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Dallas Cowboys nose tackle Jay Ratliff practiced on Wednesday, according to ESPN Dallas. Ratliff had not practiced since suffering a right ankle sprain on Aug. 25, and missed most of the offseason camps with plantar fasciitis.
The Cowboys also say defensive end Kenyon Coleman returned to the practice field; the veteran had missed the past two games with hamstring and back issues.
It wasn't all good news on the health front, however, as linebacker DeMarcus Ware, tight end John Phillips, linebacker Bruce Carter, linebacker Anthony Spencer and punter Chris Jones all missed practice. Ware, who has been fighting a hamstring injury all season, has not missed a game due to the issue.
The Cowboys (2-2) have a bye week before facing the Ravens in Baltimore on Oct. 14.
Coming off a disastrous Monday night loss to the Bears, all eyes are on Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo. The veteran Dallas QB threw five interceptions against Chicago, putting himself atop the headlines for all the wrong reasons. After the game, a solemn Romo talked about how the sting of the five-pick performance will linger as the Cowboys enter the bye week (via Todd Archer of ESPNDallas):
"You have to get over it," Romo said. "It's going to suck for a few days now. Obviously it's going to sit there in your stomach and just eat at you. ... In different situations out there, I just tried to do too much and help out different areas. That's going to catch up to you in the National Football League."
Romo will now have two weeks off to study the ugly film of the game, and work to correct the mistakes. But Cowboys fans have become accustomed to the up-and-down ride that Romo can take the team on during a season. He vowed to address what he needs to do going forward to avoid a repeat performance. He's confident he'll be able to get over it and be able to perform his job more effectively by not trying to do it all:
"I'm going to have to re-assess a couple of things that are happening and make sure they don't happen again. It's been like this at a time where we had a game where we had turnovers last year. I just have to make a conscious effort to make sure to control that aspect. In saying that, I can't try to do too much. I think I tried to do that too much. Going forward, I'm just going to have to do my job. And I will."
It won't get much easier for the Cowboys coming off the bye, as they face another historically stout defense -- this time on the road. They head to Baltimore to face the Ravens in Week 6, but there's plenty of work to do between now and then.
Although Romo will be credited with all five interceptions, Tim Macmahon of ESPN Dallas feels that the first two should be blamed on the intended wide receivers Kevin Ogeltree and Dez Bryant.
While Ogeltree accepted responsibility for his mishap, Bryant offered MacMahon the following explanation:
"It was just the guy made a good play on the ball," Bryant said. "He kind of disguised what he was doing. What was called, if I was pressed, I was supposed to run deep. If he was off, I was supposed to run the stop route. He pressed and then he kind of bailed and stopped. I just felt like he made a good play on the ball."
Bryant finished the game with eight receptions for 125 yards but failed to find the end zone for the fourth consecutive game this season. Bryant has 21 receptions for 269 yards this season.
The Cowboys are 17th in the SB Nation NFL Power Rankings
While the Cowboys defense did allow two Jay Cutler touchdowns on Monday night, the story of the game was the offensive struggles of the Tony Romo-led offense, which resulted in a 34-18 blow out loss at home for Dallas. Romo finished the night with five interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns and put the Cowboys in a hole they couldn't dig themselves out of.
With a Week 5 bye upcoming, the Cowboys fans will have two weeks to stew over the loss, and K.D. Drummond at Blogging the Boys isn't feeling very optimistic:
Dallas sits at 2-2 but there is so much work to be done on this team that it's hard to remain positive. Looking at the post-bye schedule of at Ravens, at Panthers, vs Giants, at Atlanta and at Philadelphia... the soul-searching over the next two weeks will have to be Paranormal Activity-worthy in order to right this ship.
The five interceptions of Romo are likely to draw plenty of talk from the media during the coming week, as Kyle Orton came in during the final minutes of the game and had much more success, albeit against a defense that was no longer fighting to keep the game in its clutches. He paled in comparison to Bears' quarterback Jay Cutler, who, according to Steven Schweickert of Windy City Gridiron, played completely unlike the Cutler that struggled against the Packers and Rams:
There were a couple questionable throws, but largely, he hit his windows, gave his receivers plays, and didn't take too many unnecessary risks. And fortunately, he didn't have to take too many unnecessary risks, and the Bears still mixed in a few really nice deep calls.
Cutler finished the game 18-of-24 passing for 275 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions, while only get sacked twice by the Cowboys.
Will this be the epitaph of the Tony Romo era in Dallas? Would Kyle Orton be a better option behind center? It's all on the table after a disastrous showing on Monday Night Football.
Even with a bye week, it's going to be hard to recover from this one.
The Dallas defense allowed Jay Cutler 275 yards and a 75 percent completion rate, but with Romo turning the ball over four times in the second half the game was quickly out of hand regardless of defensive efforts. Romo's final line on the night was 31-of-43 for 307 yards with five interceptions and one touchdown, and he was benched late in the fourth quarter in favor of Kyle Orton. Romo didn't get any help from the ground game. Demarco Murray was completely unable to get anything going and finished with 24 yards on 11 carries.
Jason Witten managed to avoid the drops that had haunted him in earlier weeks, catching 10 passes for a total of 72 yards. Only Dez Bryant had more for the Cowboys, finishing with 105 yards on eight catches.
With the loss Dallas falls to 2-2. They next head on the road to face the Baltimore Ravens, another defense likely to be a strong test for Romo.
Two turnovers in the third quarter have the Dallas Cowboys trailing the Chicago Bears through three, 24-10. Tony Romo threw two interceptions on consecutive drives, wasting a turnover his own team managed to force. The Dallas defense nearly picked up a second fumble, but it was overturned on replay.
Romo's first interception of the second half came just inside the Chicago red zone when a pass over the middle ricocheted off Kevin Ogletree and landed in Major Wright's arms. Demarcus Ware came through for Dallas with a strip sack, giving Dallas the ball at the Chicago 27, but Romo's first pass of the following drive was a pick-six for Lance Briggs. Romo is 25-for-33 for 264 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions through three quarters.
The Dallas running game continues to gain little ground. Demarco Murray has only 24 yards on 11 carries.
Dallas' defense is making an effort, but with Chicago gaining 14 points on turnovers the game has gotten away from the Cowboys.
A miscommunication about a route between Romo and Dez Bryant led to the turnover, but Romo responded with a touchdown on the following drive, leading the Cowboys 80 yards down the field for the score.
Romo is making connections, going 17-for-21 and 8-of-9 on the final drive, but between the interception and the two-minute drive, it's tough to tell what Dallas will see from him in the second half. DeMarco Murray is also struggling on the ground, rushing for just 13 yards on seven carries. Prior to the final drive, the Cowboys had three punts and a turnover, with the longest drive just 36 yards.
Romo is spreading the game around, with Murray, Dez Bryant and Jason Witten all having four receptions. Witten has had sure hands in the first half, avoiding the drops that have plagued him in the early season. Miles Austin has three catches for 41 yards, including the touchdown strike from Romo.
The Dallas defense has limited what Chicago can do, but they're far from dominant. They went without a sack in the first half, and Cutler is 7-for-12. They're less successful stopping Matt Forte, who is averaging 6 yards per carry.
The Dallas Cowboys and the Chicago Bears are scoreless through one quarter of action in their Monday night showdown. Tony Romo is having success reading the Chicago defense, going 5-for-6 for 50 yards, but the Cowboys have been unable to capitalize.
Demarco Murray is having less success, collecting only seven yards through the first 15 minutes. He's had more success as a receiver, including one pass he took for 20 yards before being shoved out of bounds. Jason Witten has a pair of completions and no drops, possibly allowing him to build the confidence neccessary to escape what plagued him early in the season. Kevin Ogletree added another two catches for 17 yards.
Dallas' defense has yet to allow a score, but like Romo, Cutler is making his connections. He's 5-for-7 in the first quarter. The first quarter saw very little dynamic offense from either team, so patience and field position may become the key to scoring.
Dallas Cowboys inside linebacker Bruce Carter is questionable to return after leaving the game with a hip injury, reports Michael C. Wright. This could be a significant setback for Carter, who has a history dating to his days playing for North Carolina.
How the injury occurred was not clear, with no apparent collision or other incident. Carter, a first-round draft pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, has started all four of the Cowboys' 2012 games. He has collected four tackles in each of the first three games.
The Cowboys drafted Carter looking for an athletic linebacker to add some speed to their front seven, but injury caused Carter to miss six games in 2011 and has limited his contributions in general. When healthy, he tends to display the kind of potential that led to his first-round selection in the first place.
The Cowboys and the Bears are scoreless after one quarter of action in Dallas.
Outside linebacker Anthony Spencer is inactive for tonight's matchup against the Chicago Bears. The sixth-year pro out of Purdue is out with a shoulder injury, after tallying 21 tackles through the first three games of the Cowboys' season.
Punter Chris Jones is also inactive for Monday Night Football, leaving backup punter Brian Moorman to punt to Chicago's Devin Hester. The rookie Jones has averaged 46.4 yards per punt, and has pinned five of his 11 total punts inside the 20.
Other inactives for Dallas tonight are as follows:
After some uncertainty regarding Matt Forte's status, as the feature back has been dealing with a hurt ankle, Forte will play tonight for the Bears. After rushing for 111 yards through Chicago's first two games, he sat out last week against the St. Louis Rams.
Here are the inactives for the Bears.
Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte is expected to play tonight against the Dallas Cowboys, according to Jay Glazer. Per the NFL insider, Forte has told his teammates he's ready to go tonight and that multiple sources have confirmed the news.
Forte has been dealing with a sprained ankle the past few weeks and Bears coach Lovie Smith would not commit to his status this week, only noting that the running back was making progress during practice.
Forte has rushed for 211 yards and one touchdown on 23 carries this season, getting the ball just seven times against Green Bay before leaving with the injury. The versatile back has well over 1,000 all-purpose yards in each of his four NFL seasons, rushing for 997 yards in 2011 along with 490 receiving yards and four total touchdowns.
Forte was signed to a four-year, $32 million contract this past summer. The Bears had placed the franchise tag on the running back following the 2011 season.
The Dallas Cowboys welcome the Chicago Bears to Arlington for Monday Night Football, in a game where both teams enter with more questions than answers early in the season.
The three matchups that will likely decide the Monday night game between Dallas and Chicago.
After a turbulent Week 3 that saw a handful of upsets, JP Starkey is back with his Week 4 NFL picks.
The Dallas Cowboys are looking like they will be banged up on Monday as they have seven players who did not practice on Friday
According to Nick Eatman of DallasCowboys.com, Romo has the chance to pass former Cowboys quarterback Danny White in three separate categories on the team's all-time records lists:
Romo currently ranks fourth on the Cowboys' list in passing yards with 21,675. He's just 284 yards away from White's mark of 21,959.
He's third in franchise history in completions with 1,742 and needs just 20 to pass White (1,761) for second place.
Romo is tied for third with Roger Staubach for third most passing touchdowns at 153, just two behind White at 155.
Troy Aikman currently leads in all three categories, with 2,898 completions for 32,942 yards and 165 touchdowns.
Romo is in his sixth full season as the Cowboys starting quarterback, and has passed for 21,675 yards and 153 touchdowns on 1,742 completions. His 96.6 career quarterback rating is the third-highest in NFL history.
The experts, computers and fans all side with Dallas.
The front office has played a dangerous game over the past few years with their offensive line strategy. It may be costing Tony Romo the prime years of his career.
The Dallas Cowboys were banged up on Thursday as six players did not practice.
The Dallas Cowboys let go of safety Mana Silva on Thursday to clear space for punter Brian Moorman, according to a report by Todd Archer of ESPNDallas.com.
Moorman, cut by the Buffalo Bills, will be filling in for Chris Jones, who is expected to miss a few weeks after sustaining a knee injury following almost getting his second punt of the young season blocked, reports Archer.
Moorman will also hold placekicker Dan Bailey's field goal and extra point attempts.
Silva had two tackles through the Cowboys' first three games, as Dallas will now be leaning on safeties Gerald Sensabaugh – in the process of recovering from a right calf strain but expects to play this week – and Danny McCray as their last line of defense when they square off against the Chicago Bears at home on Monday night.
Safety Eric Frampton was signed on Tuesday, but will likely contribute mainly to special teams, according to the report, while Brandon Carr could assume more safety duties when Dallas switches out of its base defense.
Sensabaugh, who in his four-year Cowboys career has been durable and has only missed two games, sat out the Cowboys' win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 3 with a calf strain. He had started in 45 straight games before sitting out last weekend. The Cowboys are already thin at safety after losing Barry Church to a season-ending torn Achilles injury, so getting Sensabaugh back could be crucial.
The Cowboys, with or without Sensabaugh, will be facing a Bears passing offense that only ranks 28th in the NFL with 186.3 passing yards per game. The Bears' rushing offense is better, averaging 103.7 yards a game, good for No. 13 in the NFL.
Monday night's game kicks off at 7:30 p.m. CT and will be televised by ESPN.
Breaking down the MNF match-up straight up and with the spread.
The Cowboys are field-goal favorites over the Bears for week 4's Monday Night Football matchup.
Dallas spent $50 million on the top CB in free agency in the off-season, but injuries might force them to move him (and his massive paycheck) to the safety position.
A conversation with Ricky O'Donnell of SB Nation Chicago about the first three weeks of the Bears season and what to expect on Monday night.
Extremely thin in their secondary after losing defensive back Barry Church to an Achilles injury, the Dallas Cowboys wasted little time adding free agent safety Eric Frampton on Tuesday, according to Rainer Sabin of The Dallas Morning News.
Frampton, a proven defender selected in the fifth round by Oakland in 2007, reportedly beat out a handful of other defensive backs at a pivotal workout on Tuesday on the practice field and was promptly handed a contract right then and there.
The four names that Frampton edged were Antwaun Molden, Aaron Rouse, Don Carey and Tyrone Culver, as the 28-year-old Washington State grad clearly impressed Dallas coaches with his versatility and ability to contribute on special teams.
Seeing as how safety Gerald Sensabaugh also remains questionable heading into Week 4 after sitting out of Sunday's win over Tampa Bay, it's only logical that the Cowboys would be desperate for more bodies right now at a key point in the season.
Frampton has the talent to make an impact right away on special teams, but his presence should also help take pressure off a cornerback like Brandon Carr who has been forced out of his natural position.
Other key match-ups include the Cleveland Browns taking on the Baltimore Ravens at 7:20 p.m., Thursday on NFL Network. The San Francisco 49ers travel east to face the New York Jets at noon, Sunday on FOX. Finally, the red-hot Atlanta Falcons meet Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers at 3:25 p.m. Sunday, also on FOX.
For a complete listing of all the games, be sure to check out S.I.'s schedule page.
The Chicago Bears, whom the Cowboys host on MNF, currently lead the NFL in sacks, with 14 through their first three games.
That lofty sack total comes primarily from their front four – Julius Peppers (2.5), Stephen Paea (1.0), Henry Melton (3.0), Israel Idonije (2.5) – who can generate a pass rush without any extra blitzers.
Peppers, a 6'7 280-pound DE, is a seven-time Pro Bowler and five-time All-Pro who Chicago signed to a six-year $91.5 million contract two years ago.
Melton, a 6'3 295-pound DT, is a native of Fort Worth who signed with Texas as a highly-touted RB, but was moved to the DL after falling behind Jamaal Charles on the Longhorns' depth chart.
The Dallas Cowboys (2-1) will play host to the Chicago Bears (2-1) in Week 4 on Monday Night Football.
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