Jeremiah Ratliff broke through a double team, grabbed Tony Romo’s ankle and pulled down the Dallas Cowboys quarterback for a sack and loss of 5 yards. The former Cowboys defensive end then thrust his arm and fist into the air in triumph.
“Anytime you get a sack, especially after over a year of not being on the field, jit feels good," Ratliff said. "It feels real good to get back in the game and definitely play a lot more, body held up good.
"It's just a blessing to be here right now. I'm just thanking God.”
Ratliff’s play on a Dallas first down near the end of the third quarter ended up leading to the ball going to Chicago on downs. His third tackle of the game came as great satisfaction to the player the Cowboys released in October.
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After playing 23 snaps the week before in a loss to Minnesota, Ratliff was expected to get more playing time against his former team. He did just that by starting and playing the first six snaps before taking a breather.
On the Cowboys’ first possession, Ratliff was blocked rather easily on consecutive plays by rookie center Travis Frederick before heading to the bench. He returned for the last three plays of the Cowboys’ scoring drive that ended on a 2-yard pass from Romo to Dez Bryant for a 7-0 lead.
Ratliff, sidelined with a groin injury since last November, seemed to get more comfortable as the game went along. He recorded his first tackle by stopping DeMarco Murray for no gain on Dallas’ second series with the game tied 7-7.
Ratliff, who formerly went by Jay, signed a one-year contract with the Bears on Nov. 2 after being released by the Cowboys, with whom he played eight seasons. Chicago was more than happy to take a chance on Ratliff after losing defensive tackles Henry Melton and Nate Collins to season-ending knee injuries.
"It's just business. They get rid of you, somebody else wants you and they’re on the schedule, that's how it goes, so be it,” Ratliff said. “I'm really enjoying myself.”
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who reportedly had more than one run-in with Ratliff in the past, said on his radio show last week on KRLD-FM that “Ratliff ought to be right out here with the Cowboys right now.”
Bears head coach Marc Trestman said that Ratliff’s “personality has been a great fit for our locker room. We see him as just being a great person.”
Bears quarterback Josh McCown has enjoyed success filling in for starter Jay Cutler. But his receivers have made it easy for him.
Monday night, Alshon Jeffery, Brandon Marshall and Matt Forte totaled 18 catches for 257 yards and two touchdowns. Forte finished with seven for 73 yards and one touchdown. Marshall had six for 100 yards. Jeffery had five for 84 yards and a touchdown.
Jeffery made a couple of great catches, including a 25-yard touchdown reception with 10 seconds left in the first half. Jeffery leaped over two defenders, grabbed the ball while falling backwards and landed with both feet in the right corner of the end zone. The score gave the Bears a 24-14 lead.
Jeffery made another tough catch earlier for 26 yards to the Dallas 18, leading to a 27-yard field goal by Robbie Gould and a 17-14 lead.
“Those guys made a lot of plays for [the Bears],” Dallas coach Jason Garrett said.
Marshall had a 19-yard reception to set up Jeffery’s end-zone catch before halftime.