The Dallas Cowboys had the perfect opportunity in front of them. After an embarrassing 26-15 home loss to the Buffalo Bills on Thanksgiving, Dallas had a chance to upstage the Chicago Bears on a national stage. This was a team that was reeling -- a squad that had to battle from behind to defeat a third-string quarterback and the shorthanded Detroit Lions a week ago. Instead, the Cowboys found a way to lower the bar more, losing to the Bears, 31-24, in a game that was not nearly as close as the final score suggested.
It was just about as bad of an offensive performance as you could have. The Cowboys went three-and-out five times, Dak Prescott didn't register a touchdown until garbage time late in the fourth quarter and Dallas allowed Mitchell Trubisky -- who Bears fans wanted to be benched earlier in the year -- to go off for four total touchdowns.
In the second half, television cameras caught images of shell-shocked players sitting on the bench -- staring off into space while the Cowboys' coaches tried to correct mistakes. Despite yet another loss, head coach Jason Garrett maintains that he still has the support of his team.
When asked if he believed the players were still buying in, Garrett responded, "I do," according to Jori Epstien of USA TODAY.
When asked if the Cowboys looked "checked out," Garrett responded, "I don't believe that."
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In a different area of the stadium, Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones addressed the media. Many reporters were hoping for a speech different than the one they heard following the Thanksgiving loss to the Bills, but Jones refused to speak on specific changes he was considering. He even guaranteed that Garrett would be coaching next week when the Cowboys host the Los Angeles Rams.
Despite another disappointing, out-of-character loss, Jones is going to move forward with Garrett. While many believe he's delaying the inevitable, the fact of the matter is that what happened tonight will not move the Cowboys out of first place in the NFC East. Even if the Philadelphia Eagles defeat the New York Giants this week, the Cowboys will own the tiebreaker over their rivals.
Jones has always maintained the same philosophy -- just take care of what's in front of you. The Cowboys get the Rams, then the Eagles and then the 3-9 Washington Redskins to close out the season. It's very possible that the Cowboys win the division to advance to the postseason. Jones made it clear during his media availability on Thursday night that he's focused on making the playoffs, and then reevaluating what happens from there. Jones is not arguing that the Cowboys have underperformed so far or that the past few weeks have been embarrassing. It appears that he's just waiting to see what happens before making a final decision.