Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Josh McCown threw four touchdown passes and ran one in, while Matt Forte amassed 175 yards and a score as the Chicago Bears crushed the Dallas Cowboys, 45-28, on Monday night.
Making his fourth straight start in place of an injured Jay Cutler, McCown was 27-for-36 for 348 yards, while Forte carried the ball 20 times for 102 yards, and added seven catches for 73 yards and a score for the Bears (7-6), who snapped a two-game skid.
Chicago head coach Marc Trestman was asked about whether McCown has earned the starting job after this performance.
"There's no change in the plan," said Trestman. "We'll see where Jay is this week. He'll have to be released by the doctors, but when Jay's ready to play, he'll be playing."
With the win, Chicago moved into a tie with Detroit for first place in the NFC North. The Lions, though, hold the tiebreaker as they beat the Bears in both matchups this season.
Tony Romo went just 11-for-20 for 104 yards, but didn't turn over the ball and had three touchdown passes for the Cowboys (7-6), who had won their past two coming in.
"Certainly, it was a disappointing loss and the loss stings," coach Jason Garrett said. "The worst thing we can do is have a hangover after this loss."
Dallas, which fell to 11-16 in December with Romo under center, dropped into second place in the NFC East, one game behind the Eagles, who defeated the Lions on Sunday.
The Cowboys started the game with the ball and used a healthy dose of DeMarco Murray to get on the board. He took the first handoff 19 yards, then took the next three for 18 more to get the ball across midfield. Later facing a 1st- and-goal at the 2, Romo sent a quick pass out to his left where Dez Bryant made the catch for a 7-0 lead six minutes in.
Chicago came right back with a scoring drive of its own, helped by a 15-yard catch from Alshon Jeffery on 3rd-and-10. Forte later had carries for 12 and 13 yards, before McCown found a wide open Earl Bennett in the end zone from four yards out to tie the game with 1:35 left in the first.
Following a three-and-out from Dallas, Chicago got the ball back at its own 35 and quickly got across midfield after a Jeffery catch for 11 yards, followed by a 20-yard catch by Brandon Marshall. McCown later ran for 10 yards to set up a 1st-and-goal at the 10, and took it in himself for a 7-yard score and a 14-7 lead with 8:58 to play in the first half.
Dallas marched right back down the field, starting with good field position after a short kick from Robbie Gould, and tied the game on a 10-yard catch- and-run into the right side of the end zone by Jason Witten with 5:22 to play in the half.
Chicago then got into the red zone after a 26-yard catch from Jeffery that saw a roughing the passer call on Dallas, but only came away with three after stalling at the nine with Gould hitting a 27-yard field goal with 1:33 left in the half.
It wasn't the last chance for the team, though, as Dallas had to punt, and the Bears got the ball back at their own 40 with all three timeouts.
Following a 19-yard catch from Marshall to the Dallas 25, McCown floated a pass into the right corner of the end zone where Jeffery came up with the ball, keeping both feet in, through double coverage to give the team a 24-14 lead going into the break.
Chicago began the third with the ball and moved it 58 yards over seven plays, capping the drive on a 34-yard field goal from Gould for a 27-14 lead.
Following a three-and-out from Dallas, Chicago went on a 90-yard drive that ate up over eight minutes and saw McCown hit Forte in the right flat for a 4- yard score. Marshall caught a pass on the 2-point conversion and it was a 35-14 lead with 2:20 to play in the third.
Dallas had another short possession, and Marshall's 22-yard catch set up a 17- yard scoring reception from Michael Bush for a 42-14 lead with 14:24 left in the game.
Cole Beasley caught a 9-yard score on Dallas' ensuing touch to make it a three-score game, but Gould answered with a 23-yard field goal.
Joseph Randle's 1-yard touchdown run in the final seconds accounted for the final score.
At a halftime ceremony, the Bears retired former player and head coach Mike Ditka's No. 89 jersey. His was the 14th number retired by Chicago ... Murray finished the game with 146 yards on 18 carries ... Marshall posted six catches for 100 yards, while Jeffery had five grabs for 84 yards ... Week 14 of the NFL season saw a total of 859 points scored, the most ever for one week ... Chicago hits the road for games in Cleveland and Philadelphia over the next two weeks ... Dallas returns home to face Green Bay next Sunday ... Chicago has won three straight over Dallas, but trails the all-time series, 13-11 ... Chicago controlled the ball for close to 37 minutes, and won the yardage battle, 490-328.