IRVING, Texas (AP) — The Dallas Cowboys certainly picked a bad time for an awful game, one that will stick with them for an extended period.
This is going to be a long brutal stretch in a season that is already having an all-too-familiar feeling.
And that's not good.
Dallas (2-2) goes into its bye week after Tony Romo's five interceptions in a 34-18 loss to Chicago.
Then comes a challenging stretch with four of five games on the road, including three current division leaders.
"When you have a game like last night you want to be playing right now, but that's not how it works in this league," coach Jason Garrett said Tuesday.
Even without a game this week, there won't be a lot of times to make a lot of corrections.
Cowboys players had their normal day off Tuesday, a day before their only practice of the week precedes their four-day break mandated by the collective bargaining agreement.
Their next game is Oct. 14 at Baltimore, and their only home game before the second half of November is Oct. 28 against the New York Giants.
The defending Super Bowl champions are 3-0 at Cowboys Stadium and will be looking to avenge a season-opening home loss to Dallas.
When the team landed in California for training camp in late July, one of the first things seven-time Pro Bowl tight end Jason Witten said was that 2012 "can't be the same old story."
But one-fourth through the regular season, things don't really seem to have changed for a team that has been distinctly average for so long.
The Cowboys were 8-8 last season. After alternating wins and losses so far this season, they are 122-122 in regular-season games since the start of 1997 with only one playoff victory.
After Monday night's loss, Witten said it "has to be a wakeup call" with another up-and-down start.
"We have regroup, get healthy, evaluate it and stick together," Witten said. "There's no finger-pointing. We have great guys that are working hard. Ultimately, it comes down to results."
They were also 2-2 going into their bye last year after a home loss when two interceptions thrown by Romo were returned by Detroit for touchdowns, similar to what the Bears did.