Chicago Bears win third straight, improve to 7-6

After passing for 338 yards and three touchdowns last Thursday in a 24-20 Thanksgiving win over the Lions, Mitchell Trubisky completed 23 of 31 passes for 244 yards and three TDs while also rushing for a season-high 63 yards and one TD on 10 carries.

The Bears (7-6) have now won three straight and four of their last five games, raising their record above .500 for the first time since they were 3-2. With the victory, they closed to within a game-and-half of the Vikings (8-4) and a half-game of the Rams (7-5) for the second and final wild card spot in the NFC.

The Cowboys (6-7) have now lost three straight and seven of 10 since a 3-0 start.

Dallas opened the game with a long, methodical drive that was capped by Ezekiel Elliott’s 2-yard touchdown run, taking a 7-0 lead. The Cowboys converted 4-of-4 third downs on the possession, including third-and-11 and third-and-eight situations. It was the longest opening drive in the NFL this season by plays (17) and time (8:57).

On the Bears’ first possession, they marched from their own 34 to the Cowboys’ 16 behind Trubisky, who completed a 19-yard pass to J.P. Holtz and scrambled twice for 5 and 13 yards. But Trubisky’s ill-advised pass was intercepted by cornerback Jourdan Lewis at the 1.

Trubisky rebounded on the Bears’ second possession, rifling a 5-yard touchdown pass to Allen Robinson II, tying the score 7-7 early in the second quarter. The TD was set up by a perfectly executed screen pass to Holtz, who gained 30 yards to the Dallas 9.

After the Cowboys went three-and-out, Eddy Piñeiro’s 36-yard field goal gave the Bears a 10-7 lead midway through the second period. The kick came after Anthony Miller’s 13-yard reception on third-and-10 from the Dallas 23 was nullified by a block-in-the-back penalty on Javon Wims.

Cowboys kicker Brett Maher followed by missing a 41-yard field-goal attempt wide right, after Elliott’s 31-yard run to the Bears’ 30. It was Maher’s eighth miss of the season on 13 field-goal tries from 40 yards and beyond.

The Bears increased their lead to 17-7 on Trubisky’s 8-yard touchdown pass to Robinson with :10 left in the half. The score came after Trubisky’s 21-yard pass to Miller to the Cowboys’ 8 with :22 remaining in the half.

The Bears opened the second half the same way they ended the first, as Trubisky threw his third TD pass of the game, a 14-yarder to Miller to make it 24-7 midway through the third quarter. Miller caught a short swing pass, burst through a hole, spun away from a defender and dove into the end zone.

Elliott’s 2-yard touchdown run on the first play of the fourth quarter closed the gap to 24-14. The score came after the Cowboys had recovered a David Montgomery fumble at their own 46.

The Bears answered immediately, as Trubisky kept the ball on a read-option play and dashed up the middle for a 23-yard touchdown run, widening the margin to 31-14 with 13:22 left in the fourth quarter.

The Cowboys cut the deficit to 31-21 on Prescott’s 19-yard touchdown pass to Amari Cooper with 4:29 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Trailing by two scores, Maher made a 31-yard field goal with :08 to play to make it 31-24. But Miller recovered the subsequent onside kick to seal the victory.

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