For the past few seasons, the Dallas Cowboys have been on a roller coaster ride that they can’t seem to get off of. Some weeks, they are flawless, and others, like last night’s 34-18 loss to the Chicago Bears, they are abysmal. Struggling to find any kind of offensive rhythm, Dallas dropped to 2-2 on the season with five of Tony Romo’s 43 passes going to the wrong team. And two of those were returned for Chicago scores.
“Just outstanding play by our defense,” said Bear’s coach Lovie Smith in an ESPN.com article. “It seemed like everybody had a say in it.”
While Romo struggled, Jay Cutler thrived; completing 18 of 24 throws for 275 yards and two touchdowns. Cutler did not throw an interception and at halftime, was a near-perfect 11 for 12.
After an early Robbie Gould field-goal, the Bears struck pay-dirt on a 25-yard interception return by Charles Tillman just three minutes before the break. Dallas failed to make the necessary adjustments as Romo was picked again in the third quarter, this time by linebacker Lance Briggs, who took it 74 yards for another score. After a Cutler TD pass to Brandon Marshall in the fourth, it was all but over with the score at 34-10. Dallas added a meaningless touchdown with under a minute to go and converted the two-pointer to reach the 34-18 final.
The loss is obviously a tough one to swallow for Dallas, who has high expectations put on them every season, but who also sets the bar high for itself.
“This has to be a wake-up call for us. I don’t say that nonchalantly. It has to be,” said Dallas tight end Jason Witten. “You can’t bounce back and forth like this, and try to compete come December-time. You can’t do it. We have been in that situation before. You cannot do it. And we know that, and we’ll get better.”
Luckily for Dallas, it gets a rest this weekend and will to look to regroup after the bye, but the Cowboys will have to step up their game as they take on the 3-1 Baltimore Ravens on October 14th, the always dangerous Carolina Panthers a week after that and the defending champion New York Giants a week later.
The Bears, now 3-1, will look to keep their positive momentum rolling this weekend against Jacksonville and then the following week against an underachieving Detroit team. Look for Chicago to take it to the Jags even on the road and cover up to 10 points.
Going forward, Dallas is a team you may want to avoid betting in favor of due to its unpredictability, while the Bears may be a bandwagon you should jump on, as they are certainly finding a groove.