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Sunday, September 19, 2010
Welcome to Arlington: The home opener

By Calvin Watkins



ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Cowboys (0-1) have their home opener today against the Chicago Bears (1-0) at Cowboys Stadium.

Dallas has won three of its last four home openers, losing last year's home opener in the first regular-season NFL game at Cowboys Stadium to the New York Giants.

That was also the debut of ESPNDallas.com

Now, back to this game.

Cowboys update:The Cowboys' offense is struggling. It scored only one touchdown in the season opener last week vs. the Washington Redskins, missed a field goal and had another touchdown negated by a holding call on Alex Barron at the final buzzer. Dallas will have the return of two of its offensive starters, left guard Kyle Kosier (knee) and right tackle Marc Colombo (knee). Kosier said Friday he feels 100 percent and Colombo has expressed similar thoughts. Colombo and Kosier might not play every snap, so Montrae Holland and Barron should get some snaps.

Bears update:You think the Cowboys have problems? The Bears are coming off a win, and coach Lovie Smith was questioned for going for it on a fourth-and-1 at the Lions 1 in the fourth quarter. Smith said it was his fault, but offensive coordinator Mike Martz said it was his fault. Sounds like Dallas. Devin Hester, the alleged No. 1 receiver for the Bears, got one catch for 17 yards vs. the Lions, and there appears to be a rift between him and quarterback Jay Cutler. If the Bears go 2-0, their Week 3 home game against Green Bay will be an important NFC North showdown in September.

Cowboys inactives: 3QB Stephen McGee, FB Deon Anderson, LB Sean Lee, LB Brandon Williams, C Phil Costa, OT Sam Young, OT Robert Brewster, DE Sean Lissemore.

Bears inactives: 3QB Caleb Hanie, S Craig Steltz, CB Joshua Moore, RB Kahlil Bell, LB Nick Roach, OT J’Marcus Webb, DE Corey Wootton, DT Marcus Harrison.

Officials: Referee Scott Green, umpire Bruce Stritesky, head linesman Tom Stabile, line judge Tom Barnes, field judge Dyrol Prioleau, side judge Larry Rose, back judge Scott Helverson, instant replay official Carl Madsen.

Scouts scheduled to attend: New York Giants, Houston Texans, Green Bay Packers

Football Outsiders insight: Bears running back Matt Forte, who rushed for 50 yards on 17 carries, was stuffed four times from the 1-yard line last week. Given the historical rate of conversion from there, an average back would have scored 2.2 touchdowns. For a single game, it was the third-worst performance of the past 11 years. Last year, Forte had the second-worst performance of any back inside the 5-yard line in the past ten seasons.

Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo converted only two of the nine third downs he faced. Why? His average third down came with 12.6 yards to go, and he never faced anything easier than a third-and-8. Last year, Romo converted just under 41 percent of his third downs into first downs or touchdowns, but his average third down came with 8.4 yards to go.