The Dallas Cowboys took the field against the Chicago Bears tonight with a chance to tie Philly atop the NFC East, but then they Dallas Cowboy'd. After a back and forth first half, the Cowboys Dallas Cowboy'd right before the two minute break and allowed Chicago an early 10-0 lead in classic Dallas Cowboy fashion. After closing the gap to three before the break, they emerged from the locker room as the Dallas Cowboys; completely ready to Dallas Cowboy things up. And Dallas Cowboy it they did.
Where to begin? Forget that... can someone make it stop? The final score might have been 34-18, but I'm not sure quarterback Tony Romo is finished throwing interceptions to the Bears defense. From the sideline; after being removed for Kyle Orton.
The Cowboys completely undressed themselves on national television once again, and there was little to console oneself with as they head into the bye week with a multitude of question marks.
The game was a defensive struggle for most of the first half. After Chicago took a 3-0 lead late in the second quarter, a miscommunication between Romo and WR Dez Bryant led to an embarrassing pick six by veteran corner Charles Tillman to put the Bears up 10-0.
Blame could be placed on both QB and receiver in my opinion, but why quibble? Dallas gave their fans plenty of additional opportunities to plant forehead firmly in palm throughout the rest of the game. The awesome two-minute drive for a 19-yard touchdown to Miles Austin was nothing but a delay of the inevitable in retrospect. 10-7 might as well been 100-7 the way Dallas started the second half.
Jay Cutler returned to the field and promptly carved chunks into the Cowboys Stadium field. I say the field, because on most passes there wasn't a defender in sight.
The lead was almost immediately stretched back to 10 as the assault on the formerly formidable Cowboys secondary began. Morris Claiborne was fooled on a Devin Hester double-move where it appeared he should have had some safety help but didn't.
The funny thing is, that wasn't the funny thing. The rest of the second half; now that's where the comedy lies. Dallas appeared to be well on it's way to answer Cutler, driving down the field with ease. Romo saw Ogletree on a second down from the Bears 18, pass bounces off of Tree and is picked off by Major Wright.
DeMarcus Ware crushes Jay Cutler forcing a strip sack that the Cowboys actually recover? Momentum swing! Nope, Mackenzy Bernadeau lets Henry Melton right by him on the very next play. Melton hits Romo as he passes (fumbles?) and it's taken 74 yards to the house by Lance Briggs.
After a Cowboys field goal, it appears that Morris Claiborne strips Alshon Jeffrey of a pass and give a glimmer of hope? Nope, replay shows his elbow down before the ball moved. Bears drive downfield continuing to abuse all secondary players to score a field goal.
Cowboys move to midfield; cue the Tony Romo confusing interception. Bears touchdown as Brandon Marshall left completely wide open. Next drive? Another Cowboys interception.
On the bright side, Jason Witten didn't have any drops. There weren't a lot of penalties. Sean Lee is still Sean Lee. Unfortunately, plugging a couple leaks while a dozen others spring up just isn't going to cut it. Dez Bryant went over 100 yards for just the second time in his career; but it might have been one of the worst games he's played. First there was a drop on third down on the opening drive. Then, the end-of-half play where Dez was supposed to be the hot route but kept running up the field as Romo released (I don't absolve Romo of blame, the route was getting jumped and he could have taken the sack). He would add a couple more crucial drops. Romo would miss him wide open a couple times. It was a comedy of errors; if it wasn't our Cowboys.
Again, the best part is that now everyone has two weeks to stew over this slopfest; this assault on fans' eyeballs everywhere. Well, everywhere except for Cowboys Stadium as the Bears seemed to be playing a home game with the raucous cheers that emerged throughout the game. With the performance of the team over the last couple seasons, it's no wonder that Cowboys Nation doesn't want to pony up to travel to Texas to watch this team in person. Why would they?
Of course, there is a standard line that I tote in these situations is that the season is far from over. Dallas sits at 2-2 but there is so much work to be done on this team that it's hard to remain positive. Looking at the post-bye schedule of at Ravens, at Panthers, vs Giants, at Atlanta and at Philadelphia... the soul-searching over the next two weeks will have to be Paranormal Activity-worthy in order to right this ship.