ARLINGTON, Texas — Brian Urlacher wasn't suffering from a bout of Lovie Smith-like amnesia, he just didn't have any interest in considering when the last time the Bears had a significant victory on the road.
A half-hour earlier the Bears had walked off the field at Cowboys Stadium having pulled off a stunner in the eyes of many doubters, topping the Dallas Cowboys 27-20 before 85,168 to make the Bears 2-0 for the first time since 2006 and just the third time in 19 years.
But this was no surprise to anyone in a locker room that is brimming with confidence. General manager Jerry Angelo called it a statement game beforehand. Coach Lovie Smith called it a "signature game" afterward. Meanwhile, on the other side Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said, "I didn't expect that at all" as his team fell into an 0-2 hole.
"I am not going compare this to anything else," Urlacher said. "It's one game."
For those who don't remember, the Bears opened 2008 with a victory in Indianapolis. Forced to win a game on the road in the season finale in Houston to make the playoffs, they fell flat. This victory could be the most meaningful early-season road victory since they opened '06 by throttling the Packers 26-0 at Lambeau Field.
"We'll let you write about that," center Olin Kreutz said. "I worry about being 2-0 and playing Green Bay next."
The Bears can prepare for their showdown with the Packers (2-0) at Soldier Field on Monday night knowing they're on the right path. Of the 252 teams to begin 2-0 since the 16-game schedule began in 1978, 164 (65.1 percent) have reached the postseason, according to Elias.
What's significant is the Bears accomplished something winners do — they weathered injuries and found a way to be successful. Jay Cutler looked like he was going to be lucky to get out of the first half with limbs intact. Left tackle Chris Williams left after the first series of the game with a pulled right hamstring. The offense produced nine yards on its first nine plays. Rookie safety Major Wright, expected to contribute on defense, was lost with to a hamstring injury on Dez Bryant's 62-yard punt return for a touchdown.
Frank Omiyale was switched from right tackle to left on the third possession of the game and with Kevin Shaffer subbing on the right side, the line suddenly came together thanks to a combination of sensible play calls by Mike Martz and deft adjustments by Mike Tice.
"Frank was the MVP of our team this week," Kreutz said.
Cutler was brilliant with hot reads, hitting tight end Greg Olsen for a 39-yard touchdown to stem the tide late in the first quarter and put the Bears ahead 10-7.
"We knew we were going to get their best punch early," said Cutler, who finished 21 of 29 for 277 yards with three touchdowns. "Once we started attacking a little more we settled down."
When the line provided time, Cutler was able to go deep, connecting with Johnny Knox for a 59-yard gain in the second quarter. That set up a Devin Hester nine-yard touchdown grab that put the Bears ahead for good at 17-14.
It was a solid game for Hester, who went from being nearly invisible to making four catches for 77 yards. His 38-yard catch-and-run on a quick out set up a three-yard touchdown pass to Matt Forte for the Bears' final score, and Cutler praised Hester four days after saying he wasn't open against the Lions.
"If he feels that I wasn't open, then apparently I wasn't open," Hester said. "That's in the past. I've got faith in Jay."
The run defense again was suffocating as the Cowboys totaled 36 yards on 20 carries. Through two games, they've given up 56 yards on 41 attempts. Nickel cornerback D.J. Moore intercepted two deflected passes and was holding up receiver Roy Williams when teammate Charles Tillman came along to force a fumble that Urlacher recovered.
The Bears will get an extra day to prepare for the showdown with the Packers, who like the Cowboys were forecasted as an NFC favorite.
"Huge?" Urlacher said. "It's Week 3. It's a big game because it's our next game. That's all that matters."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun