Bears can take much from victory against Cowboys in 2010
BY MARK POTASH email@example.com September 30, 2012 9:07PM
Chicago Bears wide receiver Johnny Knox (13) catches a long pass from Jay Cutler for a first down, next to Dallas Cowboys cornerback Mike Jenkins (21) during the first half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 19, 2010, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Waco Tribune, Jose Yau)
Updated: November 2, 2012 6:05AM
ARLINGTON, Texas —
Just by not being Mike Martz, Bears offensive coordinator Mike Tice has had the wind at his back since being promoted after last season.
On Monday, though, he’ll have to measure up to arguably Martz’s greatest triumph in his two seasons as the Bears’ offensive coordinator: a 27-20 come-from-behind victory against the Cowboys in Week 2 of the 2010 season at Cowboys Stadium.
That game was a victory for Tice, as well — and quarterback Jay Cutler, too — which only increases the scrutiny of a Bears offense that has been great, bad and good enough in three games this season. How well have they learned to handle the adversity of a 3-4 pass-rushing defense in a marquee road game since Cutler was sacked seven times in a 23-10 loss Sept. 13 to the Packers?
They figured it out in a matter of minutes at Cowboys Stadium in 2010. Cutler was sacked twice and hit five times in seven pass plays on the Bears’ first three possessions. Left tackle Chris Williams sufferd a hamstring injury on the first series.
But the Bears found a way to survive. Kevin Shaffer replaced Williams. When that wasn’t working, Tice flipped Shaffer to right tackle and moved Frank Omiyale to left tackle.
And Cutler and Martz not only found a way to neutralize the Cowboys’ frothing pass rush but beat it. A quick throw to Devin Hester for 19 yards and a quick throw to Greg Olsen for a 39-yard touchdown, and the Bears were on their way.
Suddenly, Cutler had time to throw a 59-yard bomb to Johnny Knox. Hester made the best catch of his NFL career, a one-handed grab while dragging both feet to stay in bounds in the back corner of the end zone. Cutler’s passer rating (136.7) was the second-highest of his career on the road. And the Bears won with 38 rushing yards and two yards per carry, tied for their fewest rushing yards in a victory during the Super Bowl era.
Tice helped to settle down an offensive line that was in disarray in that game. Now he has an even bigger task as the coordinator.
It won’t be easy. As Tice noted last week, the Bears ‘‘have a checklist of things we have to do better.’’ And that checklist is long enough that everything won’t be done at once.
‘‘We’ve got to work at getting better at something each game without taking any steps backward,’’ Tice said.
That’s not an impossible task against a Cowboys team that creates its own problems even better than the Bears do. DeMarcus Ware is one of the best pass rushers in the NFL, but he can be contained. He had two sacks against the Giants in Week 1
and two sacks last week against the Buccaneers — both Cowboys victories. But he was shut out in a 27-7 loss to the Seahawks in
Week 2. The Seahawks’ starting left tackle that day? Omiyale.
The Bears don’t have an ‘‘anchor’’ on their offensive line, but they have a lot of guys who can get the job done with a little help, a little communication and a lot of teamwork.
Nobody expects J’Marcus Webb or Gabe Carimi to become Joe Thomas or Jake Long overnight — or ever, at this point. But Tice knows there’s still a way to get the job done. It has happened before.