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Bears bounce back after slow start to dismantle Dallas

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Lester gives his thoughts on the game, plus he shares the complete playing time breakdown, and spotlights a few individual and team statistics from the Chicago Bears in their 31-24 smackdown of the Dallas Cowboys.

NFL: DEC 05 Cowboys at Bears Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

I’ll admit, with the way that game started I thought the Dallas Cowboys were going to pummel the Chicago Bears into submission behind their punishing offensive line. The Cowboys methodically marched down the field with a 17 play, 75 yard drive that ended with an Ezekiel Elliott 2-yard touchdown run. On that play the Bears lost Roquan Smith, who has been playing fantastic football the last several weeks, to a pec injury, so I just expected the Bears defense to struggle even more.

The Bears answered nicely with a solid drive of their own, but another red-zone interception by Mitchel Trubisky had me in a ‘here we go again’ type of mood.

But then the Bears bounced back on defense by getting a three and out.

And then the Bears offense bounced back with a 6 play, 51 yard touchdown drive to even the score.

Chicago went on to dominate the rest of the game before a couple late TDs made the score seem closer than it was.

While the overall yardage totals show an edge for Dallas, 408 to 382, through the first three quarters the Cowboys only had 184 yards on offense. Cowboy QB Dak Prescott was only 10 of 22 passing for 110 yards and 2 sacks through the first three quarters.

With Chicago’s offense putting up points it allowed their defense to play more aggressively, and even if it didn’t lead to any turnovers, that aggressive play affected Dallas’ offense. The Cowboys won the turnover battle 2 to 0.

But the Bears had the time of possession edge (32:18 to 27:42), they had fewer penalties (4 for 30 yards to 6 for 52), and they did better on third down conversions (58% to 40%), although the Cowboys did go 2 for 3 on 4th down tries.

Let’s take a closer look at the playing time break downs for the Bears and also some individual stats.

OFFENSE

The Bears did a lot right on offense last night, and that started with the stellar play from the quarterback. Trubisky had that one silly interception on a great toe tap catch by Jourdan Lewis, but he didn’t let that phase him as he ended up making history.

Trubisky was 23 of 31 for 244 yards and a passer rating of 115.5. He added 63 rushing yards on 10 attempts in what was his biggest game on the ground this year.

A surprising beneficiary of Trubisky’s passing was the tight ends. J.P. Holtz led the Bears with a career high 56 yards on 3 catches and Jesper Horsted had a career day with 4 receptions for 36 yards (and 2 penalties). The two tight ends each played about half the snaps.

Wide out Riley Ridley caught the first ball of his NFL career and it went for 5 yards. With the Bears wanting to play a lot of 3 wide receiver sets, he saw the most playing time of his rookie season while stepping in for the injured Javon Wims.

Allen Robinson had 5 catches, 48 yards, and 2 TDs, and Anthony Miller caught Mitch’s other TD among his 3 receptions for 42 yards.

Tarik Cohen led the team with 6 grabs for 24 yards, he added 3 runs for 7 yards, a kick return for 7, and he returned 4 punts for 33 yards (2 of which he bobbled for fumbles).

David Montgomery ran 20 times for 86 yards, but he did have a lost fumble.

Cordarrelle Patterson, the November special teams player of the month, had 1 run that wasn’t blocked well go for -5 yards, he had 44 yards on 2 kick returns, and he did this with his only catch.

The offensive line continued their solid play by paving the way for a 4.4 rushing average, and by only allowing 3 QB hits on Trubisky. They also weren’t flagged at all.

DEFENSE

At inside linebacker, Nick Kwiatkoski led the Bears with 10 tackles and Kevin Pierre-Louis had 5 (plus another on special teams), 1 tackle for loss, a QBH, and 2 passed defended. KLP played really good in place of Roquan and he debuted his new finisher.

Speaking of Bilal Nichols, he had 3 tackles and a pass defended.

Corners Kyle Fuller (2 PD) and Kevin Toliver II (1 PD) had 7 tackles each, and nickel Buster Skrine had 3 tackles. Deon Bush came in as a third safety for 11 snaps and he had 3 tackles and a PD.

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix had 6 tackles and Eddie Jackson had 1 plus an “in the neighborhood” sack, and he also did this.

Khalil Mack had the Bears other sack to go along with 2 tackles, a tackle for loss, and 3 QBH.

SPECIAL TEAMS*

*The above image has players that only played in the third phase.

Patrick O’Donnell didn’t punt until 6:26 of the third quarter, but he knocked all 4 of his punts inside the 20 yard line and he had a 40.5 average.

Eddy Pineiro was a perfect 4 for 4 on extra points and he drilled his one field, a 36-yarder.

All statistics and snap counts are taken directly from the NFL’s Game Statistic and Information System, as are the accompanying pictures.

To check out the full box score I find that ESPN has an easy to navigate site.