Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Big stars mean little in Big D as mistakes continue to abound for Cowboys

Everything is bigger in Dallas.

The homes and the cars, the hair and the diamonds.

The Big D, right?

D as in disappointment, of course, as once again Jason Garrett and the bumbling Cowboys (6-7) lost in prime time thanks to a bevy of little mistakes.

Midway through the third quarter of their eventual 31-24 loss to the Chicago Bears on Thursday night, the Fox cameras captured Dak Prescott standing stone-faced on the Cowboys' sideline, seemingly in disbelief of what he just saw. His eyes barely blinked. His jaw clenched. Presumably, his fists tightened.

Dallas safety Xavier Woods had just gifted Chicago a first down on 3rd-and-9 from the Cowboys' 19-yard line, courtesy of a defensive holding penalty.

One play later, Mitchell Trubisky — whom Dallas made into the second coming of Brett Favre on Thursday night, instead of the third-year dud he's looked like for much of the year — found Anthony Miller for the QB's third passing touchdown of the night. (He’d add another score on the ground as well.)

Instead of a manageable 20-7 deficit, the Cowboys stared at a three-score hole from which they could not climb out.

Not with Garrett at the helm.

Dallas has seemingly stopped responding to its longtime coach.

The discipline that is the hallmark of a winning football team is nowhere to be found. It's not quite as bad as the rootin', tootin' Cleveland Browns — whose own head coach can't seem to get out of his own way — but these Cowboys keep shooting themselves in the foot.

A hapless Chicago offense, which entered the game having scored 20 or fewer points eight times in 12 games this season, tied its season high with 31.

Why?

It all started — or, rather, ended for the Cowboys — on third down.

Chicago came into the game converting just 31 percent of third downs.

On Thursday, the Bears converted seven of 12.

For Dallas, there were missed assignments and blown calls. There were penalties — not so many as to be comical, just six for 52 yards — but seemingly all at the worst times.

There were so many missed tackles that the Bears looked like they were covered in Crisco. And that's when the Cowboys could even get their hands on them; earlier in that same Trubisky-to-Miller touchdown drive, Cordarrelle Patterson juked three Dallas defenders out of their cleats on a 33-yard, 3rd-and-9 conversion.

On the very next drive, Dallas trailing 24-7, Amari Cooper dropped a first-down pass, Ezekiel Elliott dropped a second-down pass and Dak Prescott wildly overthrew a third-down attempt. The entire drive, a critical possession at a crucial juncture, took up all of 29 seconds.

This time, the cameras captured Garrett on the sidelines, looking even more stoic than Prescott had just minutes before. The stone heads on Easter Island have more of an expression.

That, more than anything, revealed Garrett's slipping grasp of this team.

On one sideline, you had Matt Nagy, who has helped Chicago shake off a woeful midseason four-game slide with three straight wins. Every time the cameras caught him, he was chatty and active, covering his mouth while trying to relay a bevy of information.

I'm not sure the cameras found Garrett saying a single word on Thursday.

After the game, Cowboys legend Troy Aikman, calling the game for Fox, tore into his former team.

"I don't know how you come back from this. I really don't, Joe," he told Joe Buck, before concluding his long rant by saying, “This is on the players as much as it is on the coaches. They've got to be better. I'm not sure I'd even talk to the team this week. I'd just say, 'Let's just go play next week and you guys figure it out.' But the talk is over, and it has been for a while."

So maybe that’s why Garrett had so little to say on the sidelines. Maybe he realizes there just are no more words to say to this team.

This is a roster loaded with talent. A prized young backfield playing behind a stout offensive front. Plenty of weapons in the passing game. A top-10 defense with stud young linebackers.

And, somehow, the words aren’t sinking in.

Little mistakes overtaking big talent, rendering the D in Big D to just a big disappointment.

Jon Gold is an award-winning features writer and columnist with more than a decade of full-time beat, features and columnist experience. He has hosted television and radio shows, podcasts and YouTube videos.

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