Dec 4, 2014 11:57 PM
Murray, Romo lead Cowboys over Bears 41-28
The Associated Press
CHICAGO (AP) Tony Romo didn't need much time to turn his attention toward next week's showdown. He was planning to do that on the flight home.
"I'll probably start on Philly tonight on the way back when we're on the plane," Romo said after the Dallas Cowboys beat the Chicago Bears 41-28 on Thursday night.
DeMarco Murray ran for a season-high 179 yards and a touchdown and Romo threw for three scores to lead Dallas past the Bears.
The Cowboys (9-4) made it look easy for most of the night against a struggling team that lost star receiver Brandon Marshall to a rib injury. Dallas clinched its first winning season since 2009 and guaranteed it will finish above .500 after three straight 8-8 finishes. But the Cowboys are looking for more, with an NFC East title and first playoff appearance in five years in sight.
"Other than the fact we still have all our goals in front of us," Romo said when asked about clearing the eight-win mark. "I think that that's more for you guys to do your 8-8 stuff."
Led by Romo and Murray, Dallas rebounded from a blowout loss to the Eagles on Thanksgiving and pulled within a half-game of them with another showdown in Philadelphia next week.
The Cowboys took a 14-7 halftime lead and scored 21 consecutive points in the third quarter before the Bears (5-8) rallied in the fourth.
With the win, the Cowboys improved to a league-best 6-0 on the road, where they have won seven straight since a blowout loss at Soldier Field on a bone-chilling night last December.
Here are some things we learned in this game:
TUNING UP: Romo, who has been bothered by a bad back, rebounded from a rough game against Philadelphia, completing 21 of 26 passes for 205 yards. He was patient, consistently checked down and posted a 138 rating for the game.
Having the league's leading rusher doesn't hurt him.
Murray carried 32 times. He also had 49 yards receiving on nine catches.
"Like a lot of great backs through the years in this league, oftentimes these guys get better the more touches they get," coach Jason Garrett said. "I think he's demonstrating that. He just has such a good feel for running the football."
RUNNING NOWHERE: The Bears vowed to be more balanced on offense after running eight times for 13 yards a week earlier in a loss at Detroit.
They made more of an effort this time but didn't get anywhere, running 15 times for 35 yards.
Matt Forte had 13 carries for 26 yards after tying a career low with five rushes against the Lions. The rest came from Jay Cutler, who ran two times for nine yards.
MARSHALL GOES DOWN: Limited by ankle problems earlier in the year, Marshall can now add a rib injury to the list.
He was hurt taking a knee to the right side from the Cowboys' Barry Church following a reception in the second quarter. That happened moments after he made a spectacular 42-yard catch, juggling the ball with his right hand, to help set up a touchdown.
TV cameras showed him leaving Soldier Field in an ambulance, and Marshall later posted on Twitter, "Thanks for the Prayers. .. I'm Good. #MindOverMatter."
BRENT'S BACK: Cowboys defensive tackle Josh Brent played for the first time this season after serving a 10-game suspension and being held out for two more following his intoxication manslaughter conviction.
He hadn't played since Dec. 2, 2012, six days before the drunken-driving crash that killed teammate Jerry Brown.
"I've been blessed to be put back in this position and I'm gonna take advantage of it," Brent said.
JOB SECURITY: Bears coach Marc Trestman insisted he's not worrying about his future. He's 13-16 in nearly two years and the Bears have regressed since they fired Lovie Smith following a 10-win season.
"The only thing I'm concerned about is the health of my football team right now and some of the players on it and bringing them in (Friday) and coaching them up to do a better job than they've done," Trestman said. "That's exactly my only focus and will be my only focus."
Notes: Beasley, who entered the league in 2012, came into the game with just three career TD catches. ... The Bears held out kicker Robbie Gould (right quadriceps) and defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff (knee). ... Chicago S Chris Conte left the game in the third quarter with a back injury.
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