The downward spiral has continued for the Cowboys. On a day that is eerily similar to last week’s game in Washington, it was the Cowboys who were once again their own worst enemies. While the game was not as dramatic as it was last week, the trend continues for the Cowboys making untimely miscues and costly mistakes.
If you only saw that statistics you would think the Cowboys came out on top. The Boys out-gained the Bears 410-308 in yardage. They also controlled the time of possession by 7:20. Buy again, the Cowboys cannot eliminate the costly mistakes that have plagued them since the Minnesota game to finish last season.
The game started with the Bears starting their first 3 possessions with an average starting position of the Cowboys 48-yardline. You knew the Cowboys would have trouble surviving that type of field position disparity. The Bears got the first points of the game when Cowboys receiver Miles Austin was nailed trying to bring in a Romo pass and Bears’ Charles Tillman intercepted the tipped pass and returned it to the Dallas 23. The defense held the Bears to only a field goal, but it was a sign of what kind of day it would be.
Dallas reversed the momentum when the rookie Dez Bryant took a punt return back 62 yards, putting a nice move on the Bears’ punter at the end to race down the left sideline for his first NFL touchdown. But it was short lasted as Cutler drove the Bears back down the field and hit TE Greg Olsen on a 39-yard touchdown pass. The Cowboys seemed to finally be getting on track when Romo marched the Boys down to the 1-yardline and then hit rookie FB Chris Gronkowski for a touchdown.
The lead was short lived however. Cutler managed to hit WR Devin Hester on a 59-yard pass to set up another Hester strike from 9-yards out. The Bears were able to take advantage of another tipped pass as Romo threw behind Jason Witten and the Bears’ D.J. Moore picked it off and set up a Robbie Gould 40-yard field goal sending the Bears into the locker room with a 20-10 halftime lead.
Dallas took their opening drive of the second half down the field before David Buehler hit his first regular season field goal as an NFL kicker, a 28-yard attempt to make the score to 20-17. There was no more scoring until the fourth quarter. Down 20-17, the Cowboys pushed down the field to the Bears 26 where Buehler missed badly on a 44-yard attempt at the tying field goal.
Cutler took Bears into Dallas territory aided by a big 38-yard reception by Hester. Hester’s catch set the Bears up with a first and goal at the 3-yard line. On the very next play, Cutler lobbed a rainbow to running back Matt Forte in the end zone, which gave the Bears a 27-17 with only 5:16 on the clock.
The Cowboys took the ball and was marching but the offense again was shot itself in the foot. Having worked their way into Bears territory, Romo hit Roy Williams on the left side for a short gain. Roy made an attempt to get out of bounds, but was instead stripped of the ball with Chicago’s Brian Urlacher recovering.
Dallas was able to hold and get their offense back on the field with only 2:45 left in the game. The Boys took the ball 50 yards before Buehler hit a 48-yard field goal to pull within 7 points. Dallas then attempted an onside kick, but Chicago recovered the ball and the Bears took possession at the Dallas 43 with 1:16 left in the game. Cutler took three knees to end the game.
There will be a lot of questions directed at this Cowboys team. A preseason favorite to play in the Super Bowl, it looks as if the pressure has gotten to both the players and the coaches. Offensive co-ordinator, Jason Garrett, will have a lot of questions come his way for not being able to establish a balanced attack one again this week. Romo, who did not look good for most of the game, will also take some heat this week.
With the Cowboys off to 0-2 for the first time since 2001, it could be trouble in Dallas. Only 4 teams in 41 years have started 0-2 and won a Super Bowl. The Cowboys did it in 93/94, but it might be a tall order to repeat that feat this year, they do not have Emmitt Smith coming off a contract dispute to bail them out.
Whatever the issue, the Cowboys better get it solved quickly or they will only have great seats for the Super Bowl.