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How It Happened: Early Fourth-Down Calls Set Tone; Cowboys Get Over 8-8 Hump

CHICAGO - The Cowboys returned to the win column after a dominating performance of the Chicago Bears, 41-28 Thursday night at Soldier Field. DeMarco Murray laid the foundation with a huge night, 32 carries for 179 yards, 9 catches for 49 yards and a touchdown. His ability to run the ball early and often set the tone for Dallas and allowing them to control the game.

Tony Romo returned to form following a full week of preparation going 21-26 for 205 yards, three touchdowns and a quarterback rating of 138. Romo also showed the ability to throw the deep ball a few times including a 43 yard bomb to Dez Bryant in the third quarter. Bryant performed at an extremely high level as well. Six catches on eight targets for 82 yards.

Big Picture:

Dallas improved to 6-0 on the road with the win and held serve in the race for the NFC East title. The Cowboys ninth victory ends it's three consecutive seasons with an 8-8 record. It also puts the pressure on the Eagles who host the Seahawks Sunday afternoon in Philadelphia. Dallas will have 10 days to prepare for the rematch instead of the three days leading up to the first meeting of the season.

Turning Point:

The drive just before halftime that spanned fourteen plays and took 6:05 off the clock. Tony Romo was spectacular going 10-12 for 72 yards and went 4-4 on third down conversions. Two of the third downs, Romo found Jason Witten to keep the chains moving. Cole Beasley capped things off with a 13 yard touchdown catch giving the Cowboys a 14-7 halftime lead. Anthony Spencer forced a fumble on the defense's first possession in the third quarter and Dallas never looked back.

Key Stat:

Two for two on fourth-down conversions in the Cowboys first scoring drive of the game. Jason Garrett rarely goes for it on fourth down, however his aggressiveness paid off with a DeMarco Murray touchdown run. Garrett's decision to use the fourth downs had a huge impact on the game and sent a message to his team and the Bears.

Unsung Hero:

Cole Beasley had a career night against the Bears, hauling in three passes, 42 yards and two scores, the first multi-touchdown game in his three years with the Cowboys. He probably should've been in the end zone three times if he hadn't been stopped on the one-yard line in the second quarter. It's the third touchdown for Beasley in the last three weeks and a good bounce-back after losing a fumble against the Eagles on Thanksgiving.

Don't Forget About…

Brandon Marshall being taken out of the game in the second quarter after being kneed in the back by Barry Church and taken to a local Chicago hospital. The Bears wide receiver was tearing up the Cowboys secondary, including a spectacular one-handed, 43 yard catch in the second quarter. Marshall finished with three catches for 61 yards. If he's not injured, things might play out differently.


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