Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
Looking back on the Bears game, the evidence shows that the Cowboys consistently beat themselves. It's this mistake-prone football that makes them so frustrating to watch.
The Cowboys are driving their fanbase insane. How? By continually shooting themselves in the foot on offense. They do this with such regularity that it's almost absurd. Just take a look at all the drive-killing plays in the Bears game.
First Cowboys drive they face a 3rd and 7 at the Chicago 40. Even a short pass that doesn't convert the first down could put Dan Bailey in position for a long FG. Of course a first down extends the drive deep into Bears territory. What do the Cowboys do? Take a sack. Now, on this play you have to credit the Bears for a precisely run stunt on the line, but the Cowboys have this blocked until Tyron Smith is slow to release out to pick up the stunting Bear.
You can see the Cowboys are in good shape here as the left side of the line has both Bears in front of them. Felix Jones comes inside to the most likely spot trouble could arise. But the disengaged Bear is just starting his stunt by looping outside.
Felix picks up the inside Bear that was occupying Smith, but Smith is late releasing out to pick up the outside rusher. Nate Livings didn't help by not getting a block on either guy. Sack Romo, no shot of a field goal, punt.
Second Cowboys drive brings a 3rd and 5 at their own 41. Dez Bryant gets open, but doesn't get his head and body around after his break to haul in a back-shoulder pass from Romo.
Bryant makes his break and has separation from the Bears defender. The ball is on its way (top-left corner), Bryant is turned, looks like an easy first down.
Somehow, Bryant doesn't react and by the time he does, it's too late. Punt.
Next possession, 3rd and 4 at the Chicago 38. Dez breaks into the clear on a seam route, losing the corner and beating the safety coming over. Looks like 6 points.
But the ball is overthrown with no chance of a catch. Now, one caveat here, Charles Tillman pulled a sneaky veteran move and gave Bryant a tug at his hip just as Bryant was losing him, but hard to say if even without that Bryant would have caught up to the pass. Open man, good protection in the pocket, this has to be 6 points. Instead, Cowboys punt.
The Cowboys next possession was the one that's been talked about for the past day or so. The mis-communication between Dez and Tony. Tillman does a nice job of fooling the Cowboys, Dez read it one way, Tony another. Here's Bryant taking his first step on the play and Tillman backing out of press coverage. Equal parts good play by the Bears, bad judgment from Dallas.
Looks like Tony read it right, but it was a tough call.
On the Cowboys next possession that basically end the half, Romo drove Dallas to 7 points on a crisp two-minute drill.
After the Bears scored to start the second half and make the score 17-7, the Cowboys were about to answer back. They drove to the Bears 18-yard line and faced a 2nd and 12. Romo loads up and hits Kevin Ogletree on a slant. Nice gain, right? Not in Cowboy-world.
Into the hands and out of the hands of Ogletree, without a Bear touching him or the ball. The ball bounces up in the air and into a waiting Bears' arms. Interception, drive over. Momentum killer.
Then, the back-breaker. After the previous interception Dallas is redeemed when DeMarcus Ware causes a turnover. Dallas set up at the Chicago 27 with a 1st and 10. A chance to get right back in it. Except Mackenzy Bernadeau forgot to block and Tony Romo got a little careless with the ball.
There goes Henry Melton right around Bernadeau. That's the first mistake. Next, at this spot of the field on first down, Romo needs to be smarter with the ball when under pressure. He tried a shovel pass to Jason Witten instead of just tucking it and running with it after moving up in the pocket. Plays like this are what Romo was talking about when he said he tried to do too much.
Dallas has one last shot to get into this game, even if just barely. Late in the third quarter, trying to score a TD to get it within 10 points, they faced a 2nd and 6 at the Chicago 22. The play looks promising as Miles Austin beats his man on a seam pattern.
There's Miles running wide open to the endzone.
There's Miles, reaching for a Romo pass that is far over his head and to the outside. Missed connection on a sure touchdown.
The very next play, Dallas faces a 3rd and 6 at the Chicago 22. Dez Bryant comes open on a slant and Romo delivers a strike.
Looks great, until a second later.
Another dropped pass on 3rd down. The Cowboys kick a FG and are basically toast. After that, Romo throws two ill-advised interceptions to kill two more Dallas drives. Both were unforced errors. Kyle Orton finally put together a scoring drive to end the game.
All those drive killing plays that were predominately the Cowboys fault. They moved the ball up and down the field, but botched it when it counted. That's why they are frustrating themselves and the fanbase. When you can see the potential, but not the results, it's maddening.