Bears' offense gets into the act, too
Tight end Kellen Davis, pulling in a pass in front of Cowboys defensive back Danny McCray, played a key role in the second-half offensive attack.
The Bears' offense was overshadowed by a dominant defense Monday night at Dallas, and it took almost the entire first half to get rolling.
But quarterback Jay Cutler and Co. made their own statement.
Taking into consideration that the Cowboys came in with the NFL's No. 1 ranked defense, the Bears (3-1) and their offense should be feeling pretty good as they begin preparation for Sunday's game in Jacksonville against the Jaguars (1-3).
"The offensive line played extremely well start to finish," said quarterback Jay Cutler, who was sacked twice for just 8 yards in losses. "We ran the ball well. When the defense is playing like that, it's hard to lose."
While the defense got 5 take-aways, the offense turned it over just once and utilized a balanced attack with 28 runs and 26 pass plays.
Aside from the triumphant return of Matt Forte, who rushed 13 times for 52 yards after missing just one game with a sprained right ankle, the Bears got significant contributions in the passing game from two receivers who had been merely bit players in the first three games.
Tight end Kellen Davis came in with just 3 catches for 41 yards, and he committed an egregious drop on the first pass Cutler directed his way Monday. But he bounced back with 3 receptions for 61 yards.
"Especially after I had that first drop early in the game, to come back and make some plays felt really good," Davis said. "I really appreciate Jay. He had faith in me, and he came back and let me make some plays."
After a lot of talk in the off-season about how Davis would have a bigger role in Mike Tice's new offense, it had been more of the same for him through the first three games. Davis was used primarily as a blocker and an occasional red-zone target.
"I try to do what I'm asked to do in the offense," said the 6-foot-7, 267-pounder. "I would like more opportunities down the field, just like (Monday) night, but if I'm asked to block, that's what I'm going to do. It's all about winning games."
The early drop didn't dissuade Cutler from revisiting Davis later.
"With our reads, you just go one, two, three and whoever the guy is, that's the guy (you go to)," Cutler said. "I was proud of him bouncing back. He hasn't probably gotten as many balls as he wanted.
"He went up for that second one (for 21 yards) and went over the guy (Mike Jenkins) and ripped it out of his hands. He's playing good football."
Cutler, whose 140.1 passer rating was his second best as a Bear and the third best of his career, also incorporated Devin Hester into the attack for the first time all season.
After 2 short tosses in the first half netted just 4 yards, Cutler led Hester to a diving grab at the goal line for a 34-yard touchdown, just his second as a receiver since the start of the 2011 season and his first in almost a year.
Hester had been noticeably dissatisfied with the 2 catches for 27 yards he had in the first three games, a trend that extended back for much of last season.
In his 12 games previous to Monday, Hester had just 7 catches for 88 yards.
"I asked for a (few) more opportunities, pretty much," Hester said. "(Offensive coordinator) Mike Tice came to me and said that I was going to be one of the stars of the game. He let me know they were going to give me opportunities to make plays, and however I handled it, it's on me.
"I've been itching to come out and make plays. It didn't feel right going into the fourth game and not having been able to get into the end zone.
"But fortunately I was able to get into the end zone tonight. It's a big relief; now I want to continue to keep it going."
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