ReFo: Cowboys @ Bears, Week 14

Khaled Elsayed shares notes and grades for the standouts on both sides as the Dallas O-line led the way in this Week 14 win over Chicago.

| 3 years ago

ReFo: Cowboys @ Bears, Week 14

2014-REFO-WK14-DAL@CHIOn this run of Thursday Night Football I’ve seen some blowouts, some bruising encounters and this week, a bullying effort.

You don’t often see an offensive line manhandle an opposition the way the Dallas Cowboys did the Chicago Bears, but today we did and it was truly something special to behold. It may be that DeMarco Murray gets all the plaudits for his big boxscore day and he did have some nice runs, but this was the kind of game where it would have been harder not to run for triple digits, such was the level of movement and control the Cowboys’ front regularly got.

Naturally, that will be what we focus on here, but let’s look at some of the key individual performances.

Dallas Cowboys – Performances of Note

Travis Frederick, C: +7.3

Breakdown: It’s the ability of the Cowboys’ running game to score yards on different runs that makes them such a deadly rushing attack. They’re able to do that because Frederick can execute whatever is asked of him. If they want him to reach on a three-technique he can do it. If they want him to get movement on a double team and then work to the second level, he can do. The Bears merely provided the canvas for him to showcase his art.

Signature Stat: 131 of the Cowboys’ rushing yards came on A-gap runs.

Rolando McClain, LB: +3.4

Breakdown: Sometimes gambles do payoff. A disappointment in Oakland who has endured legal troubles and a retirement, the Cowboys took a chance that McClain could offer them something without harming the chemistry of the team. To say it has paid off is understatement. Any rust has been well and truly shaken off by now with McClain showing the kind of attributes that made him a first-round pick.

Signature Play: Gets inside the block of Michael Ola with 8.44 to go in Q1 to make a tackle for a loss, reading and reacting to the play before the Bears guard has a chance to slow him down.

Ronald Leary, LG: +6.2

Breakdown: The weak link in the Cowboys line, yet good enough that he’d be a starter for most teams in the league. Leary is the unheralded member of the unit but he took his chance in this win, where the play calls saw him getting to the second level on a regular basis to inflict punishment on Bears defenders.

Signature Play: You can say it was against a cornerback, but you don’t often see a pulling blocker generate the kind of movement (with a block to the ground for added emphasis) that Leary got with 14.50 left in the game.

Chicago Bears – Performances of Note

Jordan Mills, RT: +4.8

Breakdown: In a miserable night for the Bears one guy stood out especially. With his second grade in the green, Mills kept pressure to a minimum and showed a real nastiness in finishing blocks on the rare occasion the Bears ran his way.

Signature Stat: Allowed no pressures for the second time in three outings.

Kyle Fuller, CB: -4.0

Breakdown: Playing Dez Bryant isn’t easy. Fuller burst onto the scene with turnovers galore but has struggled some since, missing some time and failing to make the right kind of plays. This game was no exception as Bryant beat him for three first downs including one a 43-yard gain downfield.

Signature Play: It’s that big gain that makes this lowlight reel. Fuller was beaten by a slight double move, allowing Bryant to get lots of separation and adjust to a slightly underthrown ball (Q3, 10.16).

Will Sutton, DT: -6.2

Breakdown: You’d be surprised to know Sutton played 47 snaps, with his only impression on the stat sheet a clean up hit on the quarterback. He had problems throughout here, getting driven off the line of scrimmage on double teams and giving up reach blocks when the Cowboys were setting up cutbacks. The worst thing you can say is he rarely looked in control of where he was going, and that’s a big reason Dallas had so much joy up the middle.

Signature Stat: In his fifth start, this was the first of them where he registered no tackles against the run.

PFF Game Ball

It was a joy to watch the left side of the Cowboys’ offensive interior so consider this award shared between Ronald Leary and Travis Frederick.


Follow Khaled on Twitter: @PFF_Khaled

  • Football

    Cowboys will still miss the playoffs

    • Jeff Walker

      pipe down hater

      • Football

        Oh yes, the Cowboys beat a terrible Bears team with Jay Cutler at QB, therefore they’re going to win the Super Bowl. Makes sense.

        • GrooveSDC

          I bet this guy was saying Dallas would be 8-8 this year too. Haters always move the goalposts.

          • Truth4Ya

            And Cowboys always choke under Romo.

  • Mike

    Remember when everyone was regretting not drafting Fuller in the 1st round? He has been brutal the last few weeks against the league’s best.

    • Jonathan Bennett

      He has been playing hurt for the past several weeks, and the Bears pretty much keep him in only because they have no other players who are competent enough to attempt to keep up with a top receiver. In addition, he’s still a rookie, and the Bears defensive scheme essentially gives receivers free releases for some reason.

    • Chris

      Not to mention he’s also been asked with marking Calvin Johnson and Dez Bryant the last 2 weeks. Thats all tall task for any DB not to mention a banged up rookie.

      • Dohkay

        Well he was fortunate enough to face Manuel, Geno, and Kaep for his first three games. Those three rank 30th, 38th, and 27th in PFF’s grades for 2014. As I predicted (and was slammed for it), Fuller was being massively overrated based on his performance against those three awful QBs and he went from being the top ranked corner through 3 weeks to the 111th ranked corner now.

        Sure, the last two weeks he’s been injured and matched up with two of the best WRs in the NFL but since week 3 he has one positive matchup (Atlanta in week 6). Very few cornerbacks dominate as rookies. Does this mean he’s doomed and a bust? No way. His 2nd year will tell us what his true value is and my guess is he’ll be an average coverage CB with above average run-stopping ability.

        • Chris

          He’s not as good as he looked early in the season, and he’s not as bad as he’s looked recently. Props for calling that early though.

  • Jason Williams

    The Bears are the most disappointing pro sports team in Chicago. Spare me the excuses about injuries or the talent level they are up against. This team had enough on the roster to contend for a playoff spot and they are the most disappointing team in the league.

    Worse yet, there are no changes in store. There’s no way they give up on Emery and Trestman or all the players they’ve drafted for at least another full season. You just signed Cutler to what is essentially a 3 year, $54 million deal and the Bears just can’t afford to take the cap hit of hitting the reset button now.

    This team will have to win next year with largely the same cast of characters they have this year. Or not. But if not, the 2016 Bears will look very, VERY different.

    • [email protected]

      Anybody who thought the Chicago Bears were a playoff team was just wrong. They didn’t fail to live up to their talent level. This IS their talent level. The team overachieved last year. Trestman is a heck of an offensive football coach and he proved that last year. He’s not a miracle worker, and he proved that this year.

      • Jason Williams

        you haven’t been watching the same games that I have.

        I see 2 pro bowl wr’s, a rb who has more yards from scrimmage than anyone since he came into the league, and a qb who has proven he has the talent to succeed when he makes good decisions.

        I also saw a defense with an upgraded defensive line, a so-so LB crew, and a back 4 that included two former pro bowl cb’s.

        Granted injuries took their toll on this team, but injuries hit every team, and they had no injuries other than Garza in their week 1 loss against Buffalo.

        • [email protected]

          You have two good receivers and a good rb. Outside of that not much. This is the NFL every team has a few good players. Overall its not a talented team at all.

          And don’t try to spin Jay Cutler into being a good QB. He slings it and hopes something good happens. He never makes good decisions.

        • Football

          Sorry, Jay Cutler is possibly the most overrated player in the NFL. He has a dream supporting cast, and he still can’t get it done. He leads the league with 15 interceptions, and 11 turnovers. The Bears aren’t going anywhere with him at QB

        • Tim Edell

          Brandon marshall is no longer a pro-bowl wr and the back 7 on defense is the worst in the league

  • drpaul1970

    That has got to be the best performance this year by an OL on your grading scale. The worst grade was Tyron’s 2.7.

  • Paul L

    Zac Martin is excellent and like Zleary will only get better how about Tyron smith he was all pro ladt year ,Doug free is the weak link he has problems with the edge .this team just need time to gel snd being young need to get much more power ,it is a fact your top strength is not until 30+. Doug free is the old man we need pass rushers that is the true weak link.