It's hard to read too much into the Cowboys' Sunday night dismantling of the Bears -- mostly because the Bears have been decimated by injuries and even still, they were considered one of the league's worst teams heading into the season -- but at the very least, we can say that Dallas didn't play down to its opponent.
The game, which was over by halftime, was never in doubt, and the Cowboys now have a winning record as they move one week close to Tony Romo's return. The Bears, meanwhile, are one week closer to firing John Fox, who falls to 6-13 since coming to Chicago before the 2015 season.
Here are 10 takeaways from the impressive Cowboys win.
1. You like Dak, Carson Wentz fans?!
For the first weeks of the NFL season, Carson Wentz has been the story. Part of that is because less than a month ago he was the third-string quarterback behind Sam Bradford and now he's one of the league's best passers. Part of that is because he's been vital in the Eagles' 3-0 start. And part of that is because he's done it without once turning the ball over.
It's a great story, but not much different than the one that is currently unfolding in Dallas. Yes, the Cowboys lost the opener to the Giants, but they also have a rookie quarterback who has exceeded every expectation -- dating back to the preseason. And unlike Wentz, who was the No. 2 overall pick, Dak Prescott didn't hear his name called until the fourth round, 133 picks later. He was the eighth quarterback taken, and he's managed to play like a grizzled veteran while doing his part to keep the Cowboys in the NFC East race while Tony Romo recovers from his latest injury.
How good has rescott has been? Consider this: Heading into Week 2, he was ranked 11th in total value among all passers, according to Football Outsiders' metrics. Wentz was 12th. And while Wentz blew the doors off the Steelers' defense on Sunday -- he finished 23 of 31 for 301 yards and two touchdowns -- Prescott more than held his own; he finished 19 of 24 for 248 yards and one touchdown.
If there was a quarterback named Carson Prescott, he'd throw every pass for a touchdown and look exactly like this. pic.twitter.com/LCM1k6jtgx— ryan wilson (@ryanwilson_07) September 26, 2016
2. You like Dak?! Part II
Much has been made of Wentz's ability to throw and run (though his offensive coordinator threatened to beat him up if he didn't quit taking needless hits near the sidelines) but don't sleep on Dual-Threat Dak.
Nothing open downfield...— NFL (@NFL) September 26, 2016
But @15_DakP has serious speeeed!
First down, @dallascowboys. #CHIvsDALhttps://t.co/BI5uQvRNHJ
What a throw!@15_DakP is lighting it up in primetime. #CHIvsDALhttps://t.co/SJO48cZRqf— NFL (@NFL) September 26, 2016
3. Remember when Jerry Jones didn't seem all that excited about drafting Prescott?
This isn't a knock against Jones, the Cowboys' owner and general manager, but more a commentary on the unpredictable nature of the NFL Draft. Either way, back in May, after the the Broncos traded back into the first round to take Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch, Jones admitted that he should've done more to bring Lynch to Dallas as Romo's eventual replacement.
"When I look back on my life, I've overpaid for my big successes every time. I probably should've overpaid [for Lynch]," Jones said at the time.
By mid-August, after Prescott was crushing it in preseason, Jones had forgotten about Lynch -- as well as a previous quarterback crush. When asked by TMZ, "What is it about Johnny Manziel that you guys don't want him on the team?" Jones had a two-word answer: "Dak Prescott."
4. So are we sticking with the ol' 'You can't lose your job because of an injury' stuff?
Prescott has only gotten better since he came out of nowhere in the preseason. So much so that those August jokes about Romo losing his job aren't quite so funny now. Put another way: What if the Cowboys are 7-1 or 6-2 when Romo's healthy enough to return -- do you immediately put him back in the lineup, or do you continue to roll with Prescott? Because while we know what Romo can do when he's healthy, we haven't seen that for more than a few weeks since the 2014 season. Which means he'll almost certainly be rusty. How long do the Cowboys want to wait for him to sort that out, especially when the team's young starter has been dialed in for the first two months of the season?
We're making a lot of assumptions here -- the Cowboys were 2-0 to start last year and they finished 4-12 -- but, at the very least, these are good problems to have if for no other reason than Dallas has stumbled across its quarterback of the future, even if they didn't know it when they drafted him.
5. Ezekiel Elliott makes Prescott's job much easier
Unlike Wentz, who has the benefit of a very good defense, Prescott instead gets to lean on an outstanding offensive line and a solid running game. We got a glimpse of what rookie first-rounder Ezekiel Elliott is capable of on Sunday night, starting with his first touch of the game.
.@EzekielElliott breaks through on the first play!— NFL (@NFL) September 26, 2016
21-yard rush for the rookie! #CHIvsDALhttps://t.co/jk38VqeVRT
And we saw his hurdling skills late in the second half:
Goin 🆙@EzekielElliott completely hurdles the defender! 😱 #CHIvsDAL— NFL (@NFL) September 26, 2016
By the end of the night, Elliott had 30 carries for 140 yards.
6. The Bears are very, very bad at football
To be fair, Chicago has been hit by injuries -- the defense was without Danny Trevathan, Eddie Goldman, Kyle Fuller, Pernell McPhee and Lamarr Houston, and quarterback Jay Cutler didn't play Sunday night -- but the Vikings could make a similar complaint. The only difference is that they found a way to win and are currently atop the NFC North with a 3-0 record, and the Bears are in the cellar at 0-3.
A lot of Minnesota's success has to do with coach Mike Zimmer, and a lot of Chicago's ineptitude rests with John Fox, who somehow has a worse winning percentage with the Bears than Marc Trestman. But this is what happens when you're forced to start Brian Hoyer after your inconsistent franchise quarterback suffers an injury.
So perhaps this should have been expected...
Not a great sign for the Bears that they misconnected on a handoff on the first play of the game— Michael David Smith (@MichaelDavSmith) September 26, 2016
And the rest of the first half only got worse from there.
Here comes the #Bears offense. pic.twitter.com/VV19Mncdva— Dane Noble (@WindyCGridiron) September 26, 2016
7. More depressing Bears-related observations (and a joke!)
Bears about to go to 0-3 against Brock Osweiler, Carson Wentz and Dak Prescott.— Tom Fornelli (@TomFornelli) September 26, 2016
Bears offense not built to overcome double-digit deficits.— Dan Wiederer (@danwiederer) September 26, 2016
Roger Goodell is going to hire Ted Wells to investigate who decided to put the Bears on in prime time two weeks in a row.— Michael David Smith (@MichaelDavSmith) September 26, 2016
In Hoyer's defense, he finished 30 of 49 for 317 yards and two touchdowns. Given all the chaos in Chicago, those are Hall of Fame numbers.
8. So will Jay Cutler be a Bear in 2017?
First things first: Cutler was really good in 2015. He completed 64 percent of his throws and had 21 touchdowns against 11 picks, and he did it playing behind a terrible offensive line. He also ranked ninth in value per play among all quarterbacks, ahead of Matthew Stafford, Philip Rivers and Cam Newton.
Offensive coordinator Adam Gase had a lot to do with Cutler's resurgence, but Gase is now in Miami trying to fix Ryan Tannehill and Cutler seems to have regressed. He completed 55 percent of his passes in the first two games, though he played with a thumb injury during last Monday night's loss. Cutler is expected back in the lineup soon, but barring some MVP-level production, the Bears will have a decision to make this offseason. Cutler will have four years left on the $126.7 million deal he signed before the 2014 season, but he doesn't carry a large dead money cap hit in 2017 and the team may be ready to begin the search for their next franchise quarterback.
The thing is, even if the two sides decide to part ways, we can't imagine Cutler will be out of work long; yes, he'll be 34 this offseason, but this remains a pass-happy league woefully short on quarterbacks. In fact, a reunion with Gase in Miami would probably be good news for both Cutler and the Dolphins.
9. Hey Terrance Williams, a word of advice...
So Terrance Williams failed to get out of bounds as time expired in the Week 1 loss to the Giants. On Sunday night, he made a great play ... only to fumble.
Terrance Williams to the 50...40...30...— NFL (@NFL) September 26, 2016
FUMBLE! @ChicagoBears recover. 😳 #CHIvsDALhttps://t.co/3FQ0e5dzK3
When in doubt, Terrance, just get out of bounds. Thanks in advance.
10. Hey you, you're on an NFL sideline!
What do you think was the last thing to go through this man's mind as he watched the game on the scoreboard? We're going with, "Ha! That old coot is about to get trucked!"