Well, at least come Monday morning the Dallas Cowboys will still be in first place in the NFC East, a silver lining if you will.
Because there isn't much else to feel good about after the Cowboys fell to the Chicago Bears, 31-24, in a prime-time Thursday night showdown. In a nearly carbon-copy performance of their loss to the Bills the previous week, Dallas came out strong, looking great in the first quarter, only to then implode.
In a troubling trend that has only seemed to worsen, the Cowboys defense was anything but good, even though it managed to record two takeaways. Chicago quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, who came into the game ranked 26th in the league in passing yards (2,196) and tied for 23rd in touchdown throws (13) with a lackluster passer rating of 84.4, simply picked apart the Dallas secondary. He completed 74.2 percent of his passes for 244 yards with three touchdown tosses for a rating of 115.5.
Trubisky also added 63 yards and another score on the ground, helping the team rush for 151 yards overall on the night, the Bears' highest total since Week 8. Behind his effort, Chicago put up 382 yards of total offense, converted 58 percent of its third downs and dominated the time of possession, 32:18 to 27:42.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the ball, the Cowboys looked good on the stat sheet, totaling 408 yards of total offense, but they were empty stats, much of them coming after the game was decided. Dak Prescott was able to rack up 334 passing yards, but he completed just 55.1 percent of his passes and finished with a passer rating of 83.2.
Likewise, Michael Gallup earned 109 receiving yards and Amari Cooper surpassed the 1,000-yard mark for the fourth time in his career after totaling 83 yards in this game, but again, much of it came late in the game. For his part, Ezekiel Elliott ran for 83 yards and two touchdowns in the losing effort.
Frustratingly, everything went right for the Cowboys at the start. They took the opening kickoff and went on an extended 17-play drive that ate up nearly nine minutes of the clock. Elliott picked up 33 yards on the 75-yard drive with Prescott completing 4-of-6 passes, including two to tight end Blake Jarwin that both picked up key first downs.
Elliott then got the scoring honors, powering his way in from 2 yards out to give Dallas the early lead. Of course, just one week previous, the Cowboys also scored on their first drive and led the game 7-0 after the first quarter only to then give up 26 consecutive points to the Buffalo Bills.
Unfortunately, history repeated itself.
The Dallas defense saw the ever-opportunistic Jourdan Lewis bring the Bears' first possession to a halt with a toe-tapping sideline interception at the Cowboys' 1-yard line. Overall, though, the unit didn't show signs that it could slow down Trubisky and the Chicago offense.
And it didn't. On each of their next four offensive possessions, the Bears again marched deep into Dallas territory, and without gifting the ball away, came away with 24 unanswered points, which included two touchdown catches from receiver Allen Robinson.
The first of those came just three minutes into the second quarter on a six-play, 51-yard drive. Trubisky set up the score with a screen pass to J.P Holz, the tight end turning up field for a 30-yard gain before then firing a pass to Robinson in the end zone two plays later to even the score.
That was followed soon thereafter by another three points, this time the Bears turning to kicker Eddy Piñeiro for a 36-yard field goal and the lead. But they were back in the end zone before halftime after a 14-play, 68-yard series resulted in an 8-yard pass to Robinson with only 14 seconds remaining, giving the home side a 17-7 advantage at the break.
Nothing was going right for Dallas. After grinding out 17 plays on that opening drive, they ran only 14 more the rest of the first half. Even worse, between those last two Bears possessions, the Cowboys again saw struggling kicker Brett Maher miss another field goal, this one from 42 yards.
Chicago then came out after the break and immediately went the distance for another touchdown. The Cowboys simply couldn't tackle, as on a third-and-9 at the Bears' 34-yard line, Trubisky threw a short pass to Cordarrelle Patterson, who dashed his way through a number of Dallas defenders to pick up 33 yards.
Even the ensuing score was another display in poor tackling. This time Trubisky dumped one off short to Anthony Miller, only to have the wideout rumble through several would-be tacklers the final 14 yards to pay dirt.
Not ready to give up, the Cowboys found a little life late in the third quarter when Joe Thomas stripped the ball from running back David Montgomery with Jaylon Smith scooping up the fumble. Starting at their own 46-yard line, Dallas then converted two fourth downs on their way to finally reaching the end zone. The second of those was a fourth-and-1 at the 2-yard line on the first play of the fourth frame, Elliott lunging for the goal line to get the Cowboys back on the board, 24-14.
Now down only 10 with basically an entire quarter to play, there seemed a glimmer of hope. Those hopes were dashed soon enough.
In a comedy of errors, the Cowboys first saw Maher blast the kickoff out of bounds to give the Bears a start at their own 40-yard line. That was followed by Trubisky threading a pass between Dallas defenders for a 22-yard completion and then taking the ball himself and running through a wide open hole off left tackle, breaking more tackles along the way to dash 23 yards to the end zone.
After that, the game was essentially over. The Cowboys did add another touchdown on a honey of a pass from Prescott to Cooper, a 19-yard completion that capped a 10-play, 85-yard drive, and Maher finally split the uprights from 31 yards out with 12 seconds remaining to at least make the score a little more respectable. But, of course, it was far too little, far too late.
With the loss, the Cowboys saw their record drop to a disappointing 6-7. However, given the dismal play from the rest of the NFC East, they still hold the tiebreaker edge for first place and are the "favorites" to win the division even if the Philadelphia Eagles earn a victory on Sunday to match their 6-7 mark.
Still, it's little consolation after three straight losses, the team needing to get back in the win column … and soon.