On the National stage vs the defending NFC Champs, the Dallas Cowboys made it look easy. In the second half that is. Such was the case on Sunday night in Chicago as the Cowboys beat the Bears 34-10. It’s starting to become the standard for the Dallas Cowboys, playing either poorly or with little motivation in the first halves of games and then exploding for points in the second. Sunday night in Chicago was no different, after a penalty-laden first half and a dropped touchdown pass, they headed into the locker room tied at 3 with the Bears.
Opening the second half, the offense and Tony Romo found its rythm and drove 89-yards capped by a 3-yard TD pass to Jason Witten giving them a quick 10-3 lead. The Bears responded with a long touchdown drive of their own sparked by a nice 12-yard scramble by Rex Grossman on a third and ten from his own 13-yard line. But after exchanging punts, the Cowboys mounted another long drive which again ended with a touchdown, this time on an 10-yard pass to Marion Barber, who broke a tackle by Chicago’s Adam Archuleta at the five-yard line to go in for the score. The Cowboys dominated time of possession in the third quarter and scored 14 points.
The Dallas defense also came up big in the second half, getting three turnovers that all led to points. The first was just before the start of the fourth quarter when they forced Chicago’s Cedric Benson to fumble while struggling for yardage and recovered the ball deep in Bears’ territory. They could only manage a field goal, thanks to some untimely penalties but expanded their lead to 20-10. Anthony Henry then got his second interception of the game on the Bears’ next possession and returned it 28-yards all the way to the endzone for a quick 27-10 advantage. The Dallas defense was tough on Rex Grossman all night, forcing three interceptions during the game and sacking him three times. Rookie LB Anthony Spencer recorded his first sack in the fourth quarter and LB DeMarcus Ware had two on Grossman, both in the second quarter. Roy Williams got the third and final interception late in the fourth that really iced the game for the visiting Cowboys.
Once again, Marion Barber led all rushers with 102 yards on 15 carries and two touchdowns as Julius Jones left the game early in the fourth quarter after a long run that got him inside the Bears’ five-yard line, but was called back on a somewhat suspect holding penalty on LT Flozell Adams. No report was made on his status, but he didn’t return and Barber carried the load of the Dallas rushing attack until late in the game. Barber busted through the Bears’ defensive line for a 54-yard gain late in the fourth quarter that set up his second touchdown of the game from one yard out. The punt and kick return teams did a great job also of containing the Bears’ Devin Hester.
Late in the third quarter, after Grossman’s second interception, cries of “Griese, Griese” were eminating from the most of the fans still in Soldier Field.
When asked after the game of what he thought this game meant for the Cowboys, Terrell Owens stated, “: we made a statement here tonight.” He also spoke of how great the team performed in the second half and that they just needed to work on doing better in the first half, but overall “:..mission accomplished.” T. O. was awarded “horse-trailer” player of the game by NBC’s John Madden and Al Michaels for his 145-yard receiving effort on eight tough catches that were mostly over the middle and for critical first downs.
Tony Romo was a little less enthusiastic, only saying that he thought they had a great team and he was “:lucky to be in such a good situation.” He finished the game 22-of-35 for 329 yards and two touchdowns with one interception which occurred early in the first quarter on a deflected pass off the hands of Patrick Crayton and into the arms of S Adam Archuleta. As usual, he made alot of plays with his legs as he scrambled away from Bears’ defenders to make some good throws, mostly to Owens, to extend drives.