BTB's Head Honcho authors our top post-game review, neatly summing up the entire affair:
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.
Murray also allows Tony Romo to dink and dunk on a frigid night where Romo mostly didn't want to go deep. Romo had almost as many touchdowns (three) as incompletions (five) on 26 attempts. After so many years of carrying imbalanced Cowboys teams, Romo can win blowouts without having to take many risks.
With 1.606 rushing yards on the season, Murray still has an outside chance to become the eighth player in league history to exceed 2,000 in a season, and the first since Adrian Peterson in 2012.
The "run to win" narrative is generally a canard, but in Dallas' case, it's very clear that this team will go as far as Murray -- and that dominant offensive line -- takes it.
A rather nasty defensive drop-off after three solid quarters:
Oh, but that Dallas defense. After looking good through three quarters, holding Chicago to just one score, they simply had no answer for Jay Cutler and Co. in the fourth frame. The Bears quarterback, who only had 100 passing yards at the half, finished with 341 yards through the air, completing 32-of-46 attempts.
This is first time Matt Forte has had negative rushing yards in a quarter in his career— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 5, 2014
One way to help the defense - run 38 plays, stay on the field for 18:56— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) December 5, 2014
Also, there is no truth to the rumor that Romo saw Terrance Williams in the huddle and asked who he was.— David Helman (@HelmanDC) December 5, 2014
Is Mel Tucker taking part in some sort of defensive coordinator fantasy camp?— Chris Burke (@ChrisBurke_SI) December 5, 2014
A snippet from among a collocation of worthy snippets:
Someone needs to cover Cole Beasley
To be fair, the Bears did cover Beasley, except when the Cowboys got near the end zone. Beasley only caught three passes in the game, but they were a big three. Two of Beasley's three catches went for touchdowns, including this wild 24-yard yard catch in the third quarter that had to be reviewed.
The Broad One serves up a smorgasbord of thoughts. Here he is on the Cowboys third down defense:
The Cowboys held the Bears to 20 percent on third-downs conversions in this game. The last two games for the defense had been a nightmare. There was a much better job of overall tackling and rallying to the ball, which in my opinion made the biggest difference in how they were able to achieve this number.
The fabulous stats guys at ESPN share some numerically-based observations on Thursday night's affair. My eye was caught by some interesting stuff on DeMarco Murray:
- Murray’s 41 offensive touches were the most in an NFL game since Larry Johnson had 41 in 2006.
- Murray has three games with 35 or more touches this season. All other running backs combined have four.
- Murray had more touches in the first half (24) than the Bears had plays (20).
- Murray finished with 179 yards rushing, 166 yards coming between the tackles, the third-most by a player in a game this season and the most by a Cowboys player since Murray had 183 such yards against St. Louis in Week 7 of 2011.
Moore focuses on the decisions to go for twice during the Cowboys first scoring drive:
Faced with a fourth-and-1 on the Chicago 13-yard line early in the second quarter of a scoreless game, Garrett and play-caller Scott Linehan put their faith in the offensive line and ran Murray off right guard for a gain of 4 yards. Four plays later, on fourth-and-goal, Murray went off right tackle for the 1-yard touchdown.
"We ought to be aggressive," Garrett said. "We like our running game. DeMarco was running well, and we have a lot of confidence in the offensive line."
And, we'll close with this gem:
Me knowing that Ratliff never got to lay a finger on Romo... pic.twitter.com/NzfUIocomk— DC Blue Star (@DCBlueStar) December 5, 2014