CHICAGO (AP) — Josh McCown threw for three touchdowns and ran for another as the Chicago Bears took a 35-14 lead over the Dallas Cowboys through three quarters of a Monday night game between NFC teams trying to tie for the lead in their divisions.
Wind chill temperatures below zero and two struggling defenses did little to slow the offenses at Soldier Field. The frigid conditions didn't stop the halftime ceremony where the Bears retired the No. 89 of Hall of Famer Mike Ditka, who won a championship with Chicago as a player and head coach.
McCown flipped a 4-yard touchdown pass to running back Matt Forte for a 33-14 lead, and then completed a 2-point conversion pass to Brandon Marshall with 2:20 left in the third quarter to culminate a 14-play, 90-yard drive.
Robbie Gould kicked a 34-yard field goal on Chicago's first possession of the third quarter for a 27-14 lead.
McCown completed 24 of 33 passes for 296 yards through three quarters. The Bears scored on all six of their possessions though three quarters against the league's worst-ranked pass defense.
McCown threw a 25-yard pass to wide receiver Alshon Jeffery over two defenders for a touchdown with 10 seconds left in the first half to finish a 37-second, five-play scoring drive.
Gould kicked a 27-yard field goal with 3:49 left in the second quarter to break a 14-14 tie and end a 68-yard drive. The Bears forced a punt to set up the quick 60-yard march to the late TD.
Dallas' Tony Romo threw his second touchdown pass of the first half, a game-tying 10-yard toss off a bootleg to tight end Jason Witten with 5:22 left in the second quarter that tied the score at 14.
However, most of Dallas' big first-half plays came from running back DeMarco Murray, who had 132 yards on 16 carries through three quarters against the league's worst-ranked run defense.
McCown scored from 7 yards out on third down to give the Bears a 14-7 lead in the second quarter, leaping into the end zone and colliding with Dallas linebacker Sean Lee before spinning to the ground to end a 65-yard, 10-play march.
The Cowboys went 75 yards on the game's opening drive with Romo completing a 2-yard touchdown pass to Dez Bryant on second-and-goal to end the 12-play march. The first 37 yards of the drive came on the ground against Chicago's 32nd-ranked run defense, including a drive-opening 19-yard run off right tackle by Murray. He had 52 yards on six carries during the drive.
Romo completed a third-and-3 pass of 11 yards to Cole Beasley at the Bears 14 to keep the drive alive.
The Bears answered with a 78-yard drive in 12 plays, ending with a 4-yard, third-down McCown-to-Earl Bennett TD pass with 1:35 remaining. A third-and-10 pass of 15 yards to Jeffery kept the drive going.