Receivers Viewers Guide: TE Bennett a missing factor

Receivers Viewers Guide: TE Bennett a missing factor
December 7, 2013, 11:30 pm
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The Dallas Cowboys have given up more than 380 passing yards in five games this season. That places them 31st in pass yards allowed per game.

The Bears rank in the top 10 of nearly every passing statistic, not unremarkable given the up-and-down state of their quarterback situation. The Bears have 22 passing touchdowns through 12 games, vs. 21 all last season.

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Dallas can’t stop passing offenses. The question is whether the Bears will be able to be one on Monday night when temperatures are projected to be in single digits, or if the cold will blunt the Bears’ best chances for staying with a Dallas offense ranked No. 3 in scoring.

“You hope not,” said offensive coordinator/line coach Aaron Kromer. “You hope that you can continue to have an effect in the passing game. The thing that can get you out of the passing game is something like happened in the Baltimore game when it was so wet and so windy. We couldn't even shotgun snap in that game. But I think that we'll continue to throw the ball in the cold.”

Yardage will not be enough, however. The Bears need touchdowns from their receivers.

The Bears are 0-5 in games when Alshon Jeffery has 100 receiving yards, including two 200-yard games. They are 3-2 when Brandon Marshall tops 100 yards.

But they have had more than two receiving touchdowns just once all season (Minnesota, week two). That will not be enough to beat Tony Romo and the Dallas offense.

What to look for: Martellus Bennett would like to prove to the Cowboys that having him behind Jason Witten was wasting Bennett’s skills.

“Witten’s a great tight end, I respect his game, there’s a lot of things he does well and a lot of things that I learned from him,” Bennett said. “But at the end of the day, sometimes you’re just at the bottom of the totem pole and the message doesn’t make it all the way down from the top, so you just try to get the scraps. It’s kind of like when somebody invites you over for dinner, but they don’t make you a plate, that’s kind of what it’s like.”

The Cowboys get middle linebacker, and leading tackler Sean Lee back from injury. Lee also leads the Cowboys with four interceptions.

Bennett has just one touchdown catch over the last five games and has gone from 31 catches through the first six games to 17 over the last six with Josh McCown the primary quarterback. The offense cannot continue its limited use of a tight end who was a top offseason signing priority.