ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Cowboys are down at the break, 10-7, and didn't play well until the final drive of the first half. Tony Romo completed a 10-yard touchdown pass to Miles Austin that ended a nine-play, 80-yard drive.
Let's look at the first half:
Stick to the run: It's hard to run the ball when you get behind 10 points, so excuse the Cowboys for passing the ball extensively at the end of the first half. But the Cowboys have to keep things going on the ground. DeMarco Murray picked up just 13 yards on seven carries in the first half, and that's not going to get it moving forward. The Cowboys have to stick to the ground game if they expect to win. It seems Austin (three catches, 41 yards) and Dez Bryant (four catches, 44 yards) are getting free on quick slants, but nothing deep is developing for the Cowboys. Dallas needs to get Murray the ball 10 more times in the second half.
Finish pass rushes: You hear all the time about coaches wanting their players to finish plays. Well, quarterback Jay Cutler finished a play while the Cowboys' Victor Butler didn't. Cutler completed a 16-yard pass to Kellen Davis, a player the Cowboys targeted in free agency. The Cowboys didn't have any sacks in the first half and they didn't blitz a lot, playing mainly their base 3-4 stuff and sprinkling in Mike Jenkins at free safety in four-receiver sets. But the Cowboys' pass rush couldn't get to Cutler, who was sacked 11 times coming into the game. He didn't get knocked down or rattled early, something the Cowboys need to work on if they're expected to win. In the second half, the Cowboys have to get to Cutler and send some blitzes from the outside.
Stop the run: Chicago's Matt Forte was a game-time decision with an ankle sprain. His first run of the game was for 8 yards. Forte left the game briefly to get his ankle re-taped. He later returned and finished the first half with 42 yards on seven carries. The Cowboys lost inside linebacker Bruce Carter to a left hip injury and they were also playing without outside linebacker Anthony Spencer, a strong run stopper. The Bears' offensive line gave Forte some running lanes to work with in the first half. The Cowboys need to either run blitz or hope Carter returns in the second half.