As a result, the Bears will be trying to get off to their best start since 2006, while the Cowboys look to avoid opening 0-2 for the first time in nine years Sunday at Cowboys Stadium.
Chicago (1-0) beat Detroit 19-14 last week when an apparent 25-yard touchdown catch by the Lions’ Calvin Johnson(notes) was ruled incomplete. The Bears then prevented the Lions from completing two subsequent passes to their star wide receiver.
The ruling overshadowed strong efforts from the team’s offense and defense.
Cutler threw for 372 yards, the most in his 17 games with the team, and connected with Matt Forte(notes) on a pair of touchdowns. Along with scoring on an 89-yard screen pass late in the second quarter, Forte made a 28-yard catch that gave Chicago the lead with 1:32 remaining.
Forte had seven receptions for 151 yards - six shy of matching the most by a running back in team history - and finished with 201 of the Bears’ 463 yards. He was named NFC offensive player of the week for the first time.
Chicago allowed 168 yards, forced three turnovers and recorded two sacks, including one just before halftime by Julius Peppers(notes) that forced a fumble and knocked Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford(notes) out of the game.
The Bears are looking to begin 2-0 for the first time since their Super Bowl year five seasons ago, but that might not happen if they can’t correct some mistakes.
Chicago committed four turnovers - three in Lions territory. They also had to overcome coach Lovie Smith’s puzzling decision to go for a touchdown on fourth-and-1 with less than nine minutes to go instead of opting for a go-ahead field goal.
That night in Washington, the Cowboys thought they had a touchdown on Tony Romo’s(notes) 13-yard pass to Roy Williams as time expired. That score, however, was negated by right tackle Alex Barron’s(notes) holding penalty, handing Dallas a 13-7 defeat.
“I mean, it happens,” Williams said. “You don’t want it to happen in that situation. You’d rather it happen in the first quarter or the second quarter; the last play of the game, it’s tough.”
The Cowboys gained 380 yards but got their only points on a 4-yard pass from Romo to Miles Austin(notes) late in the third quarter. Dallas got inside the Redskins’ 40-yard line on three of its first four drives but came away empty each time.
“We may be limping a little bit, but you can still come out of the gate and play well,” he said.
The Cowboys may also get some help as they try to avoid their first 0-2 start since dropping their first four games in the 2001 season.
Dallas is looking for its third straight win over Chicago and fourth in a row at home in the series. The Cowboys have won six of nine all-time home meetings.
The Cowboys hold an 11-8 edge in the series after winning four of the past six matchups.