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Game Recap: Offense Leads the Way, 49-29


No Ezekiel Elliott. No Noah Brown. No problem for the Dallas Cowboys offense, not with Dak Prescott and Tony Pollard firing on all cylinders.

After shaking off the rust last Sunday in his return from a fractured thumb on his throwing hand, the quarterback was outstanding in leading the Cowboys to a 49-29 victory over the Chicago Bears, the team's first time topping even 25 points this season. He completed 77.8 percent of his pass attempts for 250 yards with two touchdowns and an interception for a solid 114.5 passer rating.

Of course, with Elliott out, all eyes were on Pollard and whether he could handle the additional load. Indeed he could. The running back rushed for 131 yards on 14 carries, equaling career highs in both while also totaling a personal-best three touchdowns. In all, the Cowboys topped 200 rushing yards for the first time this season, finishing with 201.

Where the offense really shined was on third downs. Heading into this matchup, the Cowboys were ranked a dismal 30th in the NFL, having converted just 32.2 percent of their third-down tries. Against the Bears, Dallas converted 9 of 11 third-down attempts on their way to posting 442 yards of offense, also their most this season.

While the Cowboys offense was successful on the day, the other side of the ball had a true battle on its hands. The Dallas defense gave up a season-high in points, having come into this game ranked second in the NFL with 14.9 points allowed per contest. And the unit was never able to really stop the No. 1 rushing offense in the league, as Chicago pounded out 240 yards on the ground.

But the defensive group did sack quarterback Justin Fields four times and limited him to just 151 yards passing.

First Quarter

The Cowboys couldn't have made it look any easier to start the game, as the Dallas offense scored on each of its first two possessions.

Prescott and company took the ball to start and quickly marched 75 yards in 11 plays to the end zone. Pollard made it clear that he was ready and willing to be the team's workhorse as he carried the ball four times for 26 yards with one catch thrown in for another 16. The quarterback would then cap things off with a nice keeper off left tackle, tight end Dalton Schultz clearing the way for an untouched 7-yard run and a 7-0 lead.

And their second series looked much like the first in that the Bears defense was able to do little to slow down the Cowboys. This time Prescott completed all six of his pass attempts for 68 yards, the last of which was a 21-yard strike to CeeDee Lamb for the score.

Second Quarter

On the first play of the second frame, the Bears picked up the needed 2 yards to set up a first-and-goal at the Dallas 6-yard line. They had reached that point primarily on the ground with Fields scrambling twice for a combined 29 yards. He then matched Prescott with a touchdown run of his own off left tackle to complete the drive and bring the visitors back in the game.

Not that Chicago's score changed the Cowboys' attack any. The offense just kept right on keeping on. Pollard for 6, Prescott for 17, Pollard for 2, Prescott for 7 and 25, Pollard for 18. Touchdown. Through Dallas' first three possessions, offensive coordinator Kellen Moore couldn't have drawn it up any better.

Once the Cowboys made it four straight drives with a touchdown, the game seemed essentially over. After KaVontae Turpin returned the Bears' punt 13 yards to the Dallas 46-yard line, Prescott picked apart the Bears secondary, completing passes of 15 and 22 yards to Lamb and then finally a 1-yard connection to rookie tight end Jake Ferguson for the team's fourth score.

It marked the first time Dallas had crossed the goal line on its first four possessions of a game since Dec. 21, 2014, against Indianapolis.

Things took a turn, though, before the half when Chicago suddenly responded with 10 answered points. The Bears were first able to get in the end zone with 40 seconds remaining in the quarter, helped in part by a roughing the passer call on Chauncey Golston that negated a Trevon Diggs interception. Given another chance, Fields immediately completed a pass to wideout N'Keal Harry for the score.

But then on the Cowboys' very first snap, Prescott overthrew Lamb down the middle, the ball instead going straight into the arms of safety Eddie Jackson who returned the pick 21 yards to the Dallas 24-yard line. The defense held, but the Bears were still able to add three more points with a 36-yard field goal, the Cowboys advantage at the break now 28-17.

Third Quarter

Unfortunately, that momentum stayed with the visitors as the second half got underway. On the Bears' second series of the third quarter, the Dallas defense almost came up with a fumble, only to have the call overturned. Again given a second chance, Chicago continued its march to the end zone.

Fields found receiver Darnell Mooney on two quick passes for 42 yards with running back Khalil Herbert then scampering 12 yards to the end zone. DeMarcus Lawrence sacked Fields on the two-point conversion attempt, but the game was now down to a one-possession lead.

Finally, however, the pendulum swung back to the home side with Dallas reeling off 14 straight points. Prescott and his tight end Schultz connected on passes of 30 and 14 yards with Lamb also getting in on the action on a 12-yard reception. But Pollard would get the honors, darting up the middle 7 yards to pay dirt.

And then after coming so close to taking the ball away on two previous opportunities, the third time was the charm for the Cowboys. Running back David Montgomery took a Field's pass and turned up field, only to have the ball knocked loose by linebacker Leighton Vander Esch.

In swooped Micah Parsons to fall on the fumble, but when Fields jumped over him, never touching Parsons while he was lying on the ground, Parsons got to his feet and promptly returned the ball 36 yards for the touchdown. Just like that, Dallas was back up by 19 points, 42-23.

Fourth quarter

A Cowboys defense that was struggling to stop the Bears' ground game suffered a blow when safeties Donovan Wilson and Jayron Kearse left the game on back-to-back plays. This after fellow starting safety Malik Hooker was inactive due to his own injury. Kearse would later return, but on the next snap Fields found tight end Cole Kmet in the end zone for the score, although Chicago then failed again on its two-point conversion attempt.

No matter, the Cowboys put the next possession in Pollard's hands. The running back took the handoff four times in the five-play drive, the last a nifty 54-yard run that saw Pollard appear to be bottled up, only to break loose and streak down the left sideline for his career-high third touchdown of the day.

With that, the game was in hand, Dallas heading into a much-needed bye week with an impressive 6-2 record.

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