Posted October 02, 2012

Bumbling Cowboys make Bears, their fans feel right at home with loss

Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys

Tony Romo (bottom) exhibited the same old problems against the ball-hawking Bears. (EPA /LANDOV)

What did the Cowboys and their fans have in common on Monday night? Neither of them showed up.

In front of thousands upon thousands of raucous Bears fans in Jerry Jones’ home stadium, the Cowboys turned in a dismal performance, a 34-18 loss, that was equal parts self-inflicted wounds and Chicago opportunism.

An early defensive struggle turned in the second quarter when Charles Tillman notched a pick-6 off Tony Romo, on a play where Romo and Dez Bryant suffered a clear miscommunication. One quarter later, his team down 17-7, Romo was victimized again, as he tried to escape pressure in the pocket and instead muffed the ball right into the hands of Lance Briggs for another Chicago defensive touchdown.

Before, after and in-between, the Cowboys were a mess, a cornucopia of dropped passes, blown coverages and downright inexplicable mistakes.

The Bears took full advantage of just about every mistake, earning those “Let’s Go Bears!” chants that rained down at JerryWorld throughout the final quarter. All told, Chicago forced five turnovers, each coming on a Romo interception.

At least two of those cannot be blamed on Romo. Bryant appeared to run the wrong route on the early pick-6 and Kevin Ogletree swatted a slant route into Major Wright’s arms later, with the Cowboys in the red zone.

The other interceptions? Go ahead and point the finger at Romo. But there’s plenty of blame to go around for the 2-2 Cowboys.

Chicago wasn’t exactly a well-oiled machine from the get-go, either. The Bears mustered just three offensive points in the first half and, at one point, bordered on a total sideline implosion as Jay Cutler blew off offensive coordinator Mike Tice following a frustrating series.

Tillman’s touchdown proved to a game-changer, though. From there, the Bears looked every bit the Super Bowl contender many had them pegged as prior to the season.

And a lot of that started with Cutler, who came out of halftime firing bullets. On the opening possession of the second half, with the Bears clinging to a tenuous 10-7 lead, Cutler connected on four passes to three different receivers for a total of 71 yards. He topped it off by hitting a wide-open Devin Hester in the end zone for a touchdown.

“We started off a little bit sloppy, but the defense put us in great spots,” Cutler told ESPN after the game, as he stood alongside Brandon Marshall; Marshall turned in a seven-catch, 138-yard performance that he finished by scoring a late TD.

Cutler’s lone mistake over the final two quarters came when he coughed up a fumble deep in his own territory. The very next play was Briggs’ back-breaking scoop-and-score, which put Dallas in an insurmountable 24-7 hole.

“We know he’s going to throw the ball, and we know who he likes to throw it to,” Briggs said of Romo. “It all starts up front. You get pressure on the quarterback, you get him to throw the ball a little bit early, a little bit higher and give your back seven a chance to make a play.”

For the Cowboys, who have a bye awaiting them, the next two weeks will be filled with questions. Tops on the list for Dallas fans, no doubt, will surround the quarterback position.

Romo has been in the league since 2004 and is in his seventh season as the Cowboys’ starting quarterback. Every QB has an off night from time to time, but Romo is supposed to be beyond these games at this point in his career — he’s supposed to be better than to allow one or two lapses to turn into a nightmarish outing.

But he could not right the ship on Monday night. And the lack of cohesiveness for this team, especially on offense, has reached critical mass.

The Cowboys had 13 penalties last week in a sloppy home win over Tampa Bay, including six false starts. They followed that up Monday with another head-scratcher — Bryant, for example, had multiple passes slip through his fingers, in addition to running a stop-and-go route when Romo was throwing a stop pattern.

It’s baffling, really, to see Dallas going through the motions like this, suffering through the types of mental lapses you’d expect to see from a team undergoing a coaching change or overhauling the roster. This is not what playoff contenders look like. This is not even what this very Dallas team looked like just three weeks ago during an emphatic victory over the Giants in New York.

Something has gone terribly awry since then.

The Bears enjoyed their trip to the Cowboys circus on Monday, and that serves as a reminder of just how quickly perceptions can change in the NFL. Two weeks ago, the Bears turned in a lethargic effort at Green Bay. Heck, two quarters back, Chicago was suffering through some of the same issues as Dallas on offense.

Now, the Bears sit at 3-1, tied atop the NFC North, with Matt Forte slowly getting healthy at running back, Cutler spreading the ball around on offense and the defense returning to classic Chicago form.

The NFL has seen this defense before: one that may not have an endless supply of Pro Bowl talent, but presses offenses into mistakes nonetheless.

That’s what happened Monday night in Dallas. The Bears waited for their chances — and the sloppy, mistake-riddled Cowboys were more than accommodating when it came to providing them.

28 comments
John4
John4

If anyone truly thinks the 2012 Bears are Super Bowl contenders, they do not understand Football. The Falcons are better, the Giants are better, the 49ers are better, the Packers are better, the Cardinals are better, (although the Cardinals will probably "let the Bears off the hook" in a head to head matchup!).  

The Bears will be lucky to win one playoff game.  More than likely, the Bears will be lucky to make the playoffs, and IF they do, they absolutely are a "one and done".  

Time to get real, Bears fans.  If you think the Bears' victory over the Cowboys means anything, you are foolish.  

bruno.strange
bruno.strange

My favorite part about last night's game was right before halftime, after Tony Romo led the Cowboys to a TD drive, after having been intercepted on the previous drive.

ESPN's John Gruden went on to sing Tony Romo's praises in the most ridiculous over-the-top manner ("god bless Tony Romo" etc), and called him out for his mental toughness, etc.

 

And then Romo goes on to throw four more INTs, and look like the Tony Romo we've come to know and love.

 

I'm not a huge Cowboys fan, but having grown up in Texas, I do have some affinity toward the Pokes. But I've learned that, as long as Romo is QB, the Cowboys ain't going to anything meaningful in terms of a championship run.  The last five (or more?) years, should provide plenty of fodder for that.

 

Gruden also compared Romo favorably to Danny White last night. I think that's a pretty good comparison, actually. A physically talented QB who can obviously throw the ball, and will put up impressive stats from time to time - but one with whom they'll never, ever win.

iaatmd
iaatmd

Let me tell ya 'bout Jethro Jones aka Jerry....

 

Worst GM in pro sports, but the bigger issue right now is the culture he brings to the team as owner.

For years it was poor personnel decisions that held the team back. This is no more evident than at the wide receiver position.

 

Jimmy Smith. 2nd round pick. Cut after a war of words with Jethro over not getting paid while he was recovering from appendicitis. Goes on to have a near HoF caliber career in Jacksonville.

 

Rocket Ismail. Signed as a free agent some years after Jethro had been overruled by Jimmy and drafted Russell Maryland with the first pick of the 1991 draft instead. One decent season. Gone.

 

Joey Galloway. Two number 1s to get this guy, including the pick that became Shaun Alexander, as in the guy who won the MVP after tying the all-time rushing TD in a single season mark.

 

Terry Glenn. Traded a draft pick to reunite him with Tuna. Got a few good years out of him. He's been in and out of trouble with the law since.

 

Antonio Bryant. 2nd round pick. Talented but troubled. Traded in his 3rd season after throwing a jersey at Tuna's face.

 

Keyshawn Johnson. Obtained straight up for Joey Galloway after Tampa had given up on him. Never reached 1000 yards after also being reunited with Tuna.

 

Terrell Owens. Productive on the field. Major problem off of it.

 

Roy Williams. Traded to Dallas for a first, third and sixth rounder, the former of which was used to select Brandon Pettigrew. Proved to be an unreliable receiver in Dallas and later Chicago.

 

Sam Hurd. Mainly a special teams standout for 5 years with Dallas and one with Chicago. Currently serving an indefinite jail term for probation violation, and will probably end up in prison when his case comes to trial.

 

Miles Austin. Bench warmer for 3 years before moving into the role of 3rd receiver in 2009 after no teams were willing to part with a 2nd rounder to sign him as a restricted free agent. Got an October start only because of an injury to the aforementioned Roy Williams, and made the Pro Bowl that year and the following season. Injuries hampered him in 2011, and while putting up good numbers, leading the team in receiving yards and TDs, is mysteriously a second, or even third option more often than not this season.

 

Dez Bryant. See Terrell Owens. Although at least Terrell Owens was a consistently good performer on the field. When he was getting the ball thrown his way often enough for his tastes, that is.

 

Laurent Robinson. Afterthought going into the 2011 season. Except that Tony Romo kept throwing him the ball and he kept catching it. Led the team in TDs and yards from the receiver position right into a big payday with Jacksonville.

 

So the basic pattern here is pretty obvious. The high draft picks and blockbuster trades have never lived up to expectations. The physically gifted but intellectually and emotionally challenged have not worked out, mainly because they were coddled when tough love was called for and vice versa. Former star free agents at the end of their respective careers have provided nice stop-gaps but nothing more, and the most productive players were those who became so more by accident than anything Jethro did right.

 

Now as for the culture....

 

Sure Jimmy Johnson pandered to his star players, but they had to go out and prove they were stars every single week.

 

That's the main difference.

 

Now we have a guy like Dez Bryant, shows up one game, packs it in the next, yet they have special rules for him? And then deny it? Because they don't want to hurt his widdle feewings. Oh, can't have that happening in Valley Ranch!

 

16 years, 1 playoff win, and can anyone in their right mind possibly fathom that number improving in year 17? But let's just keep telling the fans and the media and even ourselves that everything's gonna be alright. "We'll clean up a few things and get back to where we want to be." No, everything is not alright! The track record proves it.

 

Remember what they used to say about the 49ers before Eddie DeBartolo's downfall? That it all starts at the top? Then he went down and the front office went into limbo and guess what, 8 years of losing. Hello? Anyone paying attention? The setting and the characters may change, but when the sign points to Pflugerville, and you follow the road, guess where you're likely to end up?

 

Sad thing is, I shouldn't even care anymore. Go Rangers!

Terry O
Terry O

Maybe he needs a new girlfriend, One that knows something about FOOTBALL!

SusanBarth
SusanBarth

Until that megalomaniac Jerry Jones gives up partial control of the 'Boys and hires a GM that knows what he's doing, the team will continue to play erratically.  And who in their right mind would want to coach them with Jones peering over their shoulder every second?

ACWheaton
ACWheaton

obvious that none of you actually watched the game...Romo wouldn't have looked so bad had his receivers ran the right routes and caught the balls he threw their way...and btw, i hate the cowboys, but i know this isn't all Romo's fault

Doc Holiday
Doc Holiday

Romo & Sanchez are two losers who should have been gone long ago.

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

Romo is not an NFL caliber quarterback. When will people stop pretending that he is? 

platdick
platdick

 

 

The Bears have given their fans little to enjoy for decades with the exception of 1985 and its Richard Dent defense.  Cutler's apparent calm and relaxed posture as he threw the first pass was inexplicable given the pounding he's been taking this season.  There seems to finally be some signs of intelligence in a Bear team.  Tice, and maybe Cutler too, devised ways to raise his chances of completing passes.  There were times Cutler threw quickly with only a short drop-back.  And other times when he seemed to take an unusually long dropback.  If he can keep his composure, he ratchets up his passer ability considerably, true for most QBs, but critical for this Bear team.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STEVENP
STEVENP

EMBARRASSING,    IT SUCKS TO BE A COWBOY FAN, AND IT WILL NEVER GET ANY BETTER,  WITH JERRY, THE RED HEAD PUPPET, AND A TEAM ON NON MOTIVATED PLAYERS

NickBonardy
NickBonardy

Tony Romo is a nice person , but he does not embody the quarterback  that the cowboys need to win !

IFMoy
IFMoy

Way overated  QB, Team,  America's Team is a Joke!

paul25
paul25

SusanBarth, I agree. Micromanaging NEVER works.

Ryan1
Ryan1

 @ACWheaton  Romo made some terrible throws but yes, horrible coordination and misreads on routes, especially Dez Bryant

JoeCabot
JoeCabot

 @Doc Holiday Do you even watch football?  Mark Sanchez has been to two AFC championship games.   Not exactly the land of losers. except in the world of you cyber screamers.

DCBoyz58
DCBoyz58

 @Rickapolis Dude, that is the most IDIOTIC statement Ive ever heard. Next time you have a thought you want to share......DON'T.

JoeWoosley
JoeWoosley

 @Rickapolis He had a horrible game.  He still has one of the highest passer ratings ever and he was tremendous in Week 1 against the Giants.  Hes not Rodgers, Brees, or Brady but Id rather have him than Sanchez, Fitzpatrick and at least a dozen others.

Ryan1
Ryan1

 @JoeWoosley  @Rickapolis He is horrible in the turnover game - he also has some pretty good weapons with Witten, Bryant, Austin, and decent depth at RB.

 

I would take Sanchez with those weapons over Romo and he must not be leading because we don't see him making his weapons, better, the way those top guys do.

paul25
paul25

JoeWoosley, Passer ratings do NOT equate to wins.

CharlieRichardson
CharlieRichardson

I am a cowboy fan hard core, but less just stop making excuses for Tony Romo.  Yes we need help in our receiving core, but if Romo does not come correct with his receiver, then he and the team will continue to suffer.  Now, get rid of all the smoke streams, take a deep breath and remember our 13-3 season.  On offense, Austin, Witten, and Romo were there but we are missing a key element, TERRELL OWENS.

larrydub48
larrydub48

 @Ryan1    

 Sanchez? You must not have seen him play ever. And I mean ever.

 

He couldn't do crap last sunday.

ParishToni1
ParishToni1

 @Ryan1  @JoeWoosley  @Rickapolis

 obviously you neither watch the cowboys or you are a romo/cowboy hater.  Witten is the only legit threat.  Even then he hasnt been himself this year.  Austin is a decent receiver, but everyone else, especially Bryant are below average.  Again you cant call Dez a good receiver when he continually drops passes and runs routes that aren't even on the same playbook as what they run in Dallas.  Running back depth is good? You dont know what you are talking about. Murray is a decent back, the only decent back,but if your line continually allow tackles behind the line, it doesnt matter who is back there. 42 total rushing yards? thats not helping Romo. And as for the offensive line, they have been horrible all year.  Romo has had to run for his life.  Look what happend to Rodgers against the Seahawks.  Because Romo is elusive enough, he hasn't been sacked a lot, but put Rodgers or Eli behind the Cowboys line and you will see an 8 sack half.  BTW notice how the Giants recievers always step up for Eli with great routes and great pass catching week after week? If Romo had someone other than 1 receiver to step up.....Those 2 last ints last night Romo threw were bad, but when youre down by 3 touchdowns, you tend to try to make something happen.  The defense also can key on the pass with no running threat.