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Trenton After Thursday- Week 14
Dallas Cowboys @ Chicago Bears
Two 6-6 NFC teams met in Chicago to battle it out under the bright lights in Soldier Field on Thursday Night Football, with the Dallas Cowboys hanging onto a slim lead in the NFC East while the Chicago Bears seek a Wild Card playoff spot in a stacked NFC North. The Bears offense came alive in front of the home crowd while the Cowboys failed to find answers against a thin Chicago defense. The Bears walked away with a 31-24 victory, but still face an uphill climb to the playoffs at 7-6, while the Cowboys find their grip on the NFC East lead slipping away at 6-7.
Rare Trubisky Scrambles Galvanize Bears Offense
Bears fans were finally treated to the offense they were promised in the offseason as Mitchell Trubisky engineered one of his better games of the year with three touchdowns through the air and one on the ground. The quick passing game was the key for Trubisky with an average time to throw of 2.51 seconds leading him to only taking three hits and two sacks. He ended with 23 completions out of 31 attempts for 244 yards and although his average air yards on completed passes was only 3.6 yards, his receivers more than made up for it with slick moves after catches. Trubisky was also more willing to run than he has been so far this season, picking up 63 yards on 10 carries and a touchdown, which is an element that his game has missed for most of the season. Although the first Bears drive was knocked off course with an ill-advised Trubisky pass that was picked off at the Dallas goal line, the Bears bounced back with 17 unanswered points until the Cowboys finally scored again to start the fourth quarter. A big part of the offense was rookie David Montgomery, who continues to get more carries as the regular season draws to a close. When he puts up performances like this with 86 yards on 20 carries, it’s hard not to give them to him.
Drops, Penalties, and Lack of Run Game Sink Cowboys
With five three-and-outs and a failed fourth-down conversion, the Cowboys offense just couldn’t seem to get it right and no amount of Dak Prescott’s warmup could help them. Key drops from receivers and an overall sense of miscommunication between Dak Prescott and his pass-catchers was apparent all night. The Bears defense chased Prescott throughout the game, recording two sacks and seven hits while the coverage downfield held steady. Overall, Prescott wasn’t bad in the stat column with 27 completions out of 49 passes for 334 yards and a touchdown. 21 of his passes were thrown 10 air yards or deeper with 12 of them being completed, but it simply wasn’t enough. Ezekiel Elliott may have ended with 81 yards on 19 carries, but taking away one long carry that went for 31 yards leads to an average of only 2.2 yards per carry, even though he only faced eight or more defenders in the box about 16% of the time. Meanwhile on defense, three different penalties on three different drives allowed Chicago to convert third downs to continue on to score. Despite Chicago turning the ball over twice with a fumble and interception, the Cowboys simply could not take advantage.