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End of half hurt Cowboys in big way

12/10/2013

CHICAGO -- In October against the Denver Broncos, the Dallas Cowboys were able to match Peyton Manning nearly score for score.

They weren't as fortunate Monday against the Josh McCown-led Chicago Bears.

The Bears scored on their first eight possessions. For the Cowboys it fell apart late in the second quarter when they were trailing 17-14.

Taking over at their 29 with 1:27 to go in the first half the Cowboys were ready to use their hurry-up offense to get in position for a field goal or touchdown. Tony Romo had thrived in those situations of late and the drive got off to a good start with a first-down completion to Dez Bryant for 10 yards.

But Bryant got hurt on the play and the Cowboys were forced to take a timeout with 1:13 to play. Jason Witten could not hold on to Romo's next pass. On second down Romo threw a bullet to DeMarco Murray from close range that was incomplete. On third down Romo missed Terrance Williams and the Cowboys were forced to punt.

Chicago took over from its 40 with 47 seconds to play and needed just five plays and 37 seconds for Alshon Jeffery to out jump B.W. Webb and Jeff Heath for a 25-yard touchdown in the corner of the end zone to give the Bears s 24-14 halftime lead.

“The way the game was going, I feel like you need to put points on the board,” Romo said. “You have that opportunity, you feel like you needed to score points. We were trying to be aggressive in that situation. Obviously, it didn't work.”

While most of the focus of the loss was rightfully on the Cowboys defense, that drive highlighted the offensive problems.

“It's a team loss,” coach Jason Garrett said. “Let me make that abundantly clear. We didn't do enough offensively to win this ballgame. We didn't do enough in the kicking game to win this ballgame. We understand that and again when you play a game like that where you have to match them, you have to match them. And you can't go three and out and give them another opportunity before the half. You have to convert those third downs and keep drives alive. It's as simple as that.”