The Chicago Bears needed a big win tonight, and with their strongest all-around effort of the season, came away with a big win on the road against a playoff-caliber team. In typical Bears fashion, the defense created takeaways, five interceptions of Cowboys QB Tony Romo, including two returned for touchdowns.
The offense came to life in remarkable fashion tonight as Mike Tice opened up the game plan and fearlessly attacked the Cowboys defense. A strong and creative effort on offense and an opportunistic defense leads to our list of winners and losers.
J’Marcus Webb got some help tonight with chips and some double-team help from the TEs, but overall, he played his best game in quite some time. Webb shut down DeMarcus Ware, limiting the pressure on Jay Cutler and opening up holes in the running game. The one sack Ware did get was the result of Cutler holding onto the ball for nearly five seconds—not Webb’s fault.
Webb’s play was so strong that he received a solid pat on the head from Cutler in this game. This was after Cutler controversially shoved him in front of a nationally televised audience two games ago.
This game shows what Webb is capable of when he’s focused and plays within himself. If he can link together consistent performances like this, he’ll go a long way toward silencing his critics.
A lot of the talk leading up to this game was how Brandon Carr was going to give Brandon Marshall all he could handle. Marshall must not have received the memo as he abused Carr all night to the tune of seven catches, 138 yards and a touchdown.
Carr tried to go bump and run, press coverage and was as physical as he could be within the rules, and sometimes outside of the rules, to slow Marshall. Fifteen couldn’t be stopped, however, as he worked all over the field catching crossing routes, breaking tackles, getting yards after the catch and more.
Marshall ran all the routes in the route tree and worked out of the slot a lot to get open. A well-designed game plan really allowed Marshall to have his best game in a Bears uniform.
Defensive winners Lance Briggs, Major Wright (two), Charles Tillman and DJ Moore racked up five interceptions of Tony Romo. Tillman and Briggs notched two picks that were returned for touchdowns that swung momentum in this game and caused Romo to force even more passes that were picked off.
While the sacks weren’t there due to Romo’s escape ability, Romo, at times, got happy feet, and in turn, made the bad throws that led to the five interceptions on the night.
Mike Tice is a winner in this game for the way he game-planned on offense and made calls to get the offense in a rhythm. Tice had a plan for the pressure that the Cowboys faced and helped his team by running the football.
Tice, as I mentioned earlier, motioned Marshall around a lot and called great plays to get him open. Marshall’s touchdown was an exceptionally great play-call. He came in motion across the formation into the slot, then Jeffery ran the coverage off while Marshall caught a short crossing route and trotted into the end zone untouched.
That type of game-planning and receiver routes were not a part of the first three games as the Bears elected to attack down the field. Tonight, that was not the case, and it paid off in spades with efficient drives that led to points.
Not a lot of losers in this game as it was a pretty strong team effort by the offense and the defense. However,there was one glaring loser. That was center Roberto Garza. Garza missed a lot of blocks tonight or was defeated by the defender. He had, at a minimum, four maybe five horrible missed blocks and looked like he was ready to hang up his helmet.
Garza is not an NFL-level center who plays well on a consistent basis, but he should be the veteran anchor of an otherwise young offensive line. At times, he plays well enough to win, but tonight, he was awful, and I suspect the tape will look even worse.
I may be harsh by labeling the front four losers for this game, but the consistent pass rush wasn’t there tonight. The Bears’ defensive line only notched one sack on the night, and it was early in the game by Henry Melton. Tonight, the pass rush was only able to get two QB hits on Romo who had an extremely hot hand throwing the football throughout the most of the game.
Had Dez Bryant not been such a big loser for the Cowboys in this game, the momentum could have swung the Cowboys’ way. Romo’s first pick six was the result of a miscommunication. Another was a pass the receiver had deflected off his hands and into the arms of Major Wright.
Sure, it’s hard to come down on this group, but Romo had a lot of time to throw in this game and got big chunks of yardage. The Bears defense was in full-out bend-but-don’t-break mode, and all too often bent to the point of near collapse.
There’s no real way around it, the front four can’t have many more games where they allow top of the line QBs to stand back there and deliver the football the way Romo did at times tonight.