The Dallas Cowboys dropped to 6-7 on the season after falling to yet another above .500 club on Thursday Night Football as the Chicago Bears handed them a 31-24 defeat at Soldier Field.
This game wasn't as close as the final score would suggest as the Bears were very much in control throughout the evening. At the start, however, it looked like it'd be a game that the Cowboys would dominate after they opened the contest with a 17 play drive that traveled 75 yards, took nearly nine minutes and resulted in a touchdown. That drive, however, proved to be an outlier in what was a rather hellish night for Jason Garrett's club.
Chicago, meanwhile, was tremendous poise throughout and quarterback Mitch Trubisky made plenty of throws that not only should give the Bears confidence for this season but potentially going forward as well.
This win does keep Chicago's playoffs hopes alive, while Dallas may stumble into the postseason by default. For more on this game, however, check out our main takeaways below.
The Cowboys fell below .500 after losing to the Bears, so what happens to Jason Garrett? Will Brinson and the Pick Six Podcast Superfriends are here to break everything down. Listen below and be sure to subscribe for daily NFL goodness.
Why the Bears won
Chicago was able to withstand Dallas' opening drive and really dominate the rest of the game. Mitch Trubisky did have that interception on the Bears' first offensive possession, but he played extremely well in this contest. He looked comfortable in the pocket, didn't make many poor decisions, was able to hit tight windows and even showed a bit more willingness to utilize his legs.
He completed 23 of his 31 passes for 244 yards and three touchdowns. After his pick, he led Chicago on four straight scoring drives (three touchdowns, one field goal). Arguably his best throw of the night came with under a minute left in the first half when he threaded the needled between two Dallas defenders on a first-and-15 pass to receiver Antony Miller for 21 yards. That throw helped Chicago ensure a double-score scenario sandwiched around halftime.
The Bears really kept things rather simply on the offensive side of the ball. Head coach Matt Nagy did call a tight end screen to J.P Holtz in the first half that helped set up their first touchdown of the game, but they did simply expose some of the weaknesses of Dallas. Of course, the poor tackling will be highlighted more below, but in the closing seconds of the first half, Chicago seemingly liked the matchup they had against Cowboys corner Jaylon Smith as they threw in his direction three-straight times before Allen Robinson hauled in his second touchdown of the game.
Defensively, the Bears were able to really negate Cowboys star receiver, Amari Cooper. He did have a touchdown late and finished with 83 yards receiving, but he mostly was held in check when the game was more in question. They also completely shut down this Dallas offense on third down for most of the game.
Why the Cowboys lost
Dallas lost in a somewhat similar fashion to how they were upset by the Bills on Thanksgiving. After a long, promising opening drive that resulted in a touchdown, the Cowboys offense and defense simply fell apart.
On the defensive side of the ball, poor tackling was apparent throughout the contest as the Dallas didn't have much of an answer for running back David Montgomery, who rushed for 86 yards, or anyone else for that matter. One killer play that displayed their poor tackling came in the third quarter on Chicago's opening touchdown of the half. Receiver Cordarrelle Patterson was able to haul in a third-and-9 pass from Mitch Trubisky and take it 33 yards down the field to extend the drive. Most of those yards came after he initially broke a tackle following his catch and Dallas couldn't close in on him Trubisky himself was able to shed a number of tackles on his 23-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to completely blow the game open.
Along with the tackling issues, the Cowboys shot themselves in the foot on a number of occasions. Penalties helped Chicago extend drives that ultimately led to touchdowns. On the night, they were called for six penalties and three resulted in Bears first downs.
Kicking was also an issue for Dallas as Brett Maher missed a 42 yarder and gave Chicago great field position on what ended up being the drive that Trubisky rushed for a touchdown. Right after Dallas was able to create a turnover and go on a touchdown drive to shrink Chicago's lead to 10, Maher booted the ensuing kickoff out of bounds, which placed the ball at the Bears 40-yard line. With that great field position, it took Chicago just three plays to find the end zone and essentially ice the game.
Outside of their opening drive where they converted all four of their third-down attempts, Dallas converted just two of their eleven other third-down attempts. Not exactly a winning formula.
Chicago was able to sandwich back-to-back touchdown drives around halftime. After the Cowboys kicker Brett Maher couldn't net the 42-yarder on Dallas' last possession of the first half, the Bears were able to run a two-minute drive that resulted in Allen Robinson's second touchdown grab of the night. Coming out of the half, the Bears took the kickoff, drove the ball 84 yards, and ended with a touchdown catch by Anthony Miller and put Chicago up, 24-7.
Dallas was able to make a bit of a resurgence late in the game, but this is where the Bears really separated themselves and put the Cowboys in a hole they couldn't get out of.
Play of the Game
With just over 90 seconds to play in the opening quarter, Mitch Trubiskey dropped back to pass and attempted a throw to receiver Javon Wims, but overthrew him and the ball landed in the arms of Dallas corner Jourdan Lewis, who made a toe-dragging interception at the 1-yard-line.
Chicago was moving the ball well on this drive and was poised to put up points on their first possession. Outside of negating a Bears scoring opportunity, however, this interception proved to be inconsequential as Dallas went three-and-out on the ensuing drive. That said, you can't deny the concentration by Lewis here to not only make the grab, but he also kept his feet in bounds. One of the lone bright spots for Dallas in Week 14.
This is the third straight loss for Dallas as they now fall a game under .500. They're still in first place in the NFC East, but you do have to wonder if Garrett's will survive the season at this rate. His seat has to be white-hot at the moment.
From here the Cowboys will head back to Dallas and await the Los Angeles Rams, who will host the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday Night Football later this weekend. Meanwhile, the Bears will get out of Chicago and take on NFC North rival Green Bay at Lambeau Field. They'll be facing a Packers team that is coming off a home contest against Washington.
To see how all this action went down in real-time, check out our live blog from earlier tonight below.