By Adam Hoge-
SOLDIER FIELD (CBS) — It was fitting that on the night Mike Ditka’s No. 89 was retired, the Bears did something they hadn’t done since the former tight end’s last NFL season as a player.
They didn’t punt.
The Bears scored on every single offensive possession in Monday’s 45-28 win over the Cowboys — except the last one, when they knelt down to end the game.
The last time the Bears did not punt in a game was Oct. 1, 1972 against the Lions. That was Mike Ditka’s final season as an NFL player, although he was playing for the Cowboys at the time.
What made Monday night’s accomplishment even more impressive was that the Bears didn’t have any turnovers either. It’s the first time in franchise history the Bears did not punt and did not commit a turnover in the same game.
There were two other occasions the Bears didn’t punt: Nov. 6, 1955 against the Packers and Nov. 28, 1965 against the Giants, when Ditka was a Bear.
Monday night’s offensive performance was simply dominant, even if it came against the 32nd ranked defense in the league. The Bears won the time of possession 36:44 to 23:16 and racked up 490 offensive yards. In nine possessions, the Bears had five touchdowns, three field goals and the kneel down to end the game.
With the Bears’ defense struggling the way it is (the unit still allowed 198 rushing yards to the Cowboys) the offense needs to be just about perfect to win.
That’s exactly what they were Monday night.
Ditching The Gloves
With a temperature of eight degrees and a wind chill of -9 degrees, Monday night’s game was the fourth coldest game on record for the Bears.
To deal with the temperatures, the Bears practiced outside Friday and Saturday, and even though it wasn’t as cold or as windy at Halas Hall on those days, quarterback Josh McCown said it helped a lot. He considered wearing a glove on his throwing hand, but ultimately decided it was best to go without one.
“When we got outside (in practice), I was able to throw without a glove and it gave me a lot of confidence and gave us all a lot of confidence in what we can continue to do to execute our offense and for Monday night,” McCown said.
The quarterback had a historic night, becoming the first Bears quarterback ever to have three straight 300-yard passing games. He finished Monday’s game with 348 passing yards, five passing touchdowns, one rushing touchdown and zero interceptions for a passer rating of 141.9.
The Bears’ defense was far from perfect Monday night, but it was better and came through with three straight stops that allowed the offense to put the game away.
With the Bears holding a 17-14 lead, the defense forced a Cowboys’ punt with 59 seconds left in the first half and the offense took advantage as McCown found Alshon Jeffery for a ridiculous 25-yard touchdown catch in the back of the end zone. The Bears then got the ball back after halftime and added a field goal before the defense got another stop. This time, McCown found Forte for a 4-yard touchdown pass to give the Bears a 35-14 lead late in the third quarter. The Cowboys then turned the ball over on downs on their next drive and McCown iced the game with a 17-yard pass to Michael Bush.
“Really happy the way our defense made those stops in the second half, in a close game,” Trestman said. “Very excited that our guys stayed on the field offensively and scored points.”
– Rookie linebacker Jon Bostic, who played college football at Florida, said before Monday night, the coldest game he had ever played in was at Vanderbilt when it was 50 degrees. And it was a Noon game.
– The Bears are 4-0 in night games this season.
– The Bears did not suffer any notable injuries against the Cowboys.
Adam Hoge covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamHoge.