Dallas Cowboys: 2012 Cowboys-Bears

At some point this offseason, Jason Garrett will lean back in his favorite chair, close his eyes and ponder what might have been.

There were 2,035 plays in the Cowboys’ 2012 season, but some are more memorable than others -- and it doesn’t matter whether they went in the Cowboys’ favor or against America’s Team.

What if Dez Bryant’s pinkie hadn’t come down out of bounds against the New York Giants in the final minute? Or what if a Washington safety hadn’t knocked the ball out of Bryant’s arms, breaking up an apparent touchdown, in the fourth quarter?

What if Eric Frampton had recovered New Orleans receiver Marques Colston’s fumble instead of tight end Jimmy Graham?

That’s the story of the NFL every year.

A play here or there and the Cowboys would’ve made the playoffs. It’s the reason why Garrett is forever saying every play in every game matters.

“It allows you to argue your point to your players that it’s really really close each and every week in this league,” Garrett said. “The importance of getting all of the details right and making sure you’re on point can make a difference in this ball game and here’s why.

“All these things that happened to us this year where plays went against us. If that play had been different we would’ve won that game. Or, similarly, plays that went for us that helped us win ballgames. There were a number of those too. It’s the nature of the NFL.”

[+] EnlargeCharles Tillman
AP Photo/Tony GutierrezCharles Tillman baited both Dez Bryant and Tony Romo and returned an interception for a 25-yard touchdown -- one of two defensive scores in the game for the Bears.
Without further ado, let's continue the countdown:

No. 6: Tony Romo interception

Situation: Third-and-9 from Dallas 21
Score: Chicago, 3-0
Time: 2:46 left in second quarter

Taylor's Take: The veteran tricked the youngster and the result was yet another defensive touchdown for Chicago. Cornerback Charles Tillman tricked Dez Bryant into thinking he was playing a coverage that called for Bryant to run a deep route instead of a curl. Romo threw the curl and Bryant wasn’t even in the screen when Tillman intercepted the pass. He returned it 25 yards for a game-breaking touchdown and a 10-0 lead.

Season Impact: This was among the low-points of Bryant’s season. He made a poor read on his option route and the result was a game-changing interception. He had one 100-yard game in his career and there were questions about whether he’d ever get it. Of course, he wound up with 92 receptions for 1,382 yards and 12 touchdowns. This loss dropped the Cowboys under .500 for the first time this season.

DeMarco Murray: 'Best I've felt' since injury

November, 14, 2012
IRVING, Texas – DeMarco Murray said there is a chance he could play in one of the Cowboys’ next two games, and the second-year running back said his sprained left foot is feeling a lot better.

“Today, this week is the best I’ve felt, so once I feel that I can help this team and I can be ready to go and play like I’m accustom to playing, I’m going to get out there,” Murray said. “It’s a waiting game right now.”

Murray has not played since Oct. 14 at Baltimore after suffering the injury in the first half against the Ravens. In addition to having to pass pain threshold tests, Murray is getting his foot checked regularly.

“It’s a tricky deal when dealing with ligaments and things like that,” Murray said. “It’s kind of like a scar. You’ve got to let it heal, but I definitely feel very, very good about where we’re at right now.”

Murray initially though he would miss a game or two, not four.

“It’s hard with a foot injury,” Murray said. “Playing my position, that’s where I do myself all my work, cutting, blocking, doing all that type of stuff, pushing off.”

If he comes back too soon, then he risks being done for the season. The team wants to make sure that when Murray does return it is for the full season. With two games in five days, the Cowboys’ schedule is not conducive to an immediate return.

“Next week being a short week, that hurts me a little bit not having that full week of practice, that full week to let it heal a little more,” Murray said.

Murray was one of seven Cowboys who did not participate in Wednesday's practice. The others were center Ryan Cook (knee), center Phil Costa (ankle), cornerback Mike Jenkins (back), safety Matt Johnson (hamstring), defensive lineman Sean Lissemore (ankle) and fullback Lawrence Vickers (knee).
IRVING, Texas -- Wherever the Cowboys travel their following is always there, even in New York, Philadelphia and Washington.

ESPN NFL insider Chris Mortensen comments on the national perception of the Dallas Cowboys.

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In the 2005 season opener at San Diego, Cowboys’ fans were so loud the Chargers had to use a silent count late in the game.

On Monday, Cowboys Stadium was hardly a home-field advantage. Of the 90,080 on hand, a number of them were Chicago fans and let their presence be known. As one “Let’s go Bears” chant broke out late, linebacker Brian Urlacher was seen mouthing, “Wow.”

“Last time we came down here, there’s nothing like hearing the “Let’s go Bears,” chant early and throughout the game,” Bears coach Lovie Smith said after the game. “I thought our fans were outstanding. The Chicago Bear colors were all around, they really were. I’m glad we are able to give our loyal fans that type of effort.”

Jason Garrett was asked about how loud the Bears fans were on Tuesday.

“Oh, the Bears have a great national following,” Garrett said. “They’ve had it for a long, long time, so that doesn’t surprise us. And certainly the way the game went, we gave them some reasons to get fired up. That’s just the nature of it. The Chicago people love their Bears. They have for a long, long time.”

Another visitor to Cowboys Stadium has a great national following, too. Pittsburgh visits Dec. 13. The last time the Steelers came to the area in 2004, Terrible Towels overran Texas Stadium. Cowboys Stadium could be more of the same.

After a 6-2 record to open the $1.2 billion stadium in 2009, the Cowboys have a 7-10 home record.

Tony Romo's picks remain the same

October, 4, 2012
IRVING, Texas -- Officially, Tony Romo’s five-interception game will remain a five-interception game.

ESPN NFL insider Chris Mortensen comments on the national perception of the Dallas Cowboys.

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Elias did not change the official statistician’s call from Monday night of Chicago linebacker Lance Briggs' 74-yard interception return to a 74-yard fumble return.

Replays appeared to show Bears defensive linemen Henry Melton poked the ball free as Romo climbed the pocket and was looking to flip the ball forward to Jason Witten, but the ruling at the time stands, to use the replay vernacular.

Monday's was the second five-interception game of Romo’s career. He was also picked off five times on Oct. 8, 2007, at Buffalo, but the Cowboys managed to win that game, 25-24. Romo and Eddie LeBaron are the only two quarterbacks in team history with two five-pick games.
IRVING, Texas – This could have been Dez Bryant’s breakout game. It should have been.

Bryant got open all night against Chicago cornerback Charles Tillman, whom the Bears had shadow him. Bryant caught eight passes for a career-high 105 yards, but nobody was talking about the plays he made after the Cowboys’ lopsided loss.

The killer mistakes that marred Bryant’s Monday night performance dominated the discussion about No. 88.

A mental bust by Bryant led to a pick-six for Tillman. And Bryant had three drops: one that made the Cowboys punt, one that forced them to settle for a field goal and one that could have been a touchdown pass on a deep ball.

Bryant frequently talks about earning the trust of quarterback Tony Romo by proving that he’s reliable. You reckon this was a leap in the wrong direction for their quarterback-receiver rapport?

“Not at all,” Bryant said. “I don’t think so, because I think Tony believes in me. He knows what kind of guy I am.”

Bryant is a flawed receiver with freakish physical gifts.

The flaws overshadowed the freakish talent in what could have been the first real dominant Dez performance in a Cowboys uniform. Instead, it was the biggest Dez disappointment so far in his NFL career.

The weekly throw-by-throw breakdown:

INCOMPLETION: Lined up wide right on third-and-4 from the Dallas 42 and ran a stop route against press coverage by cornerback Charles Tillman. Romo threw a perfect pass to Bryant’s back shoulder, but Bryant didn’t appear ready for the ball that went through his hands. Tillman got away with a quick grab of Bryant’s facemask just before the ball arrived, as Bryant pointed out to the side judge after the play.

16-YARD GAIN: Lined up split right on first-and-10 from the Dallas 26 and ran a deep crossing route against zone coverage. Made a diving catch in front of safety Chris Conte.

10-YARD GAIN: Lined up wide left on second-and-6 from the Dallas 46 and ran a hitch route against Tillman, who was playing off coverage. Caught the ball at the sticks and gained four yards after the catch.

INCOMPLETION: Lined up in the right slot on third-and-4 from the Chicago 38 and ran a fly route, getting wide open after beating Tillman’s press coverage with an inside move at the line of scrimmage and bending his route away from the safety in Cover 2. Romo overthrew the ball, costing the Cowboys a probable touchdown.

INTERCEPTION: Lined up wide left on third-and-9 from the Dallas 21 and ran a go route, reading the coverage incorrectly and allowing Tillman to make an easy interception that he returned 25 yards for a touchdown. With the Bears blitzing the safety on that side, Romo is relying on Bryant to adjust his route based on the corner’s coverage, running a hitch if the corner plays off or a go if the corner presses. Tillman fooled Bryant by lining up in press and bailing just before the snap. Tillman, knowing Romo had to make a quick throw with the safety unaccounted for by the Cowboys’ protection, just read the quarterback’s eyes and broke on the ball as Bryant ran by him.

11-YARD GAIN: Lined up wide left on second-and-6 from the Dallas 40 during a two-minute drill and ran a shallow crossing route. Caught the ball at the 43 and made Tillman miss, gaining eight yards after the catch.

7-YARD GAIN: Lined up in the right slot on first-and-10 from the Chicago 17 in the final minute of the first half and ran a shallow crossing route against zone coverage. He’s on the opposite side of the field by the time Romo, who scrambled away from pressure, delivered the ball. Bryant caught the ball at the line of scrimmage and turned upfield, getting tackled by three Bears instead of stepping out of bounds to stop the clock.

25-YARD GAIN: Lines up split left and ran a deep crossing route against Cover 2, getting wide open in the middle of the field after Tillman’s bump didn’t disrupt his route. Gained 10 yards after the catch, including five after contact by the safeties.

20-YARD GAIN: Lines up wide left on first-and-10 from the Chicago 36 and ran a flag route against Cover 2. Caught the ball in front of Conte and got both feet down before being shoved out of bounds.

INCOMPLETION: Lined up third-and-6 from the Chicago 22 and ran a slant route against Tillman. Romo’s pass went through Bryant’s hands and hit him in the chest before falling to the ground, killing the drive and forcing the Cowboys to settle for a field goal. Bryant made a nice move to cross over Tillman, but that didn’t matter due to an inexcusable drop.

9-YARD GAIN: Lined up wide right on first-and-10 from the Dallas 15 and ran a quick in cut against a deep Cover 2 look. Caught the ball in front of the linebackers and was tackled immediately.

INCOMPLETION: Lined up wide right on first-and-10 from the Dallas 31 and runs a slant-and-go against man coverage. Bryant gets wide open by torching Tillman, who bites on the double move, but drops a perfect pass from Romo for what might have been a touchdown. Bryant’s explanation: “I felt the sideline and I just wanted to stay in. I just focused a little bit too much on that sideline instead of making a play on the ball.”

7-YARD GAIN: Lined up wide left on second-and-10 from the Dallas 31 and ran a hitch against Tillman’s off coverage. Gained a couple of yards after contact, which came immediately after the catch.

2-POINT CONVERSION: Lined up wide right and ran a slant against Tim Jennings, catching the ball in the end zone.

Morris Claiborne learns from touchdown mistake

October, 3, 2012
IRVING, Texas – Morris Claiborne gave up the first touchdown of his career when he was beaten by Chicago’s Devin Hester for a 34-yard touchdown in the third quarter.

“It was all on me,” Claiborne said. “I feel like we had a good call up at that time. It was just me playing it wrong, playing it outside when I should’ve been inside. Chalk that up as a loss and learn from it and come back stronger the next time.”

Hester put a double move on Claiborne, faking to the outside to create even more room for Jay Cutler to make the throw. When he got to the sideline, secondary coach Jerome Henderson let him know he used the wrong leverage.

“I should’ve been inside from the start,” Claiborne said. “I was lingering outside and I paid for it.”

Claiborne nearly forced his first turnover of the season when he ripped the ball free from wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, but the officials overturned the call on replay. He is waiting for his first interception.

“I’m patiently waiting on that opportunity,” Claiborne said. “I feel like I had a couple of opportunities and missed my chance on it. Just waiting on the right one I guess.”

Postgame audio: Cowboys-Bears

October, 2, 2012

Cowboys QB Tony Romo weighs in on the mistakes and miscues in Monday's loss to the Bears.

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Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said the team did not take care of the ball and made too many mistakes to win.

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Cowboys LB Sean Lee discusses the play of the defense, focusing on their mistakes during the bye week and more.

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Cowboys WR Dez Bryant says DB Charles Tillman made a good play when he interecepted Tony Romo's pass.

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Cowboys TE Jason Witten says he is not worried about the offense, but is frustrated with the lack of execution.

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Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says he is disappointed with the loss to the Bears and surprised the team didn't play better.

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A Look Back: How the Bears slowed Ware

October, 2, 2012
IRVING, Texas -- Raise your hand if you thought DeMarcus Ware would be able to make Jay Cutler cuss out his left tackle J'Marcus Webb even more than he did a few weeks ago on Monday?

Cowboys LB Sean Lee discusses the play of the defense, focusing on their mistakes during the bye week and more.

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In this week’s Look Back, Chicago did its best to make sure Ware would be contained.

Of the seven possessions by Chicago (not including the two kneel downs and a three-and-out when the score was 34-10), the Bears made sure they knew where Ware was and mostly made sure Cutler got rid of the ball. The one time he didn’t Ware had his sack and fumble by chasing Cutler down from behind.

Ware has seen a backup tackle (Seattle was without Russell Okung) and a picked-on tackle in Webb and he has only been OK. His sack/fumble of Cutler on Monday was a huge play that gets lost when Tony Romo is intercepted (or fumbled) on the next play and is returned for a touchdown by Lance Briggs

Ware was singled up with Webb or right tackle Gabe Carimi 14 times in his pass rush. Seven times they gave some sort of help to the tackles with either a tight end or running back. Four times Ware was in coverage. He was off the field for one of Cutler’s passes to take a rest.

On Cutler’s long touchdown to Devin Hester, Ware was singled up by Webb but Cutler was throwing away from Ware and drifted away from any pressure. On Brandon Marshall’s big third-down catch on Brandon Carr, Ware was able to pressure up the middle but it was a quick throw. On Marshall’s 31-yard touchdown, Ware got caught in the wash as he looped inside.

For those of you wanting to believe Ware doesn’t make impact sacks, take a peek at how the Bears made sure they took Ware out of the game with shorter drops and quicker throws.

The secondary struggled to say the least against the Bears. A lot of the attention will go on Carr, but the Bears took advantage of the Cowboys’ safety play.

They were able to work the middle of the field against the Cowboys’ zone coverage to near perfection, especially with Marshall but Alshon Jeffery had his moments too. Gerald Sensabaugh might not want to look at the first drive of the third quarter.

Jeffery worked underneath for 14 yards against Sensabaugh. Marshall got him for 10 more a play later. And on Hester’s touchdown, Sensbaugh jumped an underneath receiver when Danny McCray was already apparently in position.

Hester uses a double move to break free from Morris Claiborne, but the rookie corner looks like he is playing outside leverage and expecting help inside to the post. It wasn’t there.

It wasn’t just Sensabaugh either. Mike Jenkins was beaten by Kellen Davis for a 21-yard pickup on third down with the score 24-10. Davis opened up the corner route by taking Jenkins inside for a few steps. Sensabaugh was in position for that but Jenkins lost contact with Davis, giving up the outside throw.

For those of you wanting Rob Ryan to blitz more, witness Marshall’s 31-yard touchdown. The Cowboys sent seven guys at Cutler, including Claiborne off the corner, and could not get home. Carr got caught up with Davis and McCray underneath, giving Marshall the middle of the field for what could have been the easiest touchdown of his career.

As Jean-Jacques Taylor noted this morning, this was another brutal game for the offense.

Jason Garrett was right about one thing: they were able to pick up yards in the passing game. The protection of Tony Romo was not that bad overall but Henry Melton’s forced pick/fumble that led to Briggs touchdown was a back breaker.

Right guard Mackenzy Bernadeau was beaten to his outside shoulder and caught off balance. He tried to push Melton by as Romo climbed the pocket but Melton was able to poke the ball free. I have a feeling this will be called a fumble after an official review of the play by the league and not an interception even as Romo was looking to flip the ball to Jason Witten.

That was a huge play, but the line’s pass protection was good enough. The Bears brought five-man or more pressures nine times and Romo completed 8 of 9 passes.

Romo will want a couple of throws back and we’re not talking about the interceptions in the second half. We’re talking two touchdown throws.

The first came in the second quarter. He missed Dez Bryant on a deep ball down the seam on man-to-man coverage after Felix Jones’ motioned wide to open up the throw. Romo either did not put enough air under the ball or threw it too early.

The second came in the third quarter with the Bears leading, 24-10. It was another deep ball down the seam, this time to Miles Austin. At the snap Austin beat the corner and the safety, Chris Conte, was late to cover up. Again Romo either didn’t put enough air under the ball or threw it too early.

The running game was non-existent and it wasn’t because the Bears were dedicating an extra defender to the box. They had only three eight-man fronts in the first half. The line could not get enough push. Simple as that.

But DeMarco Murray will lament a second-quarter toss play to the left. Jason Witten sealed the edge. Tyron Smith had Lance Briggs under control. Kevin Ogletree had safety Conte blocked and cornerback Charles Tillman took himself out of the play.

If Murray catches the toss from Romo, which was a good one, then he has a big gain. Maybe not a touchdown, but certainly a first down and perhaps his second-longest run of the season.

Making that hurt even more? Romo and Bryant had a miscommunication on the next play that led to Tillman’s pick six.

There were 122 plays -- 68 on offense, 54 on defense -- in Chicago’s 34-18 thumping of the Cowboys’ on Monday night. Here are five plays that shaped the game.

Play: Tony Romo incompletion
Situation: Third-and-4 at Chicago 38
Score: Tied, 0-0
Time: 11:37 second quarter
Taylor's Take: On the Cowboys’ third possession, Tony Romo finally found a matchup he could exploit. Dez Bryant, running free behind the secondary, was wide open in the end zone, but Romo overthrew him and the Cowboys punted. The Bears don’t give you many opportunities for big plays and Romo blew it.


Which play had the biggest impact on the Cowboys' loss to the Bears?


Discuss (Total votes: 1,519)

Play: Victor Butler misses sack
Situation: Third-and-10 at 50
Score: Tied, 0-0
Time: 7:54 second quarter
Taylor's Take: Butler has been aching to play, but Anthony Spencer’s all-around performance limited his playing time. Spencer missed the game with a strained chest muscle, giving Butler an opportunity to play. Butler beat right tackle Gabe Carimi at the snap and put both hands on Cutler, who spun out of the linebacker’s grasp and completed a 16-yard pass for a first down.

Play: Tony Romo incompletion
Situation: Second-and-6 at Chicago 22
Score: Chicago, 24-7
Time: 2:25 Third quarter
Taylor's Take: For the second time in the game, Romo spies a wide open receiver and can’t convert the throw that would’ve pulled the Cowboys within 10 points with 17 minutes left to play. Instead, Dallas settled for a field goal.

Play: Tony Romo interception
Situation: First-and-10 at Chicago 26
Score: Chicago, 17-7
Time: 6:25 Third quarter
Taylor's Take: For the second consecutive week, Romo makes a dumb decision that results in a turnover. As the pocket collapsed, Romo tried to shovel the ball to Jason Witten instead of taking the sack. Lance Briggs intercepted the pass and returned it 74 yards for a touchdown and an insurmountable 24-7 lead.

Play: Dez Bryant drop
Situation: First-and-10 at Dallas 32
Score: Chicago leads, 27-10
Time: 10:27
Taylor's Take: The only way to make a miracle comeback is with a quick strike. Bryant was running free down the right sideline - this time Romo threw a perfect pass - but Bryant dropped the pass. Instead of pulling within 10 points. Six plays later, Romo threw his fifth interception.

Cowboys pressure fails to rattle Jay Cutler

October, 2, 2012
ARLINGTON, Texas --Getting to Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was a must for the Dallas Cowboys defense Monday night.

Cutler was sacked twice, fumbling on a DeMarcus Ware, strip sack, but overall the pressure didn't seem to bother him.

According to ESPN's Stats and Information Department, Culter had completed just 45 percent of his passes against five or more pass rushers, second worst in the league. But in the second half, Cutler was fantastic against added pressure.

Cutler went 6-6 for 127 yards in the second half against pressures of five or more.

"We didn't get to him enough but (if) you know what's coming at you, you know how to get the ball out of your hands," said Ware, who finished with three tackles along with the sack.

Cutler was hit three times by the Cowboys defense.

"We have to do our job week in and week out," center Roberto Garza said. "Obviously on a big stage like this, against a good defense, there was a little more pressure on us. But that's part of what we do. We're excited to go out there and execute our game plan. There's a lot we can clean (up), but our skills did a hell of a job (Monday)."

Loss will linger, but will it haunt Cowboys?

October, 2, 2012

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Remember way back on Sept. 5 when the Dallas Cowboys beat the New York Giants to open the season? Seems like a lifetime ago, doesn't it?

It wasn't even a month ago, but after an embarrassing 34-18 loss to the Chicago Bears on Monday, the Cowboys find themselves having to chase the season in the same way they had to last year.

With the Cowboys Stadium roof open under a clear night, Tony Romo was intercepted five times and had two of those picks returned for touchdowns.

Almost a year ago to the day, the Cowboys found themselves chasing the season after a 34-30 loss to Detroit and never recovered, finishing 8-8 and missing the playoffs. The Cowboys blew a 27-3 lead that day and Romo had two interceptions returned for touchdowns by the Lions to kick-start Detroit's comeback.

And like that Lions game, Monday's loss leads into the Cowboys' bye week.

"You don't need this as a wake-up," tight end Jason Witten said. "We knew what this game meant."

A win meant 3-1, progress, a potential wild-card tiebreaker down the road and a sense of accomplishment through the first quarter of the season. A loss means 2-2, inconsistency, the loss of a wild-card tiebreaker down the road and a sense of befuddlement with a first-team offense that has totaled three touchdowns in the last three games.

Now the Cowboys have to wait until Oct. 14 to play again, and they will have only one day of practice this week thanks to NFL rules. After Wednesday's workout, they will be off from Thursday to Sunday.

For more on what Monday's loss meant to the Cowboys, click here.

Discuss: Can Dez Bryant ever become 'elite'?

October, 2, 2012
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Dez Bryant summoned a reporter to his locker. He was ready to talk. But it also seemed as if he was ready to bare his soul.

He had a bad game. Make that terrible game.

The stat sheet says the Dallas Cowboys wide receiver finished with eight catches for a career-high 105 yards and no touchdowns in the Cowboys' 34-18 loss to the Chicago Bears on Monday night.

He was targeted 13 times. On three of those plays, he failed miserably.

It's these nights that leave you questioning whether Bryant can become an elite receiver. Given his unsettling background while growing up in Lufkin, Texas, the Cowboys gambled and selected him with the 24th pick of the first round back in 2010. Bryant's life away from the field as a professional has been a mess.

It makes you wonder if he's worth all the trouble.

Maybe not, because Bryant isn't close to being an elite receiver.

"Very, very, very, very, very, very average," Bryant said when asked about his Monday night efforts. "Yeah, I felt like, me personally, I could have played better and I feel like each and every week it's going to get better. [I've] just got to keep fighting through adversity. I can make plays and I know my teammates believe in me. Just got to let this one go and get ready for Baltimore."

For more on Dez Bryant's night, click here.

Jason Witten returns to form

October, 2, 2012
ARLINGTON, Texas -- If there was one positive that came from Monday’s shellacking against Chicago, it was that Jason Witten was Jason Witten again.

Cowboys TE Jason Witten says he is not worried about the offense, but is frustrated with the lack of execution.

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He had five drops in the first three games as he came back from a lacerated spleen, but he caught all 13 passes that were thrown his way against the Bears for 112 yards and a 5-yard touchdown pass with 34 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

“Hey, look I never doubted myself,” Witten said. “A lot of those were tough catches that I expect and we expect me to make. I don’t blink at those. I know what I’m capable of. I know how I feel and play. I was able to get some drives going, but it should be the other way around. It shouldn’t be a surprise. It should be a surprise the way it was (with the drops). You’ve got to stay confident and play better and better.”

Witten’s 13 catches were the third most he has had in a game and the 112 yards marked the 15th time he topped 100 yards in a game. His touchdown was the 42nd of his career, moving him to sixth in team history.

Witten also became the third tight end in NFL history to surpass 8,000 receiving yards in a career. He has 8,097 yards, trailing only Tony Gonzalez and Shannon Sharpe. Witten did it in 147 games, the quickest among the tight ends. Gonzalez did it in 149 games.

Drive of the game: Major Wright's interception

October, 2, 2012
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Cowboys didn’t need to play perfectly to beat Chicago on Monday, but they certainly couldn’t give the Bears so many opportunities.

Trailing, 17-7, after the first drive of the third quarter, the Cowboys appeared ready to answer Jay Cutler’s touchdown pass to Devin Hester with one of their own.

Tony Romo completed four straight passes to Kevin Ogletree, Jason Witten and Dez Bryant twice for 63 yards, but after a 2-yard loss by DeMarco Murray, Ogletree let a slant pass bounce off his arm into the air for a Major Wright interception at the Chicago 6.

The Cowboys and Bears ping-ponged turnovers but Lance Briggs was able to return an interception 74 yards for a Chicago touchdown to make it 24-7 with 6:11 left in the third quarter.

“I felt we were up and down the field throwing,” coach Jason Garrett said. “Just at different times they made the key plays. We got down to the red zone and they made an interception preventing us from getting a score.”

Brandon Carr takes blame for Brandon Marshall

October, 2, 2012
ARLINGTON, Texas – For the first time as a Cowboy, Brandon Carr didn’t look like 50 million bucks Monday night.

The Cowboys signed Carr this offseason to give them a shutdown cornerback capable of taking No. 1 receivers out of the game. Carr called himself out after Chicago’s Brandon Marshall torched the Cowboys for 138 yards and a touchdown on seven catches.

Not all of Marshall’s receptions came against Carr. He made some big plays when the Bears managed to get him matched up on safeties in the middle of the field.

But Carr couldn’t stop Marshall, who caught every pass intended for him except for one. One play particularly stuck in Carr’s craw: Marshall’s leaping catch over Carr for a 30-yard gain to set up a field goal that stretched Chicago’s lead to 17 early in the fourth quarter.

“I knew it was going to be a 60-minute battle,” said Carr, who was familiar with Marshall from their AFC West days with the Chiefs and Broncos. “I knew his capabilities. He got some plays on me. He’s a good receiver. Hat off to him, but you know … ah, I don’t know what to say.”

At this point, Carr paused, tilted his head back and let out a frustrated shout.

“I am frustrated, I’m sorry,” Carr said. “It’s just tough. I have to find a way to get those balls out, especially that deep ball.”

Carr embraces the standards that come along with his $50 million contract. He didn’t live up to them Monday night.