The Bears didn’t play a perfect game, especially on offense, but they won and in the end, that’s all that matters.
Their biggest problems came with the play of their offensive line: Their quarterback, Tony Romo, didn’t have a lot time to throw the ball and wasn’t able to keep the Cowboys from losing this game.
You can be sure that they are going to do everything that they can to make sure that their offensive line is playing better by the time they face the Bears.
The following is an in-depth analysis of this Sunday’s game against the Bears and Cowboys down in Dallas.
When the Bears have the Ball
Looking back at Chicago’s game against the Detroit Lions this past Sunday, we saw that the Bears were capable of several positive and negative things; for one, they had some problems holding onto the ball.
Four turnovers (three fumbles and one interception) almost killed the Bears and against the Cowboys, four turnovers will send Chicago home with a loss.
What can the Bears due to fix this? Hang onto the ball and not make bad decisions.
Another thing that was noticed during the game was that quarterback Jay Cutler tries to force things too often and attempts to make a play when nothing is there—it’s never good to take a sack or to throw an interception but Cutler needs to learn to let things develop (if he has time).
Patience is one thing that he didn’t have last season and hasn’t started out this season with a lot of it.
Getting the running backs involved worked out well for the Bears, as Matt Forte had a monster day catching the ball and Chester Taylor was a nice substitute as the Bears moved the ball, for the most part effectively on the ground. They will want to do that against the Cowboys this coming Sunday.
So what do the Bears have to do to beat the Cowboys on offense? For one, they have to control the football.
When the Cowboys offense is spot on, they can score quickly and from most anywhere on the field so the Bears should seriously consider running the ball often (as long as the running game is working) to keep the ball out of the hands of the Cowboy’s offense.
Long sustained drives would be great for the Bears and could help them win this game.
What worked well for the Bears last week against the Lions was short to intermediate passes, mostly to the running backs. As we saw, running back Matt Forte knows how to turn a short pass into a long gain so perhaps trying to set something up like that would benefit the Bears.
The thing that they will have in this game that they didn’t have in their game against the Lions is speed in the opposing teams secondary. The Cowboys have some pretty fast players in their secondary, so getting those long gains might be tough but getting a first down is certainly not impossible.
The protection for quarterback Jay Cutler was there and not there at times last Sunday and the Bears offensive line will have to improve there.
Remember, Demarcus Ware (after suffering a neck stinger in the Cowboys game against the Redskins) has stated that he will play in this game and he is one of the best pass rushers in the NFL. You can bet that he will try different sides of the line to see where he can get the most pressure, so look for the Bears to line up a tight end or have a running back there to chip anyone who tries to rush around the edge.
If Chicago can’t do anything to stop the rush, then they will end up losing this game.
The receivers also need to chip the guys coming in on the rush (like Ware) to help buy some precision time for Cutler to throw the ball; this is going to be important especially against the strong pass rush that the Cowboys have.
The offensive line had a decent game for the most part against the Lions but will have to do much more against the Cowboys. Once again, they will probably get some help from the running backs and tight ends in helping to keep pass rushers off of Cutler and allow him more time to throw.
When the Cowboys have the Ball
As we saw last week against the Lions, the Bears defense played a pretty good game for the most part.
The Cowboys had a lot of problems on their offensive line last week against the Redskins and didn’t have Marc Colombo in the lineup, which really hurt. It’s thought that Colombo will be healthy enough to play this game and if he is in there, the Bears will have a harder time reaching Romo.
However, if the Bears can get some pressure on the Cowboy’s quarterback, things will go much easier on defense.
Chicago did a decent job keeping the Lions from gaining too many yards on the ground but will have their hands full with Marion Barber and Felix Jones.
Barber is a hard charging between the tackles runner that likes to knock people over so the Bears had better be ready for him.
In contrast, Jones is a guy with speed who can turn the corner fast and get down the field in a hurry. Chicago’s linebackers, possessing pretty good on their own, should be able to keep up with Jones in this game.
The Cowboys have a solid group of wide receivers including Miles Austin, Dez Bryant, and Roy Williams (although Roy Williams isn’t as solid as some might make him out to be). They also have tight end Jason Witten, who is a threat to catch the ball for a first down almost all of the time. They will need to keep a linebacker on him during this game and may have to have a safety help out, depending on who is covering him.
The Bears secondary did a good job double teaming the Lion’s Calvin Johnson and keeping him out of the game up until the end of it. They may want to look at double teaming Miles Austin to start and take him out of the game but that will leave Bryant who, despite the fact that he is a rookie, could end up having a big game against the Bears.
The best thing for the Bears to do would be to get enough pressure on Romo to sack him or force him to throw the ball away (or throw an interception) and they could do this against the Cowboys offensive line.
Getting pressure will be a big part of winning this game.
The Bears had a decent game on special teams but do need to get a lot more out of their return teams.
Instead of dancing around trying to make something happen, punt return specialist Devin Hester needs to head straight up the field when he makes the catch. He is losing yards trying to make something out of nothing.
After a preseason of blocked punts, the punt coverage teams looked pretty decent this past weekend and hopefully they will continue to play well for the rest of the season.
The Cowboys didn’t lose their game against the Redskins by a large margin last Sunday night but they played sloppy football, especially on the offensive line so if they continue to have problems there, the Bears should be able to take advantage.
Getting Peppers in Romo’s face will go a long ways to making the Bears' pass defense capable of holding up against the Cowboys' passing game. If anything is going to have potential to be the Bear’s worst nightmare, it’s going to be the Cowboys' passing game.
The secondary will be tested often but having some pass pressure will help them out. Look for them to double cover the hot wide receiver and get safety Major Wright some more playing time as he’s fast and athletic enough to keep up with the Cowboys wide receivers.
If the Bears fail at any one point on defense in this game, it will be in the secondary though so hopefully they play well.
Cutler will need to calm down and not try to do so much against a defense that’s sure to blitz him often; as we saw last week, Cutler appeared shaken at times and would take off and run with the ball or stand back and get hit or take a sack.
If he can throw the ball away in certain situations or allow plays to develop down the field more, he will save himself and the offense a lot of heartache.
Getting the running game going would be huge—not only would it help take pressure off of Cutler but it would also help them keep the ball out of the hands of Romo and the Cowboys offense.
The less the Cowboys offense is on the field, the better chance the Bears have to win this game.
The Bears managed to earn the honor (at press time) of being nine point underdogs to the Cowboys for this game. It’s going to be much closer than that and if the Cowboys offensive line plays like it did in their game against the Redskins, the Bears could even end up winning this game.
The defense will have to be very good in this game and the secondary will have to play a very good game. If the Bears can do this, they will win.
The Cowboys are playing at home so it’s going to be a tough game for the Bears.
Look for the Bears to just edge Dallas out and win this game.
Chicago 21, Dallas 20