Dallas Cowboys at Chicago Bears – Ups & Downs

Joe Robbins / Getty Images North America
Joe Robbins / Getty Images North America

Here are the better and the not so good performances from Thursday night’s game.

UP

Tony Romo – The quarterback, again, had plenty of time to work in the pocket and he capitalized on it as he threw three touchdown passes.

Cole Beasley – The wide receiver finished with two touchdowns on three receptions and also recovered an onside kick.

DeMarco Murray – Just what we have come to expect from the running back: he ran for 179 yards and caught 9 passes for 49 yards.

DOWN

Demontre Hurst – The cornerback missed his assignment at the end of the second quarter that cost as Dallas scored its second touchdown.

Matt Forté – The Bears never got the running game going and Forté had one costly fumble as well at the beginning of the second half.

Chris Conte – Safety was often in bad position including the second touchdown catch of Cole Beasley.

Dallas Cowboys at Chicago Bears – Second Half Notes

Joe Robbins / Getty Images North America
Joe Robbins / Getty Images North America

Here are my second half notes from the Cowboys’ 41-28 win over the Bears.

Special teams disaster – The Bears were bad on all three phases of the game, including and especially the special team. They allowed a blocked punt, a blocked extra point and were called for several penalties on onside kicks and on a return as well. The supporting cast did not help kicker Jay Feely on his debut.

All three receivers showed up – In my preview I highlighted three wide receivers: Alshon Jeffery, Brandon Marshall and Dez Bryant. Although, Marshall’s status is uncertain right now as he was taken to the hospital with a rib injury; all three playmakers made at least one spectacular catch, so we got our money’s worth.

 

Dallas Cowboys at Chicago Bears – First Half Notes

Joe Robbins / Getty Images North America
Joe Robbins / Getty Images North America

Here are my thoughts from the first half of the Thursday night game between the Chicago Bears and the Dallas Cowboys.

Slow offenses – Although, the offenses started really slow; after a partially blocked punt the Cowboys had a short field and were able to capitalize on the special team play. The Bears were able to respond in the next drive and this game might just well turn into the offensive battle that we expected before the game.

No trust in kickers – Both teams elected to go for it when they faced fourth downs inside the opposition’s fourth downs. It was while the teams were driving the same way on the field, which may suggest that kickers had problems attempting field goals that way during warmups. Will be interesting how coaches view the kicking situation if this game comes down to the wire in the fourth quarter.

Big day for Murray – Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray already has more than 100 all-purpose yards and a touchdown. Usually the Bears defense drops back so deep that they leave Murray open for the dumpoff pass. On the other hand, in the run game the offensive line is able to open up large enough holes for Murray who also makes good decisions when he sees cutback lanes.

Dallas Cowboys at Chicago Bears – Instant Preview

Zoltan Buday / Inside Handoff
Zoltan Buday / Inside Handoff

Similar situations – A good case can be made that Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and Bears quarterback Jay Cutler are the two most controversial players and quarterbacks of the NFL. Both players are capable of winning and losing a single game by basically themselves. The performance of these two quarterbacks can, obviously, be a deciding factor in today’s game.

Feely’s debut – After being out of football since being cut after training camp, kicker Jay Feely was signed off the street by the Chicago Bears after it was determined that longtime kicker Robbie Gould was unable to play today. Although, Feely has been a pretty reliable kicker throughout his career; he’s been out of football for quite some time now. During warmups he barely hit attempts from 47 yards out. His kicker situation will definitely play a part in coach Marc Trestman’s decision making later tonight.

Elite company – Three of the top receivers will take the field today in the Bears’ Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery and the Cowboys’ Dez Bryant. All three are really good at making contested catches even when the coverage seems to be good enough. If you like good wide receiver play – and who doesn’t? – then just sit back and watch today’s game because there’s a good chance at least one of these stars will put on a show.

The Coach’s View – Two of the Bears’ players were featured in my “Coach’s View” series during the spring. Here are the interviews with their coaches: cornerback Kyle Fuller and running back Ka’Deem Carey.

Bold prediction – Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray and Bears running back Matt Forte are both among the best at their position. I say both of them will have more than 200 all-purpose yards today.

Prediction – I expect the Cowboys to comfortably win this one, 34-20.

On To San Diego

Christian Petersen / Getty Images North America
Christian Petersen / Getty Images North America

You win some, you lose some.

That was the mantra in the New England Patriots’ locker room after their 26-21 loss against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.

The players and coaches gave credit where credit is due. “That’s a good football team, and in the end they made a few more plays than we did tonight” said head coach Bill Belichick at his postgame press conference.

The Packers are indeed a good football team as they are now tied with New England, Arizona and Philadelphia for the best record in the NFL at 9-3.  They average 36.2 points over their last nine games and that number is even higher when considering only their home games during that time span: 42.8. So there was no shame in losing to this team on the road after winning seven consecutive games.

Although, as cornerback Darrelle Revis said after the game, there is not other team that he’d been on that took a loss so seriously. The overwhelming feeling in the locker room was rather pride. The players were proud of how they fought together, Belichick was proud how they competed throughout the entire game.

“Our guys hung in there right to the end” Belichick said after the game.

His thoughts were echoed throughout the locker room. “We went out there and definitely competed” said tight end Rob Gronkowski to reporters after the game.

The Patriots were chasing the score all day long and although, they had a chance to take the lead at the end of the game; they couldn’t capitalize on it. This may be the only concerning factor from this loss.

“It would have been nice to take the lead at that point, but we didn’t and we have to figure out how to do a better job” quarterback Tom Brady summarized after the game.

There is still time to focus on these issues because as defensive tackle Vince Wilfork said “the season starts at Thanksgiving.”

Despite losing a tight game, the Patriots know that they have no time for mourning and they are already, literally…

…on to San Diego.

New England Patriots at Green Bay Packers – Ups & Downs

Christian Petersen / Getty Images North America
Christian Petersen / Getty Images North America

Here are the better and the not so good performances from the Patriots’ 26-21 loss against the Packers.

UP

Jamie Collins – The linebacker again flashes his athletic ability with a couple impressive plays.

Brandon LaFell – The wide receiver again shows with two touchdown catches that the Patriots may have finally found someone who is on the same page with Tom Brady.

Rob Gronkowski – Although, he didn’t have any touchdowns or big plays, the tight end again proved to be a reliable target.

DOWN

Rob Ninkovich – The defensive end struggled against the run and could not generate pass rush either.

Logan Ryan – The cornerback was targeted early and often by Aaron Rodgers and although, initially stood his ground; had to be replaced by Kyle Arrington later in the game.

Stephen Gostkowski – Missed a field goal at the end of the game that he usually makes.

New England Patriots at Green Bay Packers – Second Half Notes

Christian Petersen / Getty Images North America
Christian Petersen / Getty Images North America

Here are my thoughts on the second half of the Patriots’ 26-21 loss against the Packers.

Game of inches – Tight end Rob Gronkowski said in the locker room after the game that he felt he had the ball at the end of the fourth quarter on what would have been a go ahead touchdown reception for the Patriots, but the defender made a play at the end to knock it loose. As Tom Brady said in his press conference, it is a game of inches and sometimes a team is only inches away from winning or losing and that might have been the case here.

Dobson cameo – Aaron Dobson made his first appearance for the Patriots since Week 6. After playing a couple snaps he was targeted on a long pass by Brady and as he fell to the ground in an attempt to make the reception, he fell awkwardly and was clearly hurt after the play. Trainers checked out his hamstring on the sidelines and the second-year receiver did not return for the remainder of the game. With the injury coming so late in the season, the Patriots might consider putting Dobson on IR to make place for another player, say, Sealver Siliga.