Monday, October 1, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Bears 34, Cowboys 18
By Calvin Watkins
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Jay Cutler is not one to smile during a game. It's not in his nature.
Monday night, he did.
After Brandon Marshall caught a 31-yard touchdown pass to give the Chicago Bears a commanding 24-point lead against the Dallas Cowboys, Cutler slapped fives with linebacker Brian Urlacher and had one of those "I just won the lottery" smiles.
Tony Romo didn't have one of those smiles. He had frustration on his face and used a profanity after throwing a crowd-clearing interception with 5:51 to play in a distasteful, 34-18 loss to the Bears.
What it means: At 2-2, the Cowboys' odds of making the postseason stand at 35.3 percent. Under the current playoff format, 71 of 201 teams in their position have made the postseason. The Cowboys are heading into a bye week that will only raise questions about just how good or bad they are. This is the second consecutive season they have started 2-2 going into a bye. The last time the Cowboys had a record above .500 into a week off was 2009, and they were 3-2.
Turnovers hurt: Romo tied a career high with five interceptions. Some of the picks weren't his fault. Dez Bryant ran the wrong route that led to one pick; Kevin Ogletree failed to hold on to a pass for another. But the other three could be blamed on Romo. For the night, Romo completed 31 of 43 passes for 307 yards with one touchdown to go with the five picks. Kyle Orton replaced Romo late in the fourth quarter. It was a poor performance by Romo, who watched Jay Cutler outplay him. Cutler completed 18 passes on 24 attempts for 275 yards and two touchdowns.
Carr struggles: Brandon Carr did a nice job covering Vincent Jackson in the win over Tampa Bay last week, but not so much against Brandon Marshall. Marshall caught seven passes for 138 yards, and his only touchdown reception caught Carr in a pick play in which he failed to get past Kellen Davis.
Pass rush isn't there: Cutler was sacked just once Monday night, but he didn't get hit often by the Cowboys' pass rush. There were times when outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware couldn't reach Cutler, who got rid of the ball quickly. Without Anthony Spencer (pectoral muscle strain) and for a few snaps inside linebacker Bruce Carter (hip), the Cowboys were lacking in the pass rush. It was a long night for it as Cutler picked apart the Cowboys' secondary.
No drops for Witten: The NFL leader in drops, tight end Jason Witten had none. He finished with 13 catches for 112 yards and a late touchdown, coming with 34 seconds to play. Witten was just two catches shy of his career high. Witten has five drops through four games.
What's next? A bye week, and thank goodness, at least for the Cowboys. The Cowboys will have one practice this week, on Wednesday, before taking four days off. When they return, nose tackle Jay Ratliff (ankle), who has missed the first four games of the season, could make his season debut. Center Phil Costa, who played just three snaps in the season opener, could also make a return to the starting lineup.