What We Learned From The Chicago Bears’ Week 14 Win Over The Dallas Cowboys
The Chicago Bears came away with an impressive win over the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football. It ended in a blowout, as the Cowboys’ defense was incapable of stopping the Bears’ offense. They scored on every drive in the game with five touchdowns and three field goals. It was a valiant effort by the Cowboys’ offense, but when a defense puts their team in a hole like that, it is very difficult for the offense to crawl out. Even in blowouts, there is a lot for each team to learn from. Here’s what we learned from the Bears’ win over the Cowboys.
With a healthy(er) defensive line, Mel Tucker is able to mix things up
From the beginning, Mel Tucker showed us a more creative Bears’ defense. With Jeremiah Ratliff in the starting lineup, he was able to move Corey Wootton back to defensive end, taking Shea McClellin out of the starting lineup, much to the delight of many Bears fans. With more quality players healthy, Tucker was able to rotate in decent defensive linemen to keep the starters fresh, and he was able to use them in different ways. Numerous times, he put McClellin in a standing rush position, occasionally even dropping him into coverage. They were also able to rotate Peppers and Wootton back into defensive tackle for three defensive end lineups. Those are two things we have not seen much of this year, whereas they were much more common last season when the defense was so successful. This certainly had an impact on the improved play of their defense in this game.
Alshon Jeffery keeps getting better and better
Jeffery had yet another incredible game for the Bears. While it was not another franchise-record receiving game, he made a number of big plays, including a nearly impossible touchdown catch in the corner of the endzone on a hail mary at the end of the first half. He still put up a hefty 84 yards on five catches with the touchdown. He continues to showcase his ability, and he is making a strong case for the Pro Bowl. He has well over 1,000 yards on the season, and in only his second year in the league, he has already become one of the top young receivers in the league.
Momentum and early offensive success are key for the Bears defense to be successful
The Bears defense has really had a lot of issues this season, and they continued through the beginning of this game. Cowboys’ runningback DeMarco Murray had 146 rushing yards on only 18 carries, a ridiculous 8.1 yards per carry, and the Bears had no answer for him in the first half When the defense really started to improve was when the Bears’ offense really started clicking. With the offense increasing their lead on long, time-consuming drives, it took all of the pressure off of the Bears defense and kept them rested. It forced the Cowboys’ offense to have to pass more and quickly abandon the running game that was so dominating early on. With a lead, plenty of rest, and momentum on their side, the Bears defense made some stops and helped turn this game into a blowout. That is the formula for the Bears’ defensive success.
However, it is easy for the Bears’ defense to look good when facing an even worse defense
The Bears’ defense looked pretty strong in this game, all things considered. They held Romo to only 104 yards. However, part of what made the Bears’ defense seem so much better was the Cowboys’ defense that was on the field by comparison. Their defense looked more like the Bears’ has looked in recent weeks. They could not cover any of the Bears’ receivers, allowing Matt Forte, Brandon Marshall, and Alshon Jeffery to all go for more than 70 yards receiving to go with Forte’s 102 yard rushing day. Dallas’ defense continued to make Josh McCown look like an all star quarterback, totally nearly 350 yards passing. The Bears’ defense showed a lot of improvement, but as mentioned earlier, a lot of was a result of a poor Cowboys’ defense, especially when seeing the two side-by-side.