So, the question becomes, can the Bears do this next week in Cleveland, the week after in Philly and the final Sunday of the season back home against the Packers? The answer, probably, is yes because there's no way to stop the players they throw at defenses. Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, quite simply, form the best receiver tandem in the NFL. Each averaged nearly 17 yards a catch against the Cowboys. Marshall now has 84 receptions for 1,090 yards and nine touchdowns, while Jeffery has 75 catches for 1,193 yards and six touchdowns. They're too big, too fast, too strong and too good (thank you Stacy King) for anybody to guard. If you double them both, McCown is quite happy to find Martellus Bennett (53 catches, 588 yards and five touchdowns) or Forte (65 catches for 518 yards in addition to 1,073 rushing yards and nine touchdowns total).
As a group, they're too good in open space, too good after the catch, too diverse in talent for today's neutered defenses to counter. And Jeffery is becoming a wonder, the way he sticks his mitts up and snatches passes away from defenders like his hands have some sort of vacuum suction. The touchdown Jeffery caught at the end of the second quarter, which really seemed to demoralize the Cowboys, is the kind of play that's going to drive the Browns' defensive coaches crazy all week. Jeffery is turning into a monster, which only makes Marshall more difficult to defend, which only opens up running room for Forte, who'll be looking at safeties 20 yards down the field, which keeps defenses from being able to tee off on the quarterback, in this case McCown, who keeps doing and saying all the right things about being the backup while playing just a shade behind Nick Foles.
The assist they need, from here on out, is for Trestman to be as aggressive and creative with his play calling as he was against Dallas, for the coach to not go into a shell because he's on the road or he doesn't want to press his luck and worry about a turnover or two, or whatever coaches begin to stress over when they go ultraconservative. The Bears don't have any other way to win; you see how easily they let Dallas go for 28 points? Does all this mean the Bears will score 45? Well, yes, it actually can. The personality of the team is beginning to evolve. Players talked about it afterward, in almost hushed tones in the locker room. It's one thing to know what your team can do, it's another to see it happen. Marshall/Jeffery/Forte/Bennet&Bennett actually want to play this aggressively. They want their coach to go after defenses just the bloodthirsty way he went after the sorry, overrated Cowboys on Monday night. Young tackle Jermon Bushrod remembered looking up at the scoreboard late in the second half and seeing that McCown's passer rating was "140-something ... and I think we had 150 yards rushing ... and we spread it around. Everyone got touches. It was beautiful."
Marshall and Cutler were never delusional about the offense. They said in September and then again in October it would take time for the players to feel the notes, for the coaches to orchestrate the music. And suddenly the Bears are a team with a viable winning option, one that doesn't have to wait for Hester to break one or the defense, crippled with injuries, to score or put the offense on a short field.