The Dallas Cowboys were able to go to Soldier Field and come away with a 41-28 victory over the Chicago Bears. Dallas made it a little more interesting than it should have been, falling asleep in the fourth quarter and allowing the Bears to mount a furious comeback. But Orlando Scandrick's interception in the endzone with just under 1:30 left in the game sealed the deal.
Dallas rode the legs of DeMarco Murray for much of the game, who ended the night with 179 rushing yards and one touchdown, plus nine catches for 49 yards. When they weren't using Murray, Tony Romo connected with Cole Beasley for two touchdowns and hit Gavin Escobar for another. Romo ended the night 21 of 26 for 205 yards and three touchdowns.
Dallas was able to move the ball on their initial couple of drives of the game, but both times the drives stalled. The Cowboys were clearly planning to use DeMarco Murray early and often. At one point in the first half, Murray had touched the ball either on a run or through a catch on 22 of the first 30 plays. By the time the first half was over, Murray had 24 touches and the Bears had 20 total. The Cowboys controlled the clock for 18:56 in the first half. Dallas was going with a conservative game plan, except in one area. Jason Garrett actually went for on fourth down twice on the Cowboys first touchdown drive.
The Cowboys were set up for that first score when Bruce Carter blocked a punt that set them up at midfield. They cashed that in for seven when DeMarco Murray scored from the one-yard line on fourth down. The lead was short-lived as the Bears came back and Martellus Bennett got into the endzone. The Bears drive was fueled by two Brandon Marshall catches, one on fourth down, but on that same play he hurt his ribs. He was eventually taken to the hospital but later tweeted that he was okay.
The Cowboys were able to squeeze in another touchdown to close out the half. Jason Witten converted two crucial third downs and Cole Beasley scored the points with eight seconds left in the half.
The Cowboys started to run away with the game in the third quarter. On the first Bears drive, Anthony Spencer stripped Matt Forte and Sterling Moore eventually recovered. Later on the drive Romo dodged a free rusher and hit Cole Beasley on third down for a touchdown. Immediately following that the Dallas defense created a short field by forcing the Bears to punt from their endzone. After big pass to Dez Bryant, the Cowboys punched it in on a pass to Escobar.
Dallas further extended their lead when Joseph Randle scored on a 17-yard run to make it 35 - 7. That's when things started to go a little haywire. The Cowboys allowed the Bears to score 21 fourth quarter points, including one drive that was the result of the Bears recovering an onside kick. During that quarter the Cowboys managed two Dan Bailey field goals but the Bears were driving late to try to get within one score. That's when an Orlando Scandrick interception ended any hope.
Besides the sloppy fourth quarter, the Cowboys looked good on both sides of the ball. The offense returned to their ground-and-pound formula with Murray having a monster game. Tony Romo was ruthlessly efficient on the night and Cole Beasley supplied the surprise performance of the evening with two touchdowns. The Cowboys defense was able to contain the Bears until they started falling apart in the fourth quarter. Luckily, the offense had built a sizable lead.
The Cowboys can now sit back at 9-4, secure in the knowledge that they won't go 8-8 this year. The drive to the playoffs continues.