Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 10/21/14

1 Nov 1998: Head coach Mike Ditka of the New Orleans Saints looks on during the game against the Carolina Panthers at the Eriksson Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Panthers defeated the Saints 31-17. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Laforet /Allsport
“Da Coach” Ditka provided the fuel the Bears needed to carry them to the 45-28 victory Monday night (Photo credit: USA Today Sports Images) The Chicago Bears (7-6) pummeled their way to a tie for first in the NFC North with their 45-28 victory over the Dallas Cowboys (7-6) on a blistering night in Chicago Monday night. The win comes on the night Mike Ditka’s number 89 jersey was retired by the Bears at halftime, so you could not script a better night for a beat-down. Looking back at the keys for a Chicago Bears victory Boy, where was this last week against Minnesota? The Bears have struggled all season with holding onto a lead, but they had no problem doing that Monday night. While the defense shut down star wideout Dez Bryant (2 receptions for 12 yards and a touchdown) and did not give up the lead , they still had difficulty stopping the run, allowing stud running back Demarco Murray to break away on multiple occasions while running for 145 yards on 18 carries. The offense did a great job of eating clock and finishing their drives, scoring on every possession. I mentioned it briefly in the last piece, but I noted that Josh McCown needed a smart performance and had to get the ball to his many weapons in the safest way possible to keep it away from Cowboys’ linebacker Sean Lee, among others. McCown played extremely well, throwing for 348 yards and 4 touchdowns along with a rushing touchdown. Lee was rendered ineffective, leaving in the third quarter due to a neck injury caused from a major hit from Brandon Marshall.  The freezing tundra of Soldier Field may as well have been a playground for McCown as he shredded the Cowboys’ defense, spreading the ball around the field with ease save for some close calls through the air. Alshon Jeffery continued to make highlight reel catches with a tremendous back of the end zone toe-dragging grab to give the Bears a 24-14 lead at the half. The second-year receiver and one half of the best receiver tandem currently in football had five receptions for 84 yards and that exceptional touchdown before the half. The other half of that tandem, Marshall, had 100 yards on just six receptions. Running back Matt Forte had his third 100-yard rushing effort of the season, running for 102 yards on 20 carries. The offense overall played great on a night that made Da Coach especially proud to have his number retired. Another thing that was crucial for a Bears victory Monday night was getting to the quarterback. Although Tony Romo threw for three touchdowns, the defense disrupted him multiple times and made him feel uncomfortable. He only threw for 104 yards on 11-of-20 passing, and the quarterback was sacked twice. Romo had previously led his team to comeback victories for the past couple of weeks, so it was key for the Bears to get on him early and often. On a night that featured seven degree weather and near-negative wind chill, the Bears came out on fire and dominated. They need to play like this the last three games and get some outside help if they want to make the playoffs. No matter what happens the rest of this season, one thing is for sure: this one was for Ditka.
PLAYERS: Josh McCown
TEAMS: Chicago Bears

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