DALLAS -- Regardless of what position they play, defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli stresses rushing the passer to all of his linemen.
The way the game has evolved -- and the quarterback position in particular -- Marinelli believes that's a requirement. Through the first three games, the Bears' 14 sacks led the NFL and 9½ had come from the nickel pass-rush package of Henry Melton (3), Julius Peppers (2½), Israel Idonije (2½) and Shea McClellin (1½).
"In our nickel package, when we've got to go after (the quarterback), all the guys up front can run," he said. "Where football's at today, you have play-makers back at the quarterback position. The guy from Washington (Robert Griffin III), (Michael) Vick, all those guys, they're all athletic guys. So you've got to match that with athletic rushers."
Melton picked up his team-best fourth sack in the first quarter Monday night.
Feeling left out:
Wide receiver Devin Hester had become an afterthought in the offense -- until Monday night.
Offensive coordinator Mike Tice is aware of the situation and is doing what he can to keep Hester (2 catches, 27 yards going into Monday night) involved, but there are other factors.
"We tried to get him the ball," Tice said of the Week 3 victory over the Rams, when Hester was blanked for the second straight game, and he was targeted only twice. "It doesn't always work out. Like that in the end zone that was designed for him. Basically, a one-man route, if you will."
Hester beat man coverage on that play and was open in the end zone but unable to corral a high pass from Jay Cutler.
"We are trying to find ways to get him the ball with reverses, a little play down in the red zone, some plays out in the field. Sometimes the coverage dictates that we're going to go to him. Sometimes it doesn't. But we're always going to try to get the ball to our players. We're always going to try to do it. It doesn't always work out that way."
Hester was targeted twice in the first half against Dallas and caught both passes, but they netted just 4 yards. But he made a diving catch at the goalline for a 34-yard TD early in the third quarter, his first score of the season.
Like old times:
After a slow start in which he played just past halftime, linebacker Brian Urlacher racked up 19 tackles the next two weeks and began to resemble his Pro Bowl form of 2011.
"We know what kind of player he is right off the bat," defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said. "That's the guy that can take a game over. Just his presence of being on the field and making checks, (changing the defensive) calls and his leadership, all those things. But now you can just see him getting better and better each week. He's just special, a special guy to this defense."
Urlacher had his first tackle for negative yardage this season on the Cowboys' first possession, when he dropped DeMarco Murray for a 1-yard loss.
By the numbers:
Entering Week 4, wide receiver Brandon Marshall is sixth in the NFL with 6,152 receiving yards since 2007. ... Tight end Kellen Davis has just 31 receptions in his five-year career, but 10 of them have been for touchdowns. Of his 6 catches this season, 1 was a 21-yard TD. He caught 3 passes for 62 yards against the Cowboys. ... Monday night Brian Urlacher tied Mike Singletary for most starts (172) by a defensive player in franchise history and third most overall. Walter Payton holds the record with 184, followed by Olin Kreutz (183).
In and out:
Wide receiver Earl Bennett was inactive with a left hand injury. He was replaced on the active roster by Dane Sanzenbacher, who was active on game day for the first time this season.
Offensive tackle Chris Williams was also inactive and OT Jonathan Scott was up for the first time this season. The other inactives were fullback Evan Rodriguez (knee), guard Edwin Williams, defensive tackles Matt Toeaina and Nate Collins and defensive end Cheta Ozougwu.