As I listened to the NFL analysts picking their winners and losers over the weekend, the consensus was the Chicago Bears did not stand much of a chance against the Dallas Cowboys when the teams faced off on October 1. At the risk of going against the majority, I predicted the Bears would win if their offense could find a way to play as well as their defense had been playing so far this season. As luck would have it, the offense finally showed some signs of life as the Bears defeated the Cowboys 34-18 to improve to 3-1 on the season. Here are my grades on how the Bears performed on both sides of the football.
Offense - B+:
After two poor showings against the Green Bay Packers and the Saint Louis Rams, the Bears' offense finally came out of hibernation against one of the better defenses in the league. Jay Cutler had his best game of the season, completing 18 of 24 passes for 275 yards along with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Cutler also did a good job of getting outside the pocket and making plays when the protection broke down.
The offensive line did an efficient job of keeping Cutler upright, only allowing two sacks. As a result, the passing game flourished as four different receivers recorded at least three receptions. Brandon Marshall led the team with seven catches totaling 138 yards. The ground attack was not overpowering as Matt Forte and Michael Bush combined for only 81 yards. However, it was just enough to keep the Cowboys' defense off-balance.
Defense - A:
Last week I received a lot of criticism for not giving the defense a higher grade, but that will not be the case here. While Tony Romo did throw for 307 yards and was sacked only once, the Bears' pass-rush was outstanding for most of the game. In addition to that, we forced five turnovers, including two interceptions that were returned for touchdowns. Our defense was also solid against the run, limiting the Cowboys to just 37 yards on 12 carries. Prior to the season, it was said the defense was getting old, but they have been the staple of the team so far and this unit played a key role in this victory.
James Tillman III is a resident of the Chicago-land area, who has followed the Bears for more than twenty seasons. James is also a Featured Sports Contributor for Yahoo! Network and a Sports Journalist for Sports Rantz Magazine. Follow him on Twitter @jtillman9693
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