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Swagger, wit ... and talent
By Gene Chamberlain | Special to the Daily Herald

The Bears' D.J. Moore, left, wraps up Cowboys receiver Roy Williams as Charles Tillman strips the ball Sunday late in the fourth quarter.

 

Associated Press

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Published: 9/19/2010 8:54 PM

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DALLAS - During the week prior to Sunday's Bears-Cowboys matchup, coach Lovie Smith said he suspected Dallas would try to pick on new Bears nickel back D.J. Moore.

Instead, Moore did the picking.

He picked off 2 of Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo's passes and played a big part in another turnover that helped seal a 27-20 Bears victory.

"D.J. has a lot of confidence," Smith said. "It's not like I'm going to have to pump him up and by (saying) 'you can play in the league.' He has confidence in himself.

"He has as good of hands as I think anyone on the team. He has great instinct. He hasn't played a lot, but I think he has done some things to belong."

Moore's first career interception set up the Bears' first score, Robbie Gould's 38-yard field goal with 7:34 left in the first quarter. Moore caught a pass intended for Miles Austin that Charles Tillman broke up, then returned it 18 yards to the Dallas 23. Moore plucked it just before it hit the ground, causing some confusion with the game's official stat crew over whether it was a fumble or pick.

"It was an interception, we know that from last week - you have got to complete the catch," Moore said, referring to Lions receiver Calvin Johnson's controversial "drop" that delivered a Week 1 win to the Bears.

Moore returned the second pick 20 yards to the Dallas 47 with 1:39 left in the first half to set up another Gould field goal. Again the pass got tipped.

"Just breaking on the quarterback," Moore said. "It's a zone defense. You've got to be in tune with the quarterback.

"So when Lack (Brian Urlacher) was breaking out, I was breaking in. He (Witten) was probably worried about Lack, probably wasn't waiting on me or was scared of me hitting him or whatnot, so he put his hand up and when he tipped it I was there."

Moore's good hands proved a factor on both catches. His ballhawking ability can be easily explained.

"I used to catch golf balls when they'd hit them at the range," he said to some unsuspecting reporters, then quickly recanted when they thought he was serious. "No. I'm just joking.

"Most of the time in college I played receiver."

Moore also played running back, cornerback and quarterback at Vanderbilt.

The last big play by Moore sealed a win with Dallas driving at the Bears' 37 and Chicago leading 27-17 with 4:40 to play. Moore wrapped up Cowboys receiver Roy Williams around his arms from behind after a catch, leaving the ball in a prone position. Cornerback Charles Tillman stripped the ball and Urlacher fell on it at the Bears' 35.

"NFC player of the week," said safety Danieal Manning, casting an early vote for Moore. "He (Moore) has awareness, he has all the intangibles, the speed, the quickness, and just a knack for the ball.

"Lack and the linebackers, they kept hitting those tight ends and the tight ends were short-arming those balls and he tipped it and there goes D.J. right up under there to pick it."

Moore acknowledged the validity of Smith's statement regarding self-confidence being a factor in his seizing the nickel back spot from Corey Graham after playing only in three games last year.

"It starts when I look in the mirror," Moore said about his confidence. "I'm probably a little more confident in my looks, or whatever. But it's (his football confidence) getting there."