The Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears didn’t have a lot for which to give thanks in 2004. Both teams were 3-6 and their playoff hopes were as cooked as the turkeys families across America were now digesting. In previous weeks, the two clubs were hammered by AFC powerhouses. The Indianapolis Colts stomped Chicago 41-10 at Soldier Field, while the Cowboys traveled to M&T Bank Stadium to take a 30-10 from the hometown Ravens. On this Thursday, November 25th, Chicago started rookie Craig Krenzel, who was making his sixth start of the season. For the Cowboys, there was great anticipation in seeing rookie quarterback Drew Henson, who Dallas coughed up a 2005 third-round pick to the Texans to take. Since the season was lost, the fans would at least see a wave of the future instead of a flat line of Bill Parcells’ glory days in Vinny Testaverde.
The Cowboys showcased their “new” throwback uniforms featuring a navy body with white shoulders with navy starts on top. The Bears sported orange jerseys that made them look like pumpkins, as though the uniform designers were trying to coordinate for the holiday. FOX Sports covered the game with their three-man experiment in the schadenfreude-indulging Joe Buck, the self-hating Troy Aikman, and the avian Cris Collinsworth. The game wasn’t even the talk of the day due to Peyton Manning’s six-touchdown performance earlier in the day against the Detroit Lions.
For the final game of the day, America had two 3-6 teams battling each other for draft positioning. Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.
A Cowboys rookie took charge in the first quarter, and it wasn’t Drew Henson. Runningback Julius Jones, who missed 7 of the last 8 games, ran for 50 yards on Dallas’ first drive. #21 capped off a 62-yard drive with a 33-yard gallop to the end zone. The Cowboys took a 7-0 lead. Thomas Jones, the older brother runningback also playing for the Bears, couldn’t find any daylight of his own in the first half. Chicago’s offense sputtered, so first-year coach Lovie swapped Jonathon Quinn for Craig Krenzel. The Bears turned the ball over on a bad snap, but the Cowboys couldn’t do anything with it. When Chicago’s R.W. McQuarters picked off Drew Henson with a little over six minutes left in the second half, he demonstrated how to capitalize off of a turnover by returning the pick for a touchdown.
It was 7-7 at halftime, and that’s when Bill Parcells went back to the 41-year old Vinny Testaverde. The Cowboys offense continued to fizzle as Julius Jones couldn’t find any running lanes and Testaverde couldn’t move the ball. Testaverde threw an interception to R.W. McQuarters, the corner’s second on the afternoon, but he fumbled it near the Dallas 25 where Flozell Adams recovered the loose ball.
The fourth quarter was when Julius Jones began to find his stride. With the Cowboys’ opening drive in the final period, he had an 18-yard run to help move the Cowboys’ offense. Vinny Testaverde concluded the drive with a 5-yard touchdown pass to fullback Darian Barnes. Cowboys cornerback Terence Newman picked off Quinn on the very next drive on the very first play. Dallas punched it in with a 4-yard Julius Jones run to give them a 21-7 lead they would never relinquish. With 150 yards and two touchdowns on the afternoon, FOX Sports bestowed upon Jones the coveted “Galloping Gobbler.”
Dallas thought they had found another feature back to join the hallowed ranks of Emmitt Smith, Tony Dorsett, and Don Perkins. Heck, even if Julius Jones could be in the ranks of Calvin Hill or Dan Reeves, the Cowboys would have found great value. Post-Thanksgiving, Julius Jones put up 198 yards on Monday Night Football against the Seahawks the following week, which was one of the top three franchise rushing performances. He averaged 25 carries per game throughout the season finale in New York, where Jones gained 149 yards. Despite this promise displayed, Julius Jones was injured the following season and only reached 1,000 yards once in his career and tenure with the Cowboys. Sadly, the Cowboys have not had an 1,000-yard rusher since.
Here are some quaint facts about Monday night’s encounter with the Bears:
People like to point out the Bears having an all-time .578 winning percentage versus the Cowboys’ .574. If you start only with the year 1960, when the Cowboys entered the league, the Bears only have a .501 winning percentage.
Another quoted statistic going into this game is how the Cowboys have the second-most Monday Night Football appearances with 73. The Dolphins have 78. The reality behind that statistic is in 2006 the NFL moved its marquee game from Monday Night Football to Sunday Night Football. The truth is the Dolphins have had 7 MNF appearances versus the Cowboys’ 6. However, the Cowboys have had 19 SNF appearances. So, actually, the correct way to look at this statistic is the Cowboys lead the league with 86 marquee game appearances, and that’s not even including the “NFL Specials” NBC Sports has contrived to get bonus Cowboys coverage.
The Cowboys are 6-7 in Monday Night Football games in October. They’re 1-2 since the package went to ESPN.
This will be Lovie Smith’s fourth time (2-1) to face the Cowboys, while it is Garrett’s first game against the Bears. Garrett still has yet to coach against the Packers, Vikings, Falcons, Panthers, Steelers, Ravens, Browns, Bengals, Jaguars, Titans, Texans, Chargers, Broncos, Chiefs, and Raiders.
The last time the Dallas Cowboys played the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football was in 1996 at Soldier Field. The Cowboys lost 22-6.
The Cowboys are 2-5 on October 1st. Here’s a breakdown by moon phases:
New Moon — 1-1
First Quarter — 1-1
Full Moon — N/A
Last Quarter — 0-3
This game against the Bears will be an historic night because it will be the first time the Cowboys have played under a full moon on October 1st.