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Scout's Eye: Defensive Backs Battled, Murray Carries Team Among Thoughts

1). The numbers will not reflect how well these Cowboys defensive backs played in this game. I have been critical of Brandon Carr, Orlando Scandrick, Barry Church, J.J. Wilcox and Sterling Moore, but you have to tip your hat in the way they matched up. This was not going to be an easy task because of the talent of Alshon Jeffery, Brandon Marshall and Martellus Bennett. It helped that Marshall was knocked out of the game, but as a group they battled, and after what happened to them the last time these two teams met in 2013, it was sweet revenge.

2). Chicago is known as the city with "Big Shoulders." The same could be said for the effort from DeMarco Murray on Thursday night. It didn't start out well for the offense, but Murray continues to do things to put the offense on his back and carry this team. It was his carries in the first half that allowed offensive coordinator Scott Linehan some time to collect his thoughts and reevaluate his game plan and get this offense back on track with some good calls that also helped Tony Romo get going as well. Murray was also there in the second half when they needed him to finish the game.

3). There is no receiver on this Cowboys roster that does a better job of finding space in the defense than Cole Beasley. He has been doing it all season, and it was nice to see that Romo was able to find him in this game.

4). I knew that Bruce Carter would block a punt at some point in time during the season. His knack for beating blocks and the path he takes to the ball is not teachable. He has a tremendous feel for where he needs to be at the block point and how to position his body to finish the play.

5). I thought this would have been a breakout-type game for wide receiver Terrance Williams. The routes were better than last week, and as long as he continues to play that way he will get his chances. He is a talented kid and no one should give up on him.

6).  It was good to see Josh Brent back on the field, but all the passing by Chicago put him in a tough spot. His pass-rush techniques are not there, and it's going to take some time to get those back. But, he played with nice effort and power. It was the type of game where he can watch himself play and know where he needs work.

7). Ronaldo McClain still isn't physically right and now he is dealing with more issues with his knee. If there is a player that needs these next few days off from the field it is him. If this defense is going to do anything these final three weeks and into the playoffs it's going to have to be with him at that Mike linebacker. You could just see how much trouble the Bears had running the ball inside with him there, and the fact that he had better mobility made a big difference.

8). When the scheme calls for both Ronald Leary and Zack Martin to pull on the counter play with Murray, it is a thing of beauty to watch, especially when tight end James Hanna seals with a down block at the point of attack. It is impressive how much space that they are able to create for Murray when they execute those blocks. Martin is his own highlight real anytime he is in space.

9). The Cowboys held the Bears to 20 percent on third-downs conversions in this game. The last two games for the defense had been a nightmare. There was a much better job of overall tackling and rallying to the ball, which in my opinion made the biggest difference in how they were able to achieve this number.

10). Like what I saw from head coach Jason Garrett and the way in which he stayed aggressive by attempting to keep drives going on fourth down. It would have been real easy to kick field goals and take points, but in my opinion it set the tone and the mindset for his team all evening.

11).  As long as this defense can hold opponents in their end of the field and make them punt the ball, Dwayne Harris will have opportunities to have more punt returns like we saw tonight. There was no doubt that Micah Pellerin committed the block in the back penalty, but the return was set up beautifully, and with the exception of that one block, it was executed well. There is a big difference fielding punts at the 50 and making something happen than from inside your own 20.

12). I am not a coach but that was stupid for the Bears to onside kick there with six minutes left in the game and two timeouts. If I covered the Bears, the first question I would have asked head coach Marc Trestman in the postgame was why did he feel that was necessary? Regardless, as a fan of the Cowboys, you should thank Trestman for that.


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