Well. This game is going to leave a bad taste in the mouths of Cowboys fans, and it’s not hard to see why.
Many will want to blame Romo. But the fact is that Dallas had other problems. A score of 34-18 is ugly, especially because it was 34-10 with two minutes left to play.
A strong defensive effort (20 points allowed with a garbage touchdown) was wasted, as was Jason Witten’s return to form with 13 catches for 112 yards and a touchdown.
The Cowboys now head into their week five bye at the most uninspiring 2-2 imaginable. To think, this Cowboys team beat the Giants in week one on the road.
Without further ado, let’s get into the game changers.
Despite throwing for more than 300 yards and completing about 70 percent of his throws, Tony Romo had five interceptions. Two (debatably three) were his fault; the last one came in desperation mode in the fourth quarter.
A team can recover from turnovers, but when two of the interceptions were returned for touchdowns, with one coming all the way from the Bears’ 26-yard line, life isn’t getting any easier.
If a defense can score 14 points on its own, you’ve got to have a hell of a response on offense to make up for it — and hope your own defense can force some turnovers of its own. The Cowboys were able to cause and recover a fumble by Bears quarterback Jay Cutler.
However, on the very next play, Romo was pressured out of the pocket before being hit on what looked like a shovel pass that fluttered right to the hands of linebacker Lance Briggs. It was the strangest pick-six of the year.
Simply put, this was not Romo’s best game, but the stat line doesn’t tell the whole story.
Dez Bryant remains maddeningly inconsistent
The box score will tell you that Bryant had eight receptions for 105 yards. Typically, that’s a solid game from a team’s second receiver. However, the stat line doesn’t tell you how many times Bryant’s mental flaps hurt this team.
Let’s start by stating the obvious: Dez Bryant has all the physical tools to be a top-tier player. But his lapses proved costly Monday night.
The most obvious mental mistake resulted in one of Romo’s two pick-six interceptions. Romo signaled to Bryant to check out of his route and run a short hitch. Bryant appeared to understand, but then he failed to actually do it.
Instead of Bryant running the route correctly for a touchdown, Bears cornerback Charles Tillman easily intercepted the ball where Bryant should have caught it. Romo was right on one count — it was a touchdown play.
Bryant also let a third-down pass slip through his hands and hit him in the face mask. On another third down, he failed to get out of a route in time to catch an easy ball.
So, yes, Bryant had a strong statistical game, but the intangibles were once again not there. But just as it isn’t fair to peg the loss on Romo for the five interceptions, it would be foolish to blame Bryant entirely.
That’s because this team cannot run the ball — at all
We’ll say this slowly. The. Cowboys. Had. 41. Yards. Rushing. Not on a breakaway. Not in a quarter. Not in a half. In the entire game. They averaged 2.9 yards per carry and never ran for more than 13 yards.
In fact, besides two runs of 13 and 11 yards, the Cowboys had 17 yards on the ground. Even in a game without turnovers, a win would be next to impossible with those kind of numbers.
The offensive line was unable to create any holes for DeMarco Murray. It was uninspired at best. There’s not much more to say about this without getting downright mean.
Fans must hold out hope that during the week off, this team will get back on the same page. There was too much miscommunication, too many poor blocks and just a general lack of effort on the part of the offense.
Someone needs to light a fire under the Cowboys offense, because right now this is the most underperforming group in the NFL.