Chicago 34, Dallas 18: Staring a 6-10 Record Right in the Face

Jerry won’t sleep well with that window of opportunity slamming shut so hard.

There were points in tonight’s game against the Bears that Cowboys fans had reason to believe. All of those points occurred before the 2:46 mark of the second quarter.

It was then that Tony Romo threw a pass towards Dez Bryant, who was apparently supposed to  run a hitch route. He didn’t, and Charles Tillman picked off the pass and ran it in for a touchdown.

Sure, the Cowboys managed to cut the score to 10-7 going into halftime, but the nightmares were really about to begin.

The secondary had no answer for the Bears in the second half. The $50 million addition to the backfield, Brandon Carr, was burned badly on two different plays by Brandon Marshall. Morris Claiborne never saw Devon Hester blow right by the rookie corner on a 34-yard touchdown.

Tony Romo threw two picks that weren’t his fault. The last three picks were all his fault. The first of those three, and his third of the night, ended up in the arms of Lance Briggs, who raced 74 yards for a touchdown.

Nothing good came from the second half. Romo might have had the worst game of his career. Dez Bryant is the goat for the next week thanks to mental mistakes and dropped passes.

Jason Witten had a good game, but few of his 13 receptions came at times when they mattered. At times, it felt as if the team got Witten the ball for the sake of getting him the ball.

DeMarco Murray ran the ball 11 times for 24 yards. Felix Jones had one nice 13-yard run, but on kickoff returns he continues to insist on running the ball out of the end zone from near the back line.

Sean Lee is still a bright spot. He had 14 total tackles. Victor Butler had a decent game filling in for Anthony Spencer and even had a fumble recovery. However, Butler also did an Almost Anthony impression by failing to wrap up Cutler on what could have been a sack on third down.

Can it get worse? The next five games—

at Baltimore

at Carolina

vs. N.Y. Giants

at Atlanta

at Philadelphia

Anyone have confidence? Would you care to share that confidence with the rest of us?

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  • Young Fan

    Matt, you got this game recap up pretty quickly. Trying to ease the disappointment? It wasn’t much fun to watch – especially in the second half. The pick sixes were reminiscent of the Detroit game last year. That game was a Week 4 matchup on October 2 – almost exactly a year from last night’s game. Pretty eery, huh?

    As for reasons for confidence, I’ll offer some scattered thoughts.
    – The HoF TE looked much more like himself last night.
    – My initial impression is that Smith/Free pass blocked pretty well against some very talented DEs. At the very least they pass blocked better than I anticipated. That bodes well going forward.

    – The turnover differential (-7/31st) is killing the team right now. Romo’s career INT rate is 2.9%; he is at 5.3% right now. That will come down. Turnovers are notoriously hard to predict, and I wouldn’t be surprised if, in addition to reduced interceptions, the defense gets more takeaways going forward.

    – Their best defensive lineman hasn’t played this year, but he should be ready after the bye week. Ratliff has declined since his 2009 All Pro appearance, but he is still a good player.

    However, my confidence in Dez Bryant is probably at an all time low right now. Each game with wrong routes and dropped passes makes me think it’s more unlikely that his play will ever approach his immense physical ability.

  • dodger71

    I tend to write these faster after Dallas loses than after Dallas wins. However, I don’t think it does much to easy disappointment.

    You make good points. I do think the tackles looked better, and Dallas was called for only two penalties. 
    I also know that turnovers are difficult to predict, but the better defenses tend to force them. The Cowboys have spent millions on this secondary, but Sean Lee is the only player with a pick this season. In fact, he led the team with four picks in 2011.