The Dallas Cowboys will go into the bye week with a 6-2 record thanks to a convincing 49-29 win over the Chicago Bears. Unlike all their previous wins so far this year, this one featured a lot of scoring. It was fun early, got unnerving in the middle, but then got fun again at the end. Here are ten thoughts on the Cowboys blowout win over the Bears.
1. What an amazing start!
You couldn’t have asked for a better start from this Cowboys offense as they scored a touchdown on each of their first four possessions of the game. The offense had 286 total yards on those drives. They were a perfect 6-for-6 on third downs with a balance of 98 rushing yards (7.0 per play) and 180 passing yards (9.5 per play). With a good dose of Tony Pollard and CeeDee Lamb, the offense was humming. The Cowboys were a perfect 3-for-3 in red zone opportunities.
2. Second chances
The Cowboys' defense has been known to give opposing offenses extra chances by making some bonehead penalties. Dante Fowler got flagged for offsides on a third-and-short play that wasn’t converted, but the penalty gave the Bears a new set of downs. Then, late in the first half, Chauncey Golston was flagged for a personal foul penalty for hitting Bears quarterback Justin Fields that negated an interception from Trevon Diggs. The Bears scored a touchdown on the very next play.
3. The TD-saving play
This team has been very fortunate to have some good health in the secondary with Diggs, Anthony Brown, and Jourdan Lewis handling the starting duties. But this week, they were without Jourdan Lewis who suffered a season-ending foot injury last week against Detroit. And to make matters worse, Anthony Brown exited the game briefly late in the first half.
The Bears wasted no time challenging backup corner Kelvin Joseph as he gave up a touchdown reception to N’Keal Harry. Chicago almost struck again on their next possession, but a fantastic last-second pass breakup by rookie corner DaRon Bland prevented a Bears touchdown. That was a huge play as the momentum was starting to shift despite the impressive start from the Cowboys’ offense.
We know it’s Halloween weekend and all and it’s time for spooky stuff, but that was a ghastly decision the replay crew made on the Khalil Herbert fumble. It was clear that Herbert lost control of the ball when he ran into his own man, and the initial ruling was a fumble recovered by the Cowboys. The broadcast crew rationalized that Herbert had re-gained possession while watching the play in super slow motion; however, he didn’t re-control it very well if he turned around and re-fumbled the ball.
It was surprising to this fan’s eyes that they overturned the call and gave the Bears the ball back. Chicago made it count as they scored a touchdown four plays later. And just like that, it was a game again.
5. Answering back
Things were starting to get a little dicey when the Bears scored 16 unanswered points and cut the lead to 28-23 midway through the third quarter. And considering the previous two Cowboys possessions consisted of an interception and a three-and-out, one couldn’t help wondering if the table was starting to turn.
But the Cowboys' offense remained poised and drove 75 yards down the field in seven plays in just under three minutes to increase their lead. Aided by a nice 30-yard reception to Dalton Schultz on a free play, the offense was able to get back in a rhythm.
6. Micah strikes again
Stop me if you’ve heard this before. Cowboys’ phenom linebacker Micah Parsons comes out of nowhere to make a big play down the field! Last week, he was the talk of the town when he ran down a Lions tight end to save a touchdown. This week, he decided to take it up a notch and score a touchdown himself.
After Fields escaped the pocket and found running back David Montgomery for a short pass, Leighton Vander Esch came crashing upon him forcing the ball out. Parsons, in his never-ending pursuit of happiness, comes flying down the field and recovers the ball. Fields, in a lapse of judgment, failed to touch Parsons, and the Cowboys star wisely got up and started running all the way to the end zone. Just to get a feel for how far out of the play he was, this is Parsons when Fields took off out of the pocket.
7. The Pony show
We learned late last week that Ezekiel Elliott was not likely to play in this game, but there weren’t too many Cowboys fans worried about it. That’s because we know that would mean an ample dose of touches for Tony Pollard.
Pollard was sensational as the team’s feature back. He got the hard yards and he made the explosive plays. He finished the game with 14 carries for 131 yards (9.4 yards per carry) and three touchdowns. Elliott is a tough player who does a lot of the gritty stuff that many don’t realize, but boy does this offense look explosive with Pollard in the backfield.
8. Money on the money down
The Cowboys scored a season-high 49 points in this one thanks to a little extra help from their defense, but make no mistake about it, the offense was getting it done. They finished the day with 442 total yards of offense, their highest offensive output of the season by nearly 100 yards.
The running game was clicking, Prescott looked really good, and the play-calling was nothing short of fantastic. But what was really impressive is how well the offense did on third down. The Cowboys finished the day 9/11 on third down and did an excellent job keeping the chains moving, even in long down situations.
9. How did Hendershot miss that?
The Cowboys came one point shy of a 50-point game. It was odd that Mike McCarthy didn’t go for two after their last touchdown to make it an even 21-point lead in the fourth quarter. They had another shot to get more points when UDFA rookie tight end Peyton Hendershot came flying up the middle on a punt. It looked like a sure block, but the Bears punter was able to angle it to the right just enough to avoid Hendershot. How cool would it have been to get six offensive touchdowns, a defensive touchdown, and then a special teams touchdown? So close.
10. Run defense is still a problem
The Cowboys’ offense put on a clinic in the running game as they finished the game with 200 rushing yards, including four rushing touchdowns. But they weren’t the only ones running the ball well. Chicago was gashing the running lanes to the tune of 240 rushing yards.
This is an area that still gives this Cowboys’ defense trouble. There will be times when they are in the backfield making tackles for a loss, but there are also times when they give up big runs. Opposing teams are doing everything they can to avoid pass-rushing situations against the Cowboys’ defense and running the ball effectively is a sure way to do it.