The Chicago Bears didn’t have to plow through the snow like other teams over this NFL weekend, but they also didn’t have to face any kind of defensive capability, pretty much scoring at will against the Dallas Cowboys, with Josh McCown possibly having the best game of his career in a 45-28 win.
McCown finished the game with 348 passing yards and four touchdown passes. The Bears’ defense didn’t create turnovers, but it was able to get stops when necessary, as Tony Romo threw for only 104 yards (11-of-20) and three touchdown passes, as the Cowboys fali to build a three-game winning streak and lose the top spot of the NFC East.
Josh McCown didn’t really stress the pressure the Cowboys were throwing at him. He finished with 7-of-9 or 105 yards and two touchdowns when throwing under duress, matching his season total up to this point under pressure situations. He found it very easy to make the deep game work, something the Bears have been trying to stay away from early this season. McCown was 10-of-16 for 182 yards and a touchdown on passes traveling more than 10 yards downfield, the most he’s had in a game on such throws this season and the most the Cowboys have allowed this year as well. Romo attempted only four deep passes, six fewer than his average per game, against a Bears defense that had allowed the third-highest completion percentage on such throws coming into the game (56%).
Brandon Marshall (6 receptions, 100 yards) didn’t catch a touchdown pass, but he was always a big and willing target for McCown, becoming only the 4th player in franchise history with multiple 1,000-yard receiving seasons, the 5th player in NFL history with 1,000 receiving yards in 7 of his first 8 seasons. He already has 1090 yards this year, and is on pace to finish with over 1300 following a record year for him last season with over 1500 receiving yards. Marshall joined Alshon Jeffery to become only the second set of Bears receivers to each catch for over 1000 yards in one season, the first since Curtis Jonway and Jeff Graham in 1995.
Matt Fotre also had a big day with 102 yards on the ground, while catching 7 passes for 73 yards and a touchdown. It is Forte’s 4th 1,000-yard rushing season with the Bears, second-most in franchise history behind Walter Payton.
The Cowboys didn’t turn the ball over, but they simply couldn’t stop the Bears, who scored on 8 separate drives. It was a third game this season with one team (the Bears) not punting even once. This is a second time it’s happened to the Cowboys this season, allowing a total of 497 yards to the Bears, now back with the Lions on top of the NFC North at 7-6, slightly above the Green Bay Packers who are 6-6-1. The Cowboys are now also 7-6, still in the playoff picture but behind the Philadelphia Eagles and their 8-5 record. It’s surprising they’re still in it considering how bad their defense has been – allowing an NFL-high 426.8 yards per game, and the 5,549 yards allowed this season is the 2nd-most in NFL history through 13 games of a season, behind the 2012 Saints.