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Cowboys blast Bears behind Murray's monster night

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The Dallas Cowboys didn't let their Thanksgiving malaise linger in a 41-28 destruction of the Bears on Thursday night. Here's what you need to know from the game:

1. Cowboys coach Jason Garrett has finally climbed the 8-8 mountain. This victory puts Dallas at 9-4, one step closer to a playoff berth that few saw coming before the season. Their recipe for success hasn't changed. Dallas controlled the contest by giving the ball to DeMarco Murray, forcing a timely turnover and limiting their defense's exposure to the game.

2. Murray is so valuable in part because he makes the shaky Cowboys defense better. To put it another way: Murray had more touches (24) than Chicago had plays in the first half. Murray finished with 41 touches and 228 yards from scrimmage, including nine catches. Start the 2,000-yard season watch; after 179 yards rushing Thursday, Murray needs to run for 394 yards in the final three weeks to hit the milestone.

3. Murray also allows Tony Romo to dink and dunk on a frigid night where Romo mostly didn't want to go deep. Romo had almost as many touchdowns (three) as incompletions (five) on 26 attempts. After so many years of carrying imbalanced Cowboys teams, Romo can win blowouts without having to take many risks.

4. Give Garrett credit for knowing his team's strengths. He had the Cowboys go for it on fourth-and-1 twice in the red zone during a first-half drive, and Murray converted both chances on the way to an opening score.

5. Chicago got a big scare in the first half when Brandon Marshall took a shot to the ribs, knocking him out of the game. He took an ambulance to a local hospital, but later tweeted that he's "good." Safety Chris Conte also got knocked out with a back injury.

6. It's taken this long to mention how truly unwatchable these Bears have become. Their defense is among the very worst in the league, if not the worst. They were second in points allowed before Thursday, and gave terrible effort tackling throughout the game. Romo had all day to throw when he needed it and the Bears' defensive front was overmatched.

This is the worst five-win team in the league. It's depressing that they have another primetime game. 

7. This was such a typical Jay Cutler game. You can't point to terrible play, but the Bears' offense just doesn't add up to the sum of their parts until it's too late. The Bears scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter after the score was 35-7. Ultimately, Cutler, Martellus Bennett and Alshon Jeffery put up an epic garbage-time performance that only helped their fantasy owners.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast previews a busy Week 14 schedule and recaps the Cowboys' win over the Bears. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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