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Cowboys simplicity on defense comes back to bite them when the execution is not thereby DannyPhantom on December 6, 2019 at 10:00 pm
Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images In the search for answers to this team’s puzzling under- performance, one has to wonder if their approach is all wrong. It’s a rough time to be a fan of the Dallas Cowboys. The team is coming off of three straight losses and playing some of it’s worst football of the season. Any other year, this 6-7 team would be thinking ahead to next season as all would be lost, but thanks to playing in a bad division, the Cowboys are still right in the thick of the playoff hunt. All they have to do is not be worse than the Philadelphia Eagles on the Sunday before Christmas, and there’s a great chance that will punch their ticket to hosting a playoff game at AT&T Stadium. While it’s nice that the season still has purpose, it’s extremely troubling this team is having the problems it’s having. Their health is pretty darn good, their strength of schedule is pretty soft, and they have a roster full of players that certainly seemed like they were talented back in training camp. But despite all these factors that have worked in the Cowboys favor, here we are. They are 13 weeks into the season and they have a losing record. What in tarnation is going wrong with this team? We all have our own thoughts and there is plenty of blame to go around, but ultimately the underachieving performance week-in and week-out falls squarely on the shoulders of Jason Garrett. There are a lot of great qualities about coach Garrett, and you won’t find a bigger fan than yours truly, but despite being a great motivator, communicator, leader of men - the team under his control is just not prepared enough to win football games. Why is that exactly? Are players not working hard enough? That doesn’t seem right as the effort is there. Are the players he’s choosing to get reps just not as good as we thought? Sure, we have our own opinions about who should be getting more snaps (Blake Jarwin, Tony Pollard, Jourdan Lewis), but that doesn’t seem like it either as we’ve seen how good his group can be. Then, what is it? To a fault, Jason Garrett believes in his players, coaching staff, scheme, etc., that if they just “be who they are” and execute, his team will win football games. And he’s right. When that happens, they win. But far too often this season, the team is not executing. However, unlike other teams in the league, the Cowboys chances of winning are flushed away when things don’t go according to plan. Case in point - the offense has scripted a great plan of attack to march down the field and score on their opening drive in each of the last two games. But what happens when adjustments are made? The Cowboys allowed 50 unanswered points combined in those two games following their opening drive. Opposing teams continue to attack the Cowboys, and yet Dallas doesn’t seem to have any answer. Linebacker Jaylon Smith was continuously picked on in coverage until he ultimately gave up a touchdown reception. Mitchell Trubisky kept the ball on read-option plays because he knew the Cowboys defense was going to come crashing inside on the play. It seems like every week there’s a new player that works over the defense (Aaron Jones, Cole Beasley, Trubisky), leaving them scratching their heads. The Cowboys seem confused as to why this keeps happening, but the answer may be right in front of them - they’re just too basic. Jason Garrett was on 105.3 The Fan and he laid it out for us... “We are not a team that plays a zillion different coverages, a zillion different fronts, a zillion different pressures. A lot of teams approach it that way. We believe in being more fundamentally sound by doing a handful of things in our coverages, in our fronts, in our pressures.” “We believe it’s hard to execute at a high level when you have too much stuff on defense, but we do believe we have a variety of things to complement each other. Once the ball is snapped, we are going to rely on executing at a high level.” The problem with this approach is that the team is not executing at a high level. The simplicity of this approach becomes a weakness of this defense when players aren’t capable of making plays. Taking bad angles, the inability to stay disciplined in your gaps, and not squaring up to tackle - make the team’s simplistic approach very ineffective. This is not to say that the Cowboys don’t mix things up, but they do not over-complicate things. That makes them very dependent on 11 guys doing their job well. When it doesn’t happen, the result is some unknown Bears tight end scampering down the sideline for a 30-yard gain. To fix this there are two options - implement a more creative defensive scheme or execute better. The Cowboys are putting their hopes into the idea that the latter comes true, because they are locked into their approach. Garrett believes in his players and that’s fine and all, but as a coach - you have to be able to find other ways to win football games when things don’t go according to plan. And that is just not happening in Dallas.
The Cowboys seem as confused as everybody else as to why they stink right nowby Dave Halprin on December 6, 2019 at 8:30 pm
Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images Is there any way to rescue the Cowboys? And so it goes. For the last three games, the Dallas Cowboys have sunk to a season low and nobody seems to know what to do about it. The one thing that many want done is not going to happen, and that’s the firing Jason Garrett. Of course, that’s not the end-all solution, but it would feel like the team is at least doing something, something that might shake this edition of the Cowboys out of their stupor. Jerry Jones isn’t inclined to make that firing reality while the Cowboys are still in contention for the playoffs. Yes, if you are a Cowboys fan who wants Garrett fired, you can blame the Philadelphia Eagles for it not happening. As long as the Cowboys can smell the playoffs, Jerry is all in with Garrett. “Are you asking me if I would take the division and go to the playoffs, if we got in on any basis? The answer is yes. Absolutely, yes,” Jones said. “Acceptable? I don’t know. Not if we’re not playing good, but if we’re playing a lot better than we played tonight, I’ll take getting in.” Jerry is still thinking about the playoffs, and as long as that is the case then Garrett will still be the coach. Curse you, Eagles. Jerry does mention playing better. Everybody would like to see that, but first you have to figure out what’s wrong. No one has that answer. “These guys are mentally OK for me, and all these guys are talented enough for me, so that’s good,” Jones said. “I’m questioning how to put together a coordinated one that complements each other, how to put together a team that can win a football game. ... We’re not collectively getting together as a team and doing the things it takes to win ballgames.” Quarterback Dak Prescott doesn’t really have any idea on why this team has fallen apart, either. Prescott said the offense had their “best week of preparation” in practice. Why they couldn’t carry it over to game day, once again, is the question. “Can’t put a finger on it,” Prescott said. “Wish I could right now. If I could, obviously we wouldn’t be in this situation. We’d be getting over this and out of this slump. But that’s the most frustrating part is we have the skill level, we have the players, we have the chemistry at times. “But we’re not playing together as a team complementary enough when we need to, and we’ve got to figure out what it is.” This late in a season, there usually aren’t drastic changes you can make (besides firing a coach). You’re not likely to reconfigure your scheme or take on a new personality on offense or defense. Any changes will be incremental. But Jason Garrett has identified one thing, and if you go back and closely watch the film, what he says makes some sense, particularly on defense. “Oftentimes, some of the guys want to go make a play -- ‘I’m going to go sack the quarterback, I’m going to go make a play on this run.’ And that gets you out of your gap and ultimately that’s what hurts you,” he said. “So, we just simply have to do a better job of that on a consistent basis throughout the game.” All the things we complain about with the coaches, or Jerry Jones, or the play-calling or whatever, all of that has legitimacy. But guys not staying disciplined and guys trying to make big hits and overrunning simple tackles etc., shows up on film. And the Bears knew it. And they took advantage of it. Here’s Mitchell Trubiksy on his running the football effectively against the Dallas defense. “Just taking what the defense gave us,” Trubisky said. “We knew they were going to do that. There were some openings. I did my job of pulling the ball down and running. I thought I ran smart.” When media and fans talk about effort and the Cowboys quitting, I would argue the tape doesn’t show that. What it does show is an undisciplined team that is overaggressive, over-committing and getting burned for it. That includes the offsides penalties that helped keep drives alive for the Bears. The Cowboys are not a smart football team or a disciplined one. That may go back to the coaches, but some of it also falls on players who should know better. The tackling by the defense enters a whole other category of bad. That’s just poor fundamentals. Giving up gap discipline and being poor tacklers will lead to an inferior offense walking all over you. “They consistently moved the ball throughout the game,” said Cowboys coach Jason Garrett. “They were able to run the football with their runners, their quarterback runs, they kept drives alive, they made timely plays in the passing game, they cashed in when they got down in there close, and we just didn’t play well enough defensively really in any part of it.” Even Jerry Jones is having a hard time keeping up a level of optimism. “It’s leveled out here. It’s losing, losing, losing. I’m not trying to be funny here, but the point is we’ve got to win a football game,” Jones said. “I don’t care what the standings are, what the numbers are. We had thought that we could come up here and play a good team, play a fine football game and get our act to where we’re starting to look like a team that could -- if we, by the slim chance, get in the playoffs -- where we could win. We can’t do that until we play and start winning the football games, and we’ve got three more to play. When we do that, we can go.” Still, the team is trying to hold on to hope. As bad as they have been, they still have a chance to reach the playoffs. “There’s still hope. We’ve got to play better football,” [Ezekiel] Elliott said. “That’s what it comes down to, playing better football, going out there and executing.” Sounds good, except when you hear something like this from kicker Brett Maher. “I felt like I did a good job staying in my lane this week,” [Maher] said. “I felt like I hit every ball pretty well tonight. I’ll put my head on the pillow tonight feeling good about what I did this week and moving forward.” Really? You missed a field goal, you hit a kickoff out of bounds at a crucial moment, you were terrible on a botched onside kick (not the final one but the one before), and you feel good about what you did? Maybe accountability is the big issue. Maybe players don’t feel that their jobs could be in danger. Maybe not firing Jason Garrett sends that message of no accountability. Maybe not replacing Brett Maher really sends that message. Or maybe things are just too far gone.
Jerry Jones to radio hosts after being asked if he’s embarrassed: Get your damn act togetherby RJ Ochoa on December 6, 2019 at 7:00 pm
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images Jerry Jones was not having it on Friday. We are approaching the point of dysfunction with the 2019 Dallas Cowboys where toxicity is a stone’s throw away. It’s possible that we blew past that altogether on Friday, though. As he does every Friday morning, Dallas Cowboys owner, president, and general manager Jerry Jones took to the radio airwaves of 105.3 The Fan. Typically in this spot Jerry is a bit forthcoming about details concerning his team’s upcoming game, but with the Cowboys having played on Thursday night it was more of a reactionary discussion. Losing sucks. Losing badly sucks even more. Losing badly when you’ve already been losing badly sucks on a whole different level and it appears that all of this is finally taking its toll on Jerry Jones. Asked by The K&C Masterpiece if he was embarrassed, Jerry Jones took exception to it. He told the radio hosts, who work for the home of the Cowboys mind you, to “get your damn act together.” He was miffed to say the least. Here is it!Jerry Jones snaps on @kandc1053 @1053SS @gavindawson pic.twitter.com/R1wXL7QGsI— #FIREGARRETT Frankie Jay ♒️ (@Anomaly4u) December 6, 2019 This outburst from Jones will do nothing but corroborate the idea that the Cowboys are imploding from within. For him to jump on the radio and be aggressive in the segment’s opening minutes says a lot about the lack of patience that he’s currently feeling. Perhaps Jerry Jones should exhibit this type of attitude towards, I don’t know, his coaching staff as opposed to media members, but what he does is his business. Keep in mind that he cursed so much during this radio appearance (when this happens on radio a station will use a “dump” button to filter out the cursing) that the system on which he was on call kicked him off. He had to call back in to finish the segment. Everything is fine. Nothing to see here. No worries.
Grading the Cowboys costly 31-24 defeat to the Bearsby Michael Strawn on December 6, 2019 at 5:30 pm
Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images Dallas came up short again and are putting their season in peril. Welp. The Dallas Cowboys officially hit rock bottom Thursday night is a deflating 31-24 loss to the Chicago Bears that wasn’t remotely as close as the final numbers would suggest. Dallas was outclassed in all three phases of the game, including a defense that was run over by (arguably) the NFL’s worst offense. Let’s go to the grades: Overall: F Dak Prescott said he was happy to play Thursday because the last week had been a bad week after the previously humiliating Thanksgiving defeat to the Bills. Well, he’s in for a long 10 days. The Cowboys played a completely inept game on both sides of the ball as well as on special teams. Given a week to get their act together after two demoralizing defeats, the team instead put together one of their worst performances of the season. Most egregiously, the defense allowed a woeful Chicago offense to move up and down the field and score at will. The Bears came in with the following ranks on offense: Points: 27th Yards: 29th Rushing Yards: 28th Passing Yards: 28th Third-down efficiency: 28th Explosive plays: 31th So, against that slap-dash outfit the Dallas defense allowed: 31 points 382 yards 151 rushing yards 7-of-12 third-down conversions No sequence better illustrated the Cowboys failure on defense than the first drive of the second half. Trailing by ten points, a penalty put the Bears in a 2nd-and-18 situation. Normally, for an offense of this caliber a 2nd-and-18 is effectively the end of the drive. But first the Bears picked up an easy nine yards when Trubisky hit an ever-open Jesper Horsted. Then on 3rd-and-9 this happened: NFC player of the month work right there @ceeflashpee84(via @NFL)pic.twitter.com/FET5AlvApN— SNF on NBC (@SNFonNBC) December 6, 2019 The ball is thrown nine yards short of the sticks. Without any blockers in front Xavier Woods and Jaylon Smith should have an easy time getting Cordell Patterson down to end the drive and force the punt. I mean look at this: And yet, microseconds later: I don’t think you’ll find a better set of images to illustrate Jaylon Smith’s complete and absolute descent from budding NFL star to ineffective defender than these. But it gets worse. Despite the presence of seven Cowboys and only two Bears in that image Patterson would travel a full 28 more yards before finally being tackled. Embarrassing. The end result is that with an opportunity to get the ball back, the Cowboys instead turned a cheap, 3rd-and-long check-down into a Bears’ highlight. Five plays later the Bears were in the end zone, the score was 24-7, the Cowboys’ will was broken and the game was effectively over. This version of the Cowboys defense has gone from a unit expected to be (at the very least) above average to a failing enterprise. I mean, if you can’t stop the Chicago Bears and Mitchell Trubisky, who can you stop? Of course, turning struggling young quarterbacks into deadly effective killers has proven a specialty for the 2019 Cowboys’ defense: That’s four different below-average quarterbacks who have enjoyed stellar performances against the Cowboys. Each posted a QB rating more than 30 points above their average. And realize, those average numbers include the play against the Cowboys... meaning the spread is even wider than shown above. If that weren’t enough, they also mopped up on the Dallas defense using their legs: Add it all up and Mitch Trubisky made history against the Cowboys: Tonight Mitchell Trubisky of the @ChicagoBears became the first QB in NFL history to ...Complete 70.0+ pct of his passes on 30+ attemptsThrow 3+ TD passesRush for 50+ yardsRush for a TD... all in the same game.#Bears100— Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS) December 6, 2019 The Dallas Cowboys defense is clueless at this point in time. Teams know how to beat them: Against the run, use simple misdirection to take advantage of the Cowboys’ aggressive, penetrating lineman which leaves wide open gaps. When passing, call screens which take advantage of the Cowboys’ aggressive four-man pass rush which leaves wide open swathes of land for the receiver to exploit. When that doesn’t work, any reasonably mobile quarterback will find huge gaps of emptiness in the middle of the field to pick up easy first downs. When all that fails, simply use a hard count because the Cowboys’ defensive lineman seemingly have no clue that’s a possibility and will jump offsides every single time. Coaching: F Despite the entire league having decoded the Cowboys’ defense the Dallas coaching staff (stop me if you’ve heard this before) refuses to adapt. Instead they keep doing the same thing over and over despite every opponent already knowing the solution to the riddle. Maybe Kris Richard can yell at someone on the sideline and make it all better. No one redeemed themselves Thursday night. Jason Garrett’s squad looked like the same unmotivated, disinterested unit we’ve seen the last ten games. As noted, the defense had zero answers for the Bears’ offensive success (the Bears!). Offensively, the team was as inept during the first three quarters as the defense. After an impressive opening drive, these were the next seven drives (I excluded the end of half kneel down). For those keeping track, that’s four punts surrounding a missed field goal during the period when the game was decided. Each of the punts came after three-and-outs. In short, the offense was a mess and had no clue. Quarterback: F Much of this was due to the erratic, inaccurate passing of Dak Prescott. Where once Prescott seemed to be adding millions to his bank account with every game he played, he’s now erasing those millions by the week. Simply put, Prescott was awful Thursday when it counted. Do not be fooled by Prescott’s final numbers which featured tons of yards and two garbage time touchdowns. Prescott looked a lot like the confused, inaccurate, ineffective quarterback we saw the last half of 2017/first half of 2018. The last three weeks Prescott has simply been bad. He’s done nothing to elevate his team during a time of crisis; instead he’s contributed to the crisis. This was most evident on the Cowboys first drive of the second half. Trailing by 17 and desperately needing something to jump-start the entire team, Prescott had an opportunity on first down. Amari Cooper was wide open on a simple crossing pattern. With little pressure and an open passing lane straight down the middle of the field, Prescott had, at minimum, an easy first down toss. An accurate pass that hits Cooper in stride puts a 72-yard touchdown in play. In the NFL that is as easy as it gets. It’s candy for a baby. Yet Prescott badly underthrew the ball, leading to one of the three-and-outs noted above. This was indicative of his entire night. Prescott repeatedly missed open receivers. When he did manage to get them they often dropped the pass. Other times Dak and the receiver weren’t on the same page. It was an ugly performance. After ten weeks of superb play (for the most part) we’re left again wondering what exactly the Cowboys have at the quarterback position. Running Backs: C One of the truly sad developments of the last few weeks is that after a season of underwhelming performances, Ezekiel Elliott has looked better the last couple weeks than he has all season. He’s been running hard and has ripped off his two longest runs of the season: #established(via @NFL) pic.twitter.com/GoxvDYFrAG— Blogging The Boys (@BloggingTheBoys) December 6, 2019 But he ended up with “only” 81 yards on 19 rushes because the Cowboys yet again fell behind and had to abandon their gameplan. In addition to the long run, Elliott contributed two touchdowns: 17 plays. Zeke finds the end zone!#DALvsCHI | #TNF(via @NFL) pic.twitter.com/lRuXzZdBkL— PFF (@PFF) December 6, 2019 Then we have the mysterious case of Jamize Olawale. The fullback, you may recall, was signed to a three-year deal worth $5.4M dollars during the off-season. That’s a curious investment for a “running back” who hasn’t been given a carry or caught a pass the entire season. But with Tony Pollard out due to injury, Olawale finally saw some significant playing time. He rewarded the Cowboys by being totally clueless on a key third-down attempt that led to Maher’s missed field goal. pic.twitter.com/JLFh4swcQj— nick (@nick_pants) December 6, 2019 Maybe it was Dak’s fault; I don’t know. What I do know is the relatively expensive fullback hasn’t made a single play the entire season and it’s reasonable to question what the Cowboys brain-trust saw in him that was worth the investment. Wide receivers: C I don’t know how many passes the Cowboys’ receivers dropped Thursday but I would put it at greater than three. Michael Gallup seemed the primary culprit as I recall two blatant drops. After looking like a truly dangerous second wide-out early in the season, Gallup has reverted to dropping the ball when the game is in question. Like last week he added some garbage time plays to pad his statistics. Likewise, Amari Cooper was held in check most of the game before adding a useless (but very pretty) touchdown near the end: At least Amari Cooper is racking in fantasy points #Cowboys pic.twitter.com/vTLFGBqvqs— Take Your Base Sports (@takeyourbasepod) December 6, 2019 But make no mistake, dropped passes hurt this team yet again. The Cowboys lead the league in dropped passes, which is pathetic. Tight ends: C It’s getting extremely difficult to watch Jason Witten get snap after snap while never being able to get more than seven yards downfield or generate any yards after catch. I know all the reasons for giving him snaps and they simply don’t add up. I hear Jarwin isn’t a blocker. Fine, don’t ask him to block (lots of teams employ tight ends who do nothing but catch footballs). Jarwin contributed 50 yards on six catches and Witten added 37 yards on six of his own. Offensive line: B Honestly, this group seemed pretty good, especially considering the fact Connor Williams was missing and they were going against a stout Bears defense. Elliott had some room early. Prescott wasn’t under undue distress. There weren’t any holding or pre-snap penalties that I recall. Defensive line: F You know how the Bears had those terrible offensive rankings? One reason is because their offensive line sucks. Especially the right side. So how did the Cowboys do against that line? They allowed Trubisky to turn into peak Aaron Rodgers and the running game to gash them repeatedly. It was abject failure in every way imaginable for this group. Even Demarcus Lawrence, who’s been stellar most of the season, was rendered ineffective. They did record two sacks but they were meaningless. They never really pressured Trubisky and were basically silent the entire night. Linebackers: F At this point inept, incompetent, embarrassing play is what we expect from this group. Jaylon Smith is ghost; he might as well sit out the rest of the season. The Bears were so intent on targeting Smith in pass coverage they attacked him three times on the same sequence in the red zone, finally getting the touchdown: WHAT A PLAY by Robinson AND Jaylon Smith TD Chicago 7-17 at the half #DALvsCHI #MNF #Cowboys #CowboysNation #daBears #Bears100 #NFL100 #SportsTalkLine pic.twitter.com/rcvhgKo1Wr— Steven Van Over (@StevenVanOver) December 6, 2019 Give Smith credit for good coverage but it tells you all you need to know that opponents are like “yeah, keep throwing at him”. What’s most disturbing to me is Smith’s seemingly tone-deaf behavior. He’s out there celebrating plays when he and his unit are being thoroughly whipped in every way possible. Sean Lee continues to have tackling problems, isn’t making plays and looks like someone who probably needs to retire. Joe Thomas looked lost on the few times I noticed him. Secondary: D Okay. Let’s give this unit credit for credit deserved. For the first time since November 4th (32 days) the Cowboys defense recorded a turnover! Hallelujah! Now, one of the great benefits of turnovers is they usually give your team great field position. But in the most 2019 Cowboys play of the season, Jourdan Lewis’ interception set the Cowboys up at... their own one-foot line. Of course. #YouMakeTheCall - did he get both feet down for the interception at the goal line or is it incomplete? Ruled incomplete on the field #DALvsCHI #MNF #Cowboys #CowboysNation #daBears #Bears100 #NFL100 #SportsTalkLine pic.twitter.com/gzPeTwwSVf— Steven Van Over (@StevenVanOver) December 6, 2019 Honestly, that was a terrific play by Lewis. Beyond that, however, this unit was part of the problem. Against a truly incompetent opponent, they simply couldn’t get off the field. Repeatedly on third down Bears’ receivers found wide open spaces for Trubiskly to pick up easy conversions. Xavier Woods, many fans pick to improve to a high-level safety this season, seems to get worse with each week. Chidobie Awuzie is little more than a traffic cone. Lewis has been burned repeatedly since taking Anthony Brown’s spot. There’s just not much to like about this group. Again, maybe Kris Richard can yell at them. Special teams: F Broken record at this point. Compare how the Cowboys and Patriots have handled similar situations at the kicker position. Both teams had players who were unreliable. The Cowboys solution? Keep trotting the sub-par kicker out there to contribute to loss after loss with missed kick after missed kick. The Patriots solution? Bring in a new guy until they find the right one. Now, they may never find the right one. But they’re giving themselves a chance. We know Maher can’t cut it, there’s zero chance he’s going to be different. I don’t know; I’m gonna take the approach of the team that’s been to eight Super Bowls the last 18 years over the team that’s won three playoff games since 1996. Front office: F We’ve talked a lot about the coaches and the players and how they haven’t lived up to expectations this year. But let’s not let the focus shift from where ultimate responsibility lies. Jerry Jones is the man in charge. We’ll give him credit for building a seemingly strong front office that has allowed the team to get out from under the salary cap restraints while simultaneously building a strong roster. But there’s simply no doubt that Jerry and his ever-running mouth undermines the authority of the coach. There’s also no doubt that Jerry’s never-ending love-affair with his own players has made them too comfortable; content with failure because they know Jerry (and his pocketbook) has their back. I truly believe if Jerry and Stephen simply shut up and didn’t talk to the media the Cowboys’ organization would be better off. Summary: Where do you go from here? There’s nowhere. What’s worse, they’re regressing, looking more and more inept each and every week. Coaches, players, front office... all three groups have proved woefully inadequate. Yet we have three more games at least. And this team still could very well make the playoffs which seems absurd and borderline criminal. I mean, I guess you could fire Garrett and Marinelli and Richard (they all deserve it) but who deserves to be the coach? “Who on that (Cowboys) staff has earned the right to be the interim coach?” Asked @TroyAikman. “I can’t think of anyone.” That is why Jason Garrett will survive to coach the Cowboys yet another week.— Barry Horn (@bhorn55) December 6, 2019 I guess we’ll just pull up a chair and watch this impending train-wreck to see what happens but man... not where I expected the Cowboys to be.
Ten thoughts on the Bears Windy City blowout of the Cowboysby DannyPhantom on December 6, 2019 at 3:30 pm
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images I’m not crying, you’re crying! Oh, brother. What a terrible game. Don’t look now, folks, but the Dallas Cowboys have themselves a three-game losing streak. The wheels seem to be coming off this football team as there is nothing about how they’ve played in recent games that gives fans any reason to be hopeful. It will be ten days before the Cowboys play another down of football, but before that happens, here are ten thoughts on this very ugly Thursday night game. 1. Deja Vu all over again For the second straight week, the Cowboys took their opening possession 75 yards for a touchdown to take a 7-0 lead in the game. It was an impressive first drive. They ran 14 plays, took up nearly nine minutes off the clock, and converted all four of their third downs. But just like last week, the momentum shifted in the game as the Bears went on to score 24 unanswered points. It was as if we were watching a re-run of last Thursday’s game where the Cowboys teased us at first, only to stink it up the rest of the game. That’s not very nice of them. 2. There’s nothing to see here The Cowboys defense was atrocious. They couldn’t tackle anyone, they couldn’t make stops on third down, and they made Mitchell Trubisky look like Lamar Jackson. It was just a terrible showing all around. The only thing they were good at was grabbing facemasks. The Bears put up 382 yards of offense, controlled the clock, and allowed 151 yards rushing. The defense did just about everything wrong. There was nothing worth seeing in this one. pic.twitter.com/BwNVxkyUlQ— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) December 6, 2019 3. Good at making teams look good Why does it seem like every team has their best game of the season against the Cowboys? Even if a team is struggling, the Cowboys can fix them right up. The New York Jets were 0-4 until the Cowboys strolled into town. Buffalo looked like a great team last week, and now they’ve made the 6-6 Bears team look like a playoff contender. The Cowboys just have a knack for making other teams look good, and we all get a front row seat. It sucks. 4. Moving on from Maher Another game, another missed kick from Brett Maher. It’s sad to watch and we really are rooting for the guy, but something has gotten in his head and that is the kiss of death for a kicker. Fans will say it’s long overdue and those fans are probably right. He’s got a big leg, but it doesn’t matter how far it goes if it’s always drifting wide right. Ten days is a long time between games and it leaves the team plenty of time to find a replacement. Keep in mind though, that kicker is probably also not good. 5. Moving on from Garrett? Jerry Jones has to be at the pinnacle of his frustration as he is scratching his head wondering what could possibly be wrong with his Cowboys. This sure seems like a low point and all the talk over these next ten days will be around how he needs to make a coaching change? Will it happen? Not likely. The Cowboys certainly seem like a lost team, but letting Garrett go right now would not be a wise thing. This team still has something play for and no matter how angry you are, giving the keys to an interim coach right now would not be a wise move. 6. Dak was bad The stat sheet will show another 300+ yard game thanks to some garbage time, but overall - the Cowboys quarterback did not play well. He was off target on several throws, and was lucky he didn’t have a pick returned for a touchdown. Even passes he completed were thrown a little behind his receiver. Prescott’s performance puts him at a new career high for passing yards as he’s now at 4,122 yards on the season, but it was not a good outing. The Cowboys young quarterback is in a little bit of a rut right now which is not what we want to see considering how important these December football games are. 7. They won the turnover battle! After not creating a turnover in four straight games, the Cowboys defense caused two of them on Thursday. Jourdan Lewis had a great toe-tap interception that foiled the Bears first scoring rive attempt. They even stripped Bears running back David Montgomery despite tugging on his facemask and it looking like his forward progress had been stopped. And the offense didn’t commit a single turnover. Sadly, this +2 turnover margin went to waste as the team did too many other things wrong. If it’s not one thing, it’s another with this team, and it’s extremely frustrating to deal with. 8. Attacking the weakness How many times do we have to watch Jaylon Smith in coverage? If it was up to Matt Nagy, he’d do it all day, as he saw this as a clear mismatch. In fact, the Bears offense attacked him on three straight plays, and the third time was a charm. Again and again, the Cowboys defense weren’t in the right position to make the plays they needed to make. When teams are rolling out tight end screens because they know the defense is sending the farm to get to the quarterback, that’s never a good thing. When opponents can run the read option and have the quarterback keep it over and over again for nice gains, that’s just a lack of discipline. The defense is not playing with the right amount of concentration. It looks like they are overaggressive and trying to do too much. Needless to say, they’re not playing well and it’s becoming an epidemic. This kind of stuff continues to happen and it’s a direct reflection of the coaching staff. 9. Darian Thompson had a good game There wasn’t a lot to be happy about, but at least backup safety Darian Thompson has been playing well in Jeff Heath’s absence. He finished the game with 11 tackles, eight of them solo, and even record a sack for the second straight game. While nobody is too jacked about Heath returning to the lineup, it’s good to know that their next man up at the position is a perfectly viable replacement. 10. Still leading the East! Just kidding. We’re not going to do that one again. You know where this team is at in terms of getting into the playoffs, but at this point - would you really want to watch them play another game if this is what they’re doing? Unless something changes real soon, it’s the beginning of the end for this 2019 Cowboys season. The Cowboys magic number is now FOUR - the amount of Eagles losses it's going to take for them to win the division.— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) December 6, 2019