Bears beat Cowboys 45-28 on Ditka Day
The Chicago Bears are back in the playoff race, and they can
thank Josh McCown for that.
McCown threw for a career-high four touchdowns, and the Bears
scored on their first eight possessions to grab a share of the NFC
North lead with a 45-28 victory over the Dallas Cowboys on a frigid
The Bears (7-6) retired Hall of Famer Mike Ditka’s number at
halftime and pulled even with Detroit in the division race on a
night when the game-time temperature was in single digits and the
wind chill factor was below zero.
The loss left Dallas (7-6) a game behind Philadelphia in the NFC
East and owner Jerry Jones calling for more aggressive play-calling
The bone-chilling conditions didn’t stop McCown from throwing
for 348 yards or keep the Bears from running away with a lopsided
It was one they desperately needed after consecutive losses, and
although Detroit holds the head-to-head sweep, the Bears are back
in the thick of the playoff race.
”All we could do is try to beat the Dallas Cowboys,” coach
Marc Trestman said. ”We kept it as simple as that. We didn’t get
into all the hypotheticals and all the things that go into winning
or losing a game.”
Alshon Jeffery’s leaping catch between two defenders in the
corner of the end zone in the closing seconds of the second quarter
gave the Bears a 24-14 lead, and they continued to pour it on in
the second half after a gut-wrenching overtime loss at Minnesota
Here are five things we learned on a frigid night at Soldier
STILL NO. 2: No matter how well McCown plays, the Bears insist
he’s still the back up to Jay Cutler.
Even after the veteran became the first Bears quarterback to
throw for 300 or more yards, that message came through.
Cutler will get his job back once he’s ready to return from a
high left ankle sprain. McCown will get a nice pat on the back –
and maybe a contract for next season.
”We’ll see where Jay is this week,” he said. ”He’ll have to
be released by the doctors and when Jay is ready to play, he’ll be
NO DEFENSE: Jerry Jones isn’t happy, either. The Cowboys boast
the league’s worst defense, and after watching Chicago rack up 490
yards, their owner is calling for some changes.
”Basically, we will have to make some adjustments in what we
are doing defensively,” Jones said. ”What that usually means is
taking more risks on defense. But if you’re going to have the kind
of match like we had tonight or certainly in New Orleans you have
to take some risks. We have to double up and I’m sure that will be
part of the plan on defense; more risks.”
DOMINANT DUO: No matter who’s throwing them the ball, Brandon
Marshall and Alshon Jeffery continue to wreak havoc.
Marshall caught six passes for 100 yards, giving him 1,090 on
the season. Jeffery is now up to 1,193. He had 84 yards receiving
after breaking his own team record the previous week with 249.
STOPPING THE RUN: The Bears came in ranked last against the run,
and they continued to struggle in that area. They held Tony Romo to
104 yards passing but couldn’t do much against the run. DeMarco
Murray ran for 146 yards, and the Cowboys finished with 198 rushing
on just 28 carries.
A ROMO FADE?: Romo’s regular-season record as a starter in
December and January is now 12-17. But Jones insisted he’s not
concerned by that.
”I really don’t think I ever made a decision regarding Tony in
any way that involved a thought about his December record,” he
said. ”It’s not an issue. We need to win a game. We need to win
next week. The December thing is not a big factor.”
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org