CHICAGO – Take all the elements familiar to this season's Cowboys offense, and combine them into one performance, and it adds up to what Cole Beasley produced Thursday night.
Whether he was dragging defenders into the end zone, like Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray have been known to do, or getting open on a broken play – which is typically Terrance Williams' calling card – Beasley showed a little bit of everything.
It wasn't the most monstrous night statistically, but Beasley's three catches for 42 yards and two touchdowns was arguably the best night of his young career.
"Cole's a really good slot player, and I think the last few weeks you've kind of seen what he can create," said Jason Witten. "It's just another weapon in this offense. I think he's got a little chip on his shoulder, in the way he plays. Those were big plays by him."
Tony Romo gave Beasley all three of his looks in the red zone, when Dallas needed to find points. In fact, given a few more inches, he might have found pay dirt on all three of his receptions. On an early 3rd-and-Goal from the Chicago 6-yard line, Romo found Beasley for five yards – but the 5'8 receiver was thwarted inches from the goal line.
"The first one, I kind of let slip away – I probably should have gotten in on that one, too," Beasley said. "I definitely learned from that one. I just tried to back into the end zone on that one, and I thought I was closer than I really was."
That learning experience came in handy later in the quarter. With halftime a mere 13 seconds away, the Cowboys found the end zone again, rather than settle for a field goal, when Romo hit Beasley on a similar play. Despite his small size, Beasley this time carried his tackler two yards into the end zone.
"The second one, I knew he was kind of coming, so I just lowered my shoulder and kept driving and I was able to get in," Beasley said.
Dez Bryant, who led all Dallas receiver with 82 yards, beamed like a proud father when asked about the performance.
"That's my boy, man. I was too excited. I'm always excited, because he's a hell of a player. He made plays," Bryant said.
Beasley wasn't done, though. On the Cowboys' opening possession of the second half, Romo's protection broke down. As he's been known to do, he evaded pressure, and lofted a 24-yard blooper between two Chicago defensive backs and into Beasley's arms – another touchdown.
"I was kind of hooking up, trying to hold one guy so Dez could get open behind me," Beasley said. "Romo made a good play extending the play, and I just kind of took off deep because the guy came low. Tony made a heck of a throw."
It was a solid bounce-back effort for Beasley, who fumbled to kill a Dallas drive at the end of the first half last week. And while defenses continue to key on Bryant and Jason Witten, it's providing more chances for the third-year receiver to continue to prove himself.
"It's really just a feel thing, man – game experience is the best experience you can get," he said. "You can practice hard and all that all week, and all that stuff, but you can never simulate the same speed in the game on the practice field."
Asked if he thought opponents underestimated Beasley's athletic ability, Bryant said "all the time." At the rate he's going, Bryant said that's no problem.
"They underestimate a lot of our wideouts. But you know what, they can keep on doing that – that's fine," he said.