Score: Dallas 28, Chicago 45
|Position Unit||First-Half Grade||Final Grade|
vs. Bears Week 14
Game Analysis for Dallas
Pass Offense: As often seems to be the case, quarterback Tony Romo provided some good and some bad in this contest. He was able to buy time with his mobility and make some plays downfield. However, he did face consistent pressure and couldn’t make enough plays to match the performance of the Chicago offense.
Romo was 11-of-20 for 104 yards and three touchdowns before giving way to Kyle Orton for closing duties.
Run Offense: Running back DeMarco Murray provided one of the only bright spots in this game for the Cowboys. He fell just one yard shy of reaching the 100-yard mark prior to halftime and had the game been closer, he easily could have been in store for a remarkable day. Murray finished with 145 yards on 18 carries. Rookie Joseph Randle added 54 yards and a score on nine carries.
Pass Defense: Dallas’ 32nd-ranked pass defense (294.9 yards per game allowed) lived up to its reputation in this contest.
Though he came close to making a few mistakes, Bears quarterback Josh McCown rarely had trouble finding holes in the Cowboys secondary. Though he has been playing well in relief of Jay Cutler this season, the Cowboys made McCown look like a Pro Bowl talent. He finished the game 27-of-36 for 348 yards and four touchdowns.
Run Defense: It was the Chicago passing attack that did the damage early. It was Matt Forte, Michael Bush and the rushing attack that beat up the Cowboys defense late.
Forte finished the game with 102 yards on 20 carries, while Bush chipped in with 39 yards on eight attempts. McCown added 17 yards and a score on two carries.
Special Teams: Dallas rarely received an opportunity to make a play on special teams thanks to prolonged Chicago drives. Kicker Dan Bailey was perfect on his extra-point attempts and Dwayne Harris did provide a momentary spark with a 43-yard kick return in the third quarter. However, it was a relatively average night overall.
Coaching: Despite watching his unit get shredded in the first half, defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin never seemed to make the necessary adjustments. With no semblance of a pass rush to speak of, Kiffin’s Tampa 2 scheme was ineffective against the Bears passing attack. It wasn’t much better against the run.
To understand just how bad the Cowboys were defensively, consider that Chicago scored every time it had the ball on offense except for the final clock-killing kneel.
First-Half Analysis for Dallas
Pass Offense: Quarterback Tony Romo played efficiently for most of the first half and made the most of what the defense gave him on the heels of a strong rushing attack. While he was pressured at times and did suffer a sack, he managed to buy time with his mobility and still make plays downfield.
Unfortunately, he made more poor throws than his Chicago counterpart, including several within the half’s final two minutes. This is a big reason why the Bears entered halftime with a lead.
Romo finished the half 8-of-13 for 71 yards with two touchdowns.
Run Offense: Dallas set the tone early in this game by establishing the run with authority. Running back DeMarco Murray gashed the Bears for 52 yards on the opening drive. He finished the half with 99 yards rushing and could easily match that number in the second half.
Pass Defense: The Dallas defense has been weak against the pass all season (ranked 32nd, allowing 294.9 yards per game through the air). However, it was especially bad in the first half.
Bears quarterback Josh McCown had no trouble making plays, both through the air and on the ground when improvisation proved necessary. He finished the half 18-of-23 for 222 yards and two touchdowns.
Run Defense: Dallas did a better job of defending the run, but only slightly. Matt Forte racked up 38 yards on eight carries against the Dallas defense, while McCown added 17 yards and a score on two scrambles. The Cowboys did manage to stop receiver Alshon Jeffery for a seven-yard loss, which was one of the few defensive highlights of the half.
Special Teams: Due to a number of lengthy drives by both teams, special teams opportunities were few and far between in the first half. Kicker Dan Bailey made both of his extra-point attempts, while Chris Jones averaged a pedestrian 31 yards on his two punts.
Coaching: The Cowboys attacked Chicago with a solid offensive game plan. With the ground game rolling, Dallas pounded the Chicago defensive front and capitalized with high-percentage and play-action passes.
However, things were a mess defensively. Coordinator Monte Kiffin is going to have to make some serious adjustments at halftime if the Cowboys are going to have any chance of slowing the Bears' offensive onslaught.