The Bears realize they have more to worry about than possible home-field advantage in the playoffs after dropping a 34-10 decision to Dallas. Like making the playoffs. Like getting healthy. Like finding confidence offensively.
Passing game? Decided edge Dallas. Defense? Clear edge to Dallas as well.
Special teams? No big deal.
Add it up, and the Dallas Cowboys showed superiority where it counted in a big-build-up, early-season showdown Sunday at Soldier Field.
The Chicago Bears realize they have more to worry about than possible home-field advantage in the playoffs after dropping a 34-10 decision to Dallas.
Like making the playoffs. Like getting healthy. Like finding confidence offensively.
“We have to come to practice tomorrow (today), have a team meeting, work out, watch the tape, learn from it and get better, realize we’re a good football team and fix our problems,” Bears quarterback Rex Grossman said.
“We HAVE to start playing better. Everyone realizes that. This week, we’re going to determine how we’re going to do that.”
They know their offense doesn’t rate with one as revved up as the Cowboys’ right now.
They now don’t know what kind of defense they have, not after Lance Briggs, Nathan Vasher and Tommie Harris all were banged up in the demoralizing loss.
Devin Hester also had three cases of the dropsies, which the Bears will have to hope wasn’t an indication of future difficulties.
The win left Dallas as the only unbeaten team in the NFC along with Green Bay, both 3-0. Chicago dropped to 1-2 heading into a Sunday game at 2-1 Detroit.
Quarterback Tony Romo clearly outplayed Grossman in one of the evening’s top storylines. It wasn’t so much what Grossman didn’t do as much as it was what Romo did.
In the second half, Romo did pretty much anything he wanted.
A depleted Bears defense didn’t help.
“We knew coming in he (Romo) was good, but he was better than what we saw (on tape),” head coach Lovie Smith said.
The Chicago offense was out of sync nearly all evening.
“We haven’t gotten anything going yet,” Smith said. “We’re better than we’ve shown.”
“It’s on my shoulders as well,” Grossman said. “I have to start taking care of the ball and making plays.”
Will Smith start making changes?
“Rex Grossman is our quarterback,” he said. “We don’t make decisions until we watch the video. I’m sure he’ll take a lot of the blame.”
Smith said all he was going to give was “the standard answers,” and that “change could come at all positions.”
Whatever Smith decides, the team can’t keep getting outgained 431-239 like it did Sunday. Dallas had the ball for 35 minutes, 21 seconds, picking up 300 net yards in the air.
Chicago had 75 yards rushing, 195 passing and four turnovers.
“Turnovers are killing us,” he said. “We didn’t get a lot done, whether it was bad passes or dropped balls.”
The two teams began the night playing copycat as long as they could.
Chicago kicked a field goal; Dallas kicked one. Dallas missed a great scoring chance; Chicago did likewise.
Dallas went on a long touchdown drive; Chicago followed suit.
Finally, Chicago blinked.
“Tonight,” Smith said, “was their night.”
Dallas went on two long touchdown marches to open the second half, and Chicago couldn’t keep up.
Romo finished 22-of-35 for 329 yards, two scores, one interception and a QB rating of 100.8.
He hit Jason Witten and Marion Barber for touchdowns, while Barber also tallied on a 1-yard run. Corner Anthony Henry returned an interception 28 yards for another score, and Nick Folk nailed two field goals.
The first half proved nothing. Both teams traded field goals and missed scoring opportunities.
Robbie Gould connected from 20 yards for a 3-0 lead at 3:09 of the first quarter, only to have Folk knot it 3-3 with a 30-yarder at 8:49 of the second quarter.
Dallas wideout Patrick Crayton dropped an easy potential 5-yard touchdown pass in the end zone late in the first half. Then Chicago’s Israel Idonije blocked a field-goal attempt on the next play, with Adam Archuleta returning the ball to the Cowboy 46. But the Bears ended up trying a fake field goal from 53 yards that resulted in an incomplete pass by Gould.
Chicago’s defense put Dallas in third-and-long on every series of the first half – 3-10, 3-15, 3-20, 1-20, 3-10, 3-18 and 2-20. The Cowboys only converted on first-and-20.
Bernard Berrian was the offensive star before halftime with five catches for 62 yards. But he dropped a wide-open pass inside the Dallas 20 in the final two minutes of the second quarter.
Reed Schreck is the NFL writer for the Rockford Register Star. Contact him at 815-987-1381 or firstname.lastname@example.org.