Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Dallas Cowboys [Print without images]

Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Vote: Five plays that shaped the Cowboys' loss

By Jean-Jacques Taylor


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.

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.