth, Matt Forte.
  • In a related note, it's really a joy to watch Jeffery and Marshall work, especially when it comes to finding first down lines and attacking them with reckless abandon. With the Cowboys playing off, the bigger targets of the Bears just cleaned up.
  • Sean Lee wishes he was still inactive for that block Brandon Marshall laid on him to spring Josh McCown for a first down, as well as the dive by McCown.
  • We had a Dante Rosario appearance that didn't result in bad things. Pardon me while I faint.
  • As good as the playcalling was on the first two touchdown drives, I'm not sure what the third down call was on the subsequent field goal drive. The checkdown might have been the right play normally, but I question going to that checkdown/screen pass at third and goal from the 15.
  • Shea McClellin's been used in a lot of versatile ways; he's dropped into coverage and rushed frequently from a two-point stance as opposed to as a down lineman. And to a degree, he's looked fairly effective. Julius Peppers looked pretty good rushing from the interior, himself.
  • But Jeremiah Ratliff was really good up the middle. The guy's clearly got some ability, and being able to pick him up mid-season and plug him in has provided a boost when he's been in.
  • On Jeffery's touchdown to end the second quarter: McCown may well have been trying to throw that thing away and Jeffery just doesn't care. Seriously. As Les tweeted last night, Jeffery may be making a hell of a case for All-Pro.
  • Josh McCown's first really bad decision didn't come until the third quarter, when he threw a ball into double coverage in front of Brandon Marshall that was bobbled and nearly intercepted. Aside from that, this was easily the best game of McCown's career. Four touchdowns, plus one rushing touchdown. Raise your hand if you started McCown in fantasy this week. Of course you didn't. Liar.
  • McCown had a 141.9 quarterback rating on the night. Helped by Jeffery, sure - but McCown had a hell of a game.
  • Seventeen different defensive linemen for the Cowboys? Yeesh, and we thought the Bears had problems.
  • The broadcast team started asking why the Bears were up 13 and continuing to pass in the game. The very next play, Forte runs outside and doesn't gain a yard. Asked and answered, perhaps. Of course, the Bears stick with it, Tony Fiametta moves inside, Forte springs eventually for a decent gain and a first down. Michael Bush even picked up eight yards on the next play. Prior to that point, the run game hadn't done much in comparison to the passing game, and the Bears were intent on moving the ball. The long touchdown drive in the third quarter to push the lead to 21 included some beautiful play design and playcalling, as well as an inability to tackle/play legal defense by the Cowboys.
  • Forte looks really good running in space. Forte also looks really good running behind Tony Fiametta when Fiametta slams a hole open.
  • Through eight possessions, the Bears didn't have to unleash Adam Podlesh. No punts all game.
  • 4th and 9 with 30 seconds left in the third was the Cowboys' first fourth down attempt all year. Such an attempt was only rewarded by bad protection against James Anderson and Romo had to nearly spike the ball to avoid giving up yardage. Mel Tucker found a way to dial up some decent blitzes as the game went on, and the Bears got some good pressure on Tony Romo throughout.
  • Michael Bush got a receiving touchdown on a perfectly blocked screen pass, including Jordan Mills getting out in front and making a key block. And let's just highlight that Michael Bush scored on a reception.
  • Has Major Wright figured out how to play safety this season, or do we need to find a way to find the guy from last year that dressed up as Major Wright?
  • The offensive line had what I thought was a great game. Jordan Mills looked really good off the line of scrimmage and blocking in space, and by and large Josh McCown had a pocket, though he did have to move around a lot. McCown can get away with it, though.
  • It was clear that by four minutes left in the game, the broadcast booth had no idea what to spend the rest of the game talking about. And no, the solution isn't to bring up Jay Cutler and the thoughts of getting rid of him to keep a 35-year-old journeyman backup having a fantastic season while bringing up a rookie next season. I do expect the Bears to bring in a rookie; I don't expect them to toss out Jay Cutler, though.
  • KYLE ORTON SIGHTING. And Gruden Grudened all over himself glorifying Orton as an amazing quarterback. No, he does not just come in and make offenses move.
  • Chris Conte missed an interception. And the usual assortment of bad angles.
  • The Bears were 8-11 on third down. They did a great job of extending drives and keeping the offense on the field, as well as maintaining the offensive tempo throughout the game.
  • The Bears also did a nice job staying disciplined after the penalty-filled escapades of the last few weeks, committing only two penalties.

So after that, the Bears have moved back into a record tie with the Lions, with the Lions holding just the tiebreaker edge on them. It's a far cry from where this was even just last week. Think the Bears can make it into the playoffs? It's certainly a lot more probable. Last night could be a season-saving win.