Chicago Bears quarterback Josh McCown has made it a history to create new history for the Bears just about every time he steps on the field, and the results speak for themselves.
Not only has McCown kept setting the record for being the oldest Bears quarterback to ever throw for 300 yards in a game, but he has also set some team history for quarterbacks in general, becoming the first ever Bears QB to throw for 300 yards in a game in three consecutive weeks.
Monday night was merely the icing on the cake for what has really been a remarkable run for McCown.
Against the Dallas Cowboys, the 34-year old veteran (who for some reason both Ray Lewis of ESPN and Donovan McNabb referred to as "this young man") went 27-of-36 for 348 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions in the 45-28 triumph. Under his guidance, the offense was able to generate points in eight of their nine possessions (the final possession was a kneeldown to end the game with just a few seconds left on the clock), and his quarterback rating of 141.9 illustrates just how in command of his game he was.
With winds blowing between 15-25 MPH across the field, McCown was still able to work the sidelines with precision, and threw a couple of great passes that enabled the Bears to keep the clock moving. His passes to Martellus Bennett on the Bears’ first drive were both right on the money, and the touchdown pass that he ultimately threw to Earl Bennett on that series was a perfectly placed ball as well.
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McCown also executed the quick slant patterns and screen passes that have become staples of this Bears offense with ease in this one. Despite the cold conditions, McCown’s touch was right on point on a screen pass to Matt Forte in the third quarter after a convincing fake hand-off to Alshon Jeffery that the Cowboys defense bit hard on, and the result of the play was an easy four yard score for the Bears’ running back.
There was also the slightly less successful (scoreboard-wise) but just as well executed slip screen pass that McCown threw underneath to Dante Rosario in the second quarter of the game. It was a perfectly thrown ball right into Rosario’s wheelhouse, and the former Cowboys tight end made it all the way down to the Dallas 5-yard line. Even though Roberto Garza committed a holding penalty on the next play that pushed the Bears back and prevented them from scoring a touchdown, the play preceding that was a great indicator of how on his game McCown was.
Even when McCown wasn’t able to make plays with his arm, he made some great moves with his feet in the game too. On a key third down play in Dallas territory in the second quarter, McCown made a beeline for the first down marker, and taking advantage of a massive block by Brandon Marshall on Dallas LB Sean Lee, he was able to get the first down to keep the drive alive. Just three plays later, McCown again took off running, this time leaping for the end zone before colliding with Lee again and spinning around like a helicopter. No matter how crazy the play looked, the end result was a touchdown, the first rushing score for McCown since the 2004 season.
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McCown also got breaks even when he was just throwing the ball away. On a play late in that second quarter, McCown heaved a ball towards the back right corner of the end zone, and on replay it almost looked like he was throwing it away with how high it arced. Despite that, Alshon Jeffery was able to go up and get it, evading two Dallas defenders while still somehow getting his feet down inbounds for a crucial score that gave the Bears a ton of momentum heading into halftime, and really seemed to deflate the Cowboys’ spirits.
With 33 first downs and an 8-for-11 performance in converting on third down, McCown and company were able to turn in arguably their best offensive play of the season in a crucial game, and it was McCown’s ability to do all the little things right that ultimately got the Bears back into a tie with the Detroit Lions atop the NFC North division.