ATL: What We Learned  

 

Jason Hatcher: 'We got our butts beat' by the Bears

CHICAGO -- In a somber locker room, Dallas Cowboys players stripped the pads from their thawing bodies after taking a bone-chilling thumping at the hands of the Chicago Bears. As the pads thudded in the deadened space, it was difficult not to hear the Cowboys' playoff chances crashing with them.

"It was a very embarrassing game; we got our butts beat," defensive tackle Jason Hatcher said of the 45-28 loss "We got outplayed."

The Cowboys' defense gave up 490 yards, mostly of the chunk-yardage variety to Bears wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery.

"We never had an answer," cornerback Brandon Carr said. "They had their way with us in all three phases of the game."

No answer is an apt way to put it. The Bears scored on their first eight possessions. The only time the Bears had the ball and didn't score was Josh McCown's final kneel of the game.

The Bears quarterback took advantage of a butter-soft Cowboys defense, spreading the ball around at will on the Cowboys' secondary. McCown ended the game with 348 yards and five touchdowns (four throwing, one rushing).

DeMarcus Ware was asked by a reporter after the game what he thought about McCown's five touchdowns.

"If you were back there at quarterback and we played the way we played you'd probably have five touchdowns," Ware responded.

The theme was consistent from owner Jerry Jones on down: The Cowboys lost a chance to keep pace with the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC East division race. Jones said what the players seemed to know: The Cowboys need to win their final three games.

One more loss and those pads will be hitting the ground for good before January.

Here is what else we learned in Chicago:

1. McCown's dismantling of the Cowboys will lead to another round of questions about Jay Cutler's future. Bears coach Marc Trestman reiterated that when Cutler is healthy, he is the starter.

2. Alshon Jeffery was awesome again. We won't belabor the point. Links to the "Great works of Alshon" below:

3. Jones said he wants his defense to take more risks. He emphatically insisted that doesn't mean a change in philosophy. He said when his defense plays conservatively it gets burned (he also said the Cowboys got burned when they took chances Monday night). Jerry really wants Rob Ryan back, even if he won't say it.

4. The defense was so bad that Jones admitted it took the Cowboys out of their game plan, which was riding DeMarco Murray down the field against a Bears defense that is unable to stop the run.

5. The Bears pulled even with the Detroit Lions at 7-6 in the NFC North. Trestman's offense is good enough for the Bears to win the division, but his defense needs to be better. We're not sure even getting Lance Briggs back will be enough.

6. Sean Lee, in his first game back, left with a neck injury. Jones said afterward he wasn't sure if, or how long, Lee would be out.

7. Temperatures dipped well into the negatives, with the wind-chill at -8 degrees at one point. It was so cold even Mike Ditka called it "unbearable." (We're unsure if the pun was intended.)

The latest "Around The League Podcast" recapped all the Week 14 games.

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