Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Chicago Bears 34, Dallas Cowboys 18
Bears capitalize on five Cowboys interceptions for easy win.
ARLINGTON The Dallas Cowboys didn't give themselves a chance Monday night at Cowboys Stadium, losing 34-18 to the Chicago Bears. The loss dropped Dallas to 2-2, one game behind the 3-1 Philadelphia Eagles for first place in the NFC East. Chicago improved to 3-1.
Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo was terrible, throwing five interceptions, including four in the second half, but that wasn't the only problems Dallas had on offense. The rushing game was non-existent, with DeMarco Murray posting an underwhelming 11 carries for 24 yards, giving him just 106 yards in his last three games.
The defense was also having issues, particularly with Chicago's usually mediocre passing attack, as Bears QB Jay Cutler went 18-of-24 for 275 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. Chicago converted on seven of twelve third-down situations, including several third-and-longs in which Cutler simply threw downfield to wide-open receivers for easy first downs.
The first half was close, with neither team scoring in the first quarter. Chicago finally broke through the punt competition with a 13 play, 69 yard drive that started at their own six and ended with a 43-yard field goal to make it 3-0 Bears with 4:15 left in the first half.
The Cowboys got the ball back on the 20, but Romo was intercepted by Charles Tillman at the 25, who returned it for the game's first touchdown and a 10-0 Chicago lead.
Romo then got the ball back and drove the Cowboys 80 yards, going 9-for-10 on the drive and culminating in a 10-yard touchdown strike to Miles Austin with 14 seconds remaining in the second quarter.
Chicago opened the second half with a quick-strike touchdown drive that covered 73 yards in just five plays. After passes of 16 and 10 yards got the Bears to the Dallas 34, Cutler hit Devin Hester for a 34-yard touchdown to make it 17-7 Bears.
Romo took it on himself to respond in the next drive, hitting Dez Bryant for two long gains of 25 and 20 yards to get down to the Chicago 18, where he unfortunately threw his second interception of the night just outside the five-yard line. Chicago got the ball back but four plays later Cutler was sacked and fumbled the ball. Victor Butler recovered the ball at the Chicago 27, giving new life to Dallas' chances.
Romo promptly threw his third interception of the night to Lance Briggs, who returned it 74 yards for a touchdown and a 24-7 Bears lead.
The two teams traded field goals until Romo threw his fourth pick of the night midway through the fourth quarter. Chicago made him pay when Cutler hit Brandon Marshall for a 31-yard touchdown pass that effectively sealed the game. Romo threw one more interception late in the fourth quarter and was replaced by backup Kyle Orton, who drove down the field and hit Jason Witten for a meaningless touchdown pass with 34 seconds left in the game.
Romo finished 31-of-43 for 307 yards, one touchdown and five interceptions. Orton went 9-of-10 for 89 yards and the one touchdown on his one drive of the night.
Dallas now has a bye week before heading to Baltimore on October 14th to face the 3-1 Ravens.