8:30 PM ET, December 9, 2013
Soldier Field, Chicago, IL
CHICAGO -- Neither the brutal cold nor the league's worst defense could stop Josh McCown and the Bears.
Instead, Chicago jumped right back into the playoff race.
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McCown threw for a career-high four touchdowns, and the Bears scored on their first eight possessions to grab a share of the NFC North lead with a 45-28 victory over the Dallas Cowboys on a frigid Monday night.
The Bears (7-6) retired Hall of Famer Mike Ditka's number at halftime and pulled even with Detroit in the division race on a night when the game-time temperature was in single digits and the wind chill factor was below zero.
The loss left Dallas (7-6) a game behind Philadelphia in the NFC East and owner Jerry Jones calling for more aggressive play-calling on defense.
The bone-chilling conditions didn't stop McCown from throwing for 348 yards or keep the Bears from running away with a lopsided victory.
It was one they desperately needed after consecutive losses, and although Detroit holds the head-to-head sweep, the Bears are back in the thick of the playoff race.
"All we could do is try to beat the Dallas Cowboys," coach Marc Trestman said. "We kept it as simple as that. We didn't get into all the hypotheticals and all the things that go into winning or losing a game."
Alshon Jeffery's leaping catch between two defenders in the corner of the end zone in the closing seconds of the second quarter gave the Bears a 24-14 lead, and they continued to pour it on in the second half after a gut-wrenching overtime loss at Minnesota last week.
Josh McCown had five touchdowns Monday night (four passing, one rushing), good for the most TDs by a Bears quarterback since Johnny Lujack in 1949.
|Sid Luckman, 1943||7||Giants|
|Johnny Lujack, 1949||6||Cardinals|
|Josh McCown, 2013||5||Cowboys|
|Ray Buivid, 1937||5||Cardinals|
"If you were back there quarterbacking and we played the way we played you probably would have five touchdowns," he said.
McCown, meanwhile, insisted he's still the backup. And Trestman said the plan with Cutler hasn't changed.
"We'll see where Jay is this week," he said. "He'll have to be released by the doctors and when Jay is ready to play, he'll be playing."
Brandon Marshall caught six passes for 100 yards, and Jeffery added 84 yards receiving after breaking his own team record the previous week with 249.
Matt Forte chipped in with 102 yards rushing and 73 receiving, and the Bears racked up 490 yards in all.
"Basically, we will have to make some adjustments in what we are doing defensively," Jones said. "What that usually means is taking more risks on defense. But if you're going to have the kind of match like we had tonight or certainly in New Orleans you have to take some risks. We have to double up and I'm sure that will be part of the plan on defense; more risks."
Tony Romo threw for three touchdowns but completed just 11 of 20 passes for 104 yards for Dallas. DeMarco Murray ran for 146 yards against the league's worst run defense, but the Cowboys were overmatched after winning two straight.
They also lost linebacker Sean Lee to another injury -- this time a neck issue after making a tackle in the third quarter. He missed the previous two games with a hamstring problem.
"Certainly, it was a disappointing loss and the loss stings," coach Jason Garrett said. "The worst thing we can do is have a hangover after this loss."
The game-time temperature was 8 degrees with the wind chill at minus 9, but the freezing conditions did nothing to slow either team in the early going. Garrett said both teams handled it well.
Murray burned Chicago for 52 yards on six carries on the game's opening possession to set up a 2-yard scoring pass from Romo to Dez Bryant, but the Bears scored just about every time they got the ball.
After Bryant's TD, McCown tied it with a 4-yard pass to Earl Bennett and put Chicago ahead 14-7 early in the second quarter with a 7-yard scramble, leaping at the goal line and getting spun in midair.
Jason Witten tied it at 14 when he dragged Major Wright across the goal line on a 10-yard touchdown catch, but the Bears grabbed a three-point lead on Robbie Gould's 27-yard field goal with 1:33 remaining in the half.
Jeffery added to it with that neat catch after Dallas was forced to punt.
"I'm just trying to give him a chance to go up and make the play but not really put the ball in jeopardy, so to speak," McCown said. "My part was relative easy to the catch."
The record low temperature for a Bears home game is 2 degrees against Green Bay on Dec. 22, 2008. The lowest wind chill was minus 15 against the Packers on Dec. 18, 1983. ... There was a moment of silence for Nelson Mandela before the game.
CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 9: A couple of Bears fans try and stay warm before the game between the Chicago Bears and...(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
Team Stat Comparison
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from Penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
|Yards per play||6.0||7.1|
Comp - Att
Yards per pass
Sacks - Yards Lost
Yards per rush
|Red Zone (Made-Att)||4-4||4-7|
|Defensive / Special Teams TDs||0||0|
|TD||09:02||Dez Bryant 2 Yd Pass From Tony Romo (Dan Bailey Kick)||7||0|
|TD||01:35||Earl Bennett 4 Yd Pass From Josh McCown (Robbie Gould Kick)||7||7|
|TD||08:58||Josh McCown 7 Yd Run (Robbie Gould Kick)||7||14|
|TD||05:22||Jason Witten 10 Yd Pass From Tony Romo (Dan Bailey Kick)||14||14|
|FG||01:33||Robbie Gould 27 Yd||14||17|
|TD||00:10||Alshon Jeffery 25 Yd Pass From Josh McCown (Robbie Gould Kick)||14||24|
|FG||12:02||Robbie Gould 34 Yd||14||27|
|TD||02:20||Matt Forte 4 Yd Pass From Josh McCown (Josh McCown Pass To Brandon Marshall For Two-Point Conversion)||14||35|
|TD||14:24||Michael Bush 17 Yd Pass From Josh McCown (Robbie Gould Kick)||14||42|
|TD||10:52||Cole Beasley 9 Yd Pass From Tony Romo (Dan Bailey Kick)||21||42|
|FG||03:47||Robbie Gould 23 Yd||21||45|
|TD||00:06||Joseph Randle 1 Yd Run (Dan Bailey Kick)||28||45|
The Cowboys have allowed 24.9 1st downs per game this season, on pace to be the worst by any defense since 1981.[+]
- Josh McCown was 7-of-9 for 105 yards and two touchdowns when throwing under duress. Coming into the game, he had two such touchdowns this season. - Matt Forte had his first career game with 100 yards rushing and 70 yards receiving. - Dez Bryant has a league-leading eight touchdowns this season on passes thrown into the end zone.
Josh McCown was 10-of-16 for 182 yards and a touchdown on passes traveling more than 10 yards downfield. The 10 completions on deep passes are the most McCown has had in a game (Jay Cutler completed 10 such passes in Week 5), and tied for the most the Cowboys have allowed in a game this season. --Josh McCown was 8-of-13 with a touchdown when targeting Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery on deep passes. --Tony Romo attempted four deep passes, six fewer than his average per game, against a Bears defense that had allowed the third-highest completion percentage on such throws coming into the game (56%).[+]
Passing More than 10 Yards Downfield, Monday
The Bears didn't punt once on Monday, the third team this season that went a whole game without being forced to punt... Two of the three have been against the Cowboys.
Matt Forte had 102 rushing yards Monday, 63 on runs outside the tackles. Forte exceeded 50 yards rushing outside the tackles for the fourth time this season, most in the NFL.[+]
DeMarco Murray rushed for 111 yards before contact Monday night, his second-most this season and the third-most in his career (the two higher games were both against the Rams). The Bears have allowed the most rushing yards before contact in the league.[+]
Bears Rushing Defense, 2013
Josh McCown was 22-of-30 for 280 yards and three touchdowns against four or fewer pass rushers. The Cowboys are the only team this season to allow at least three touchdowns against standard pressure in three different games.
The Cowboys are allowing an NFL-high 426.8 yards per game this season, most in the NFL. Their 5,549 yards allowed this season is the 2nd-most in NFL history through 13 games of a season, behind the 2012 Saints.[+]
Most Yards Allowed Through 13 Games - NFL History
Josh McCown leads the NFL in Total QBR this season. As a starter, his Total QBR in 20 points higher than Jay Cutler's as a starter this season.[+]
Bears Quarterbacks - In Games Started This Season
Josh McCown posted a 99.1 Total QBR on Monday Night Football, the highest Total QBR in a game by any Bears quarterback since 2006 (as far back as we have Total QBR data), and tied with Nick Foles for the second-highest Total QBR by any quarterback this season. McCown's Total QBR in 85.7 this season, best in the NFL among qualified QBs.[+]
Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery combined for 184 receiving yards tonight (162 in 1st half). They have combined for the most receiving yards by teammates this season.[+]
Most Combined Receiving Yards by Teammates This Season
The Cowboys have allowed 4.8 yards per rush this season, 3rd worst in the league and their worst rate since 2000. That 4.8 yards per rush is on pace to be the Cowboys 3rd-worst rate in franchise history. Dallas has also allowed a 1st down on 28.4 percent of opponent rushes, their worst rate since at least 2001.
With Jay Cutler ruled out of Monday night's game ... Josh McCown has actually outplayed Cutler this season although McCown's sample size is smaller.[+]
The Bears rank last in the league in rush defense (153.6 YPG) and Yds per rush allowed (5.01). Not only that ... they've allowed a 100-yd rusher in 5 consecutive games, one short of the NFL record.[+]
Most Consecutive Games Allowing 100-Yd Rusher
After Dez's TD on the opening drive - Dez Bryant has 20 TD catches in his last 21 games. His 31 TD catches since 2011 ranks 4th in the NFL
The Cowboys are 2-1 in primetime games this season heading into Monday night's matchup with the Bears, but Tony Romo's Total QBR in those games is the lowest of any quarterback in the NFL with at least three primetime starts this season.[+]
Matt Forte has eclipsed the 1,000 yard rushing mark this season. It is Forte's 4th 1,000-yard rushing season with the Bears, second-most in franchise history behind Walter Payton (10). Through the Bears opening drive and 31 rush yards, Forte has 1,002 this season.
ESPN Stats & Information