December started off like normal for the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football, as they were absolutely embarrassed by the Chicago Bears 45-28.
The only bright spot in the game for the Cowboys was running back DeMarco Murray rushing for 146 yards on just 18 carries. But running back hasn’t completely run all over a defense that ranked dead last heading into Week 14? Even New York Giants running back Brandon Jacobs gained 106 yards on 22 carries, including two touchdowns, against the Bears in his first week back in the NFL.
Meanwhile, star wide receiver Dez Bryant had just two receptions for 12 yards and a touchdown.
Quarterback Tony Romo completed 11 of his 20 passes for three touchdowns, finishing the game with a 109.2 passer rating. But he only had 104 yards through the air, which marked his lowest yardage total this season.
Like I mentioned in the opening, though, December is a struggle for Dallas.
Most of the criticism will probably fall on the shoulders of Romo, but that is simply unfair. Romo is the only reason the Cowboys are ever in the hunt this late in the season -- he has a 24-5 record in November. The best record for any quarterback in the Super Bowl era with a minimum of 15 starts.
While his record in December is less than flattering (11-16), let’s just take a look at what the Cowboys' defense did Monday night against the Bears, because that is who should receive the attention and blame.
The Cowboys' defense allowed a backup quarterback, Josh McCown to throw for a career-high four touchdowns plus one rushing. While McCown had been playing well in Jay Cutler’s absence prior to this game, that does not diminish the fact that McCown is still a backup.
Not only that, Bears running back Matt Forte accounted for over 170 yards and wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery ran circles around the secondary.
If the does not make you want to put the blame on the defense because those are all great offensive players having career years, maybe the fact that the Bears scored on their first eight posessions will sway you.
OK. This will sway you for sure.
The Monte Kiffin-led Cowboy defense allowed 490 yards of total offense, which is the fifth time they have allowed 490 yards plus this season, tied for the most of any team since 1940. The Cowboys did not field a single punt in this game, which is the second time that has happened this sesaon. Only one other team since 1950 has faced two opponents who did not punt in a game in a single season: the 1981 Green Bay Packers.
Yes, it is only one game and it came on a night where Hall of Famer Mike Ditka’s number was retired, so Bears players, coaches and fans were all in. The Bears were also playing for a share of the NFC North lead.
But the Cowboys were playing for the same reason -- a chance to grab a share of their own division. The defense has not shown up all season for the Cowboys. If you are blaming Romo, you have it all wrong.