Offense shows promise, but Bears defense has no answers for Cowboys
The Bears offense took another step forward Sunday, but the defense was the letdown in a 49-29 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Here’s what you need to know.
Three moments that mattered
1. Ballgame: Dallas running back Tony Pollard rushed for his third touchdown of the afternoon on a 54-yard run to make it 49-29 with 10:35 left in the game. The Bears had been able to inch within a possession at one point early in the second half, but clearly, Dallas had more than enough to work with to secure a comfortable victory.
2. D’oh: Justin Fields found David Montgomery for a 13-yard gain, but he fumbled the ball and it was recovered by Micah Parsons. On the 36-yard return, Justin Fields didn’t touch down Parsons and he was able to return it for a touchdown for the 42-23 Dallas lead with 5:00 remaining in the third quarter. That’s a mental error that can’t happen.
3. Momentum swing: A roughing-the-passer penalty negated a Fields interception with 57 seconds left in the first half. N’Keal Harry then hauled in a 17-yard touchdown catch to get the Bears within 28-14. Cowboys QB Dak Prescott was then promptly intercepted by Eddie Jackson. The return set up an eventual Cairo Santos field goal to make it 28-17 Cowboys going into the half.
Three things that worked
1. Another day at the office: One of the league’s premier rushing attacks was again effective. Sunday marked its third consecutive game with at least 200 yards rushing. The first time that’s happened was 1968, per the Fox telecast. The Bears rushed for 240 yards on 43 attempts.
2. Fields: Throw out the stat sheet; although, it still looks pretty good at a glance, anyway, with a 17 for 23, 151 passing yards, 60 rushing yards and three total touchdowns. Fields had a few throws simply dropped that could’ve been touchdowns by Dante Pettis and Velus Jones Jr. Fields’ short-yardage throws were more accurate than usual. When Fields can combine that type of game as a passer with his obvious scramble ability, you can see the special ability come to life.
3. About time: Tight end Cole Kmet has arguably underwhelmed, but he did score his first touchdown since December 2020. It’s just a small snapshot of an offense showing legitimate signs of growth.
Three things that didn’t
1. Take your pick: The Bears defense surrendered 202 rushing yards, 443 total yards and had no answers for Pollard, CeeDee Lamb or much anyone else. It’s hard to win football games when giving up nearly 50 points, the most allowed since 2014.
2. Hot knife through butter: The Cowboys had zero trouble establishing the run as part of their offensive game plan. By the middle of the second quarter, Pollard had averaged more than 7 yards per carry and had three rushing touchdowns by game’s end. No Ezekiel Elliott? No problem.
3. 4-for-4: The Cowboys’ first four possessions ended with touchdowns. Dallas had 278 total yards and averaged 8.4 yards per play at that point. The Bears’ defense clearly struggled and Dallas didn’t have any trouble moving the ball. Plain and simple.
The Miami Dolphins visit the Bears at Soldier Field next Sunday. Kickoff is at noon.