Dec 4, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) scores a touchdown in the second half of their game against the Dallas Cowboys at Soldier Field . The Cowboys won 41-28. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
The Chicago Bears and the Dallas Cowboys came into their Week 14 matchup at opposite ends of the spectrum. You see, the Bears were all but eliminated from the playoff contention while the Cowboys were trying to strengthen their position in the postseason race.
After a scoreless opening quarter, the teams combined for 21 points in the second period, with the Cowboys going into the break with a 14-7 lead. However, in the third quarter, the Cowboys scored 21 straight points to take a comfortable 35-7 lead into the fourth quarter.
Although the Bears did put up 21 points in the final frame, the Cowboys were able to escape with a 41-28 win, improving to a league-best 6-0 mark on the road. While the final score was respectable, it was not indicative of how one-sided this game really was.
That being said, here is a quick look at how the Bears graded out in yet another disappointing loss.
Dec 4, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) in their game against the Dallas Cowboys at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
Passing Offense: C+
From a statistical standpoint, Cutler had a decent outing. He completed 32 of 46 passes for 341 yards to go along with two touchdowns and one interception. But if you take a closer, once again, most of Cutler’s yardage came when the game was out of reach.
Martellus Bennett, led Chicago’s receivers for the second straight week, recording a career-high 12 receptions for 84 yards and one touchdown. Alshon Jeffery caught six passes for 95 yards and one touchdown. Brandon Marshall chipped in with three receptions for 61 yards, but left the game with a rib injury.
For whatever reason, this offense continues to underachieve. And while the numbers through the air were respectable, they are insignificant because the team failed to produce when the game was still competitive.
Dec 4, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte (22) scores a touchdown with Dallas Cowboys free safety J.J. Wilcox (27) defending during the second half at Soldier Field. Dallas won 41-28. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Rushing Offense: F
The Bears knew they had to make a concerted effort to establish the ground game against a Cowboys’ defense that wasn’t that good. But yet again, they failed to have any success with the run.
In fact, Matt Forte rushed for just 26 yards on 13 attempts, which is an average of two yards per carry. That, my friends, is totally unacceptable. Forte did record eight receptions for 74 yards, but his fumble in the third quarter led to the first of three touchdowns for the Cowboys in the period.
Dec 4, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten (82) catches a pass and is tackled by Chicago Bears inside linebacker Jon Bostic (57) during the second quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Passing Defense: C-
The good news is the Bears gave up just 205 yards through the air and no Cowboys receiver topped the 100-yard plateau. The bad news is that Romo completed 21 of 25 passes along with three touchdowns and finished with a passer rating of 138.0. In addition to that, the Bears did not generate much of a pass rush, as they were able to sack Romo just once.
Dec 4, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears defensive tackle Brandon Dunn (98) tries to pull the ball from Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray (29) during the second half at Soldier Field. Dallas won 41-28. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Rushing Defense: F
DeMarco Murray came into this contest as the leading rusher in the NFL. That being said, the Bears had to know that the Cowboys would make a concerted effort to get Murray as many touches as possible.
As expected, the Cowboys gave the Bears a heavy does of Murray, as he rushed 32 times for 179 yards and one touchdown. And what has been a continuing theme for the team during the season, the Bears defense failed to stop the opposing team even when they knew what to expect.
Special Teams: F
With the exception of a few games, the special teams has been anything but special this season. And unfortunately, that trend was evident in this contest.
While Marc Mariani did average over 22 yards on six returns, there were no other positives to speak of. Pat O’Donnell averaged just 33 yards on four punts. In addition to that, there was a blocked punt, a blocked PAT and an assortment of other penalties that made this game painful to watch.
Dec 4, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett (left) meets Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman (right) at midfield following the second half at Soldier Field. Dallas won 41-28. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Although the Bears finished last season at 8-8, the consensus was that the offense would improve in the second season under Marc Trestman. Unfortunately for the Bears, that has not happened.
After boasting the league’s second-ranked offense in 2013, the Bears reached the 28-point plateau for just the second time this season. In order to win games in this league, you have to be able to score points. And during the course of the season, this offense has not been able to score points against good teams. Needless to say, the lack of an identity for this unit is a big reason why they have underachieved this year.
And even more to the point, the Bears will need to win their next three games just to reach the same mark from a season ago. But to be honest, what are the chances of that happening?