CHICAGO -- They might be on a three-game losing streak of their own, but the Cowboys became slump busters on Thursday night.
That's not a good thing.
It's hard to overstate the ineptitude of the Chicago Bears' offense heading into this primetime matchup, though you wouldn't know it. En route to their best performance of the season, the Bears completely befuddled the Dallas defense to the tune of 382 yards and 31 points.
"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."
To put it in clearer context, it was the Bears' third-best performance of the season -- the closest they've come to cracking 400 yards in almost two months. It was also just the second time this year they've hit the 30-point mark.
"I think we just did a good job moving the chains, staying on the field. We were good on third down," said Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky.
Speaking of Trubisky, you'd never guess he's the most criticized quarterback in the NFL -- not off the strength of Thursday night's performance. The third-year quarterback has struggled through some rough patches this season. He even opened this game by throwing an end zone interception to Jourdan Lewis.
It's safe to say he bounced back, though. Trubisky guided Chicago to points on his next four possessions, highlighted by two touchdown throws to Allen Robinson and another to Anthony Miller.
When he wasn't doing that, he was hurting the Cowboys with his legs -- a consistent theme for this season. Trubisky entered this game with just 80 rushing yards on the season, but on Thursday he used his athleticism to the tune of 10 carries for 63 yards.
The last of those all but ended the competitive portion of the contest, when Trubisky kept a read-option and raced past a befuddled Dallas defense for a 23-yard touchdown that made the score 31-10.
"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."
The whole thing seems to leave the Cowboys without a lot of answers. They entered this game ranked in the top 10 in the NFL in both yards and points allowed. They even fixed their takeaway troubles, as they forced two on the night.
But the hallmarks of good, consistent defense simply were not there, which lead Garrett to wonder if the Cowboys are pressing too much.
"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."
Consistency, or the lack thereof, is the quickest way to define the Cowboys' season, not just their defense. But it's a fair point. For all their talent, the Cowboys too often find themselves out of position -- or in position, but unable to make the play.
"We have to just get back into being more disciplined down in and down out," Garrett said. "That's the way you handle adversity. You execute."
They couldn't in Chicago. And to see those results against one of the league's shakiest units only emphasizes how much they have to clean up.