The Chicago Bears started 2 rookies and just kept on playing Monsters of the Midway defense.
Free safety David Tate intercepted 2 passes and linebacker Dante Jones was in on 9 tackles Sunday as the Bears downed the Dallas Cowboys, 17-7, for their fourth straight victory.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” Tate said of his 2 interceptions in his first starting assignment. “I wasn’t nervous. I was comfortable.”
Tate also deflected 2 passes and made 2 tackles, while Jones had 7 tackles, 2 assists and shared a sack with Steve McMichael.
The Bears (6-1) sacked substitute quarterback Danny White 5 times for losses of 47 yards. White entered the game when Steve Pelluer left with a concussion on Dallas’ third play of the game.
McMichael was credited with 2 1/2 sacks and Dan Hampton had the other 2.
“Tate was outstanding,” Bear Coach Mike Ditka said. “He found the football and that’s what a free safety has to do. Dante filled in and did very well.”
Chicago packed all of its scoring into the second period. Dennis McKinnon scored on a 4-yard reverse, Kevin Butler kicked a 21-yard field goal following Tate’s first interception and Jim McMahon hit Ron Morris with a 39-yard touchdown pass.
But the defense dominated and didn’t allow Dallas (2-5) to score until White passed 13 yards to Everett Gay for a touchdown with 5:07 left.
“No question, this is the best defense we have faced,” Dallas Coach Tom Landry said. “They played their normal defense but they played it very well.
“They put great pressure on us. You have to make the big plays to beat the Bears, but we didn’t.”
Said White: “The toughest thing was the pressure. I just didn’t have time to pick out my receivers.”
White left the game with a sprained knee after completing 24 of 35 passes for 242 yards. Herschel Walker rushed 21 times for 88 yards for the Cowboys.
White, 36, had been used sparingly this season and had attempted only 7 passes in 6 games.
McMahon finished with 22 completions in 39 attempts for 284 yards passing.
The Bears took a 7-0 lead early in the second quarter on a 4-yard end-around run by McKinnon that capped a 13-play, 80-yard drive. The Cowboys aided the 7-minute drive by committing 2 penalties on third downs that resulted in first downs for the Bears.
An interception by Tate on the Cowboys’ next possession led to a 10-0 Chicago lead near the end of the second quarter. Tate grabbed White’s pass intended for Martin at the Chicago 46-yard line. Fifteen plays and 51 yards later, Butler booted a 21-yard field goal.
Dallas had its best chance to score in the half when McKinnon dropped Mike Saxon’s punt at the Chicago 25, but Roger Ruzek missed a 42-yard field goal attempt.
McMahon followed 4 plays later with a 39-yard scoring strike to Morris to make it 17-0.
Pelluer was knocked out of the game when he was hit by Mike Singletary and Maurice Douglass while running for a first down. An examination revealed Pelluer suffered a concussion.