We've seen it happen so many times in the past that we've actually lost count of just how often the Cowboys have won a game that made it seem they had turned a corner before turning around and losing to an inferior opponent the next week.
They've got a chance to break that cycle this weekend against the Browns. While it might be a stretch to say that the Cowboys looked like a team poised for a major run in last week's win, it was a victory that had much to do with a level of mental fortitude rarely seen around the franchise in recent years. The kind of victory that comes, in part, because the team knows that it simply cannot afford to lose a game.
It's not an easy level of play to keep up week after week, which is what has kept the Cowboys from taking off on the kind of run that the Giants, Packers and others have used to win the Super Bowl. They have simply been too erratic to pull off those improbable runs.
Since the talent of the players is the same in all cases, the issue has to be motivation and focus on the task at hand. Team leaders like Tony Romo and DeMarcus Ware have to be driving forces behind making those things part of the approach, but it has to start from an even higher place. It has to come from Jason Garrett.
In a way, it is strange to see Garrett at the helm of such an unpredictable team. He's not Rex Ryan, yo-yoing from extreme joy to anger to sadness in the course of one press conference, and he's not some red-faced taskmaster like Tom Coughlin that you can see pushing a team just far enough that they fail to show up to play one night.
Garrett is exactly the kind of guy you'd expect to be coaching a team that brings you the same thing, good or bad, every week of the season. He's so even keeled that it comes off as being aloof or removed from the fray, something that you'd think would have an impact on reeling in his bipolar team.
That's not been the case, however, and perhaps that's because his even nature gets in the way of Garrett delivering the message that this week matters more, not less, than the divisional game in Philadelphia last week. And the week after that will matter even more should the Cowboys find their way to a win.
It's a hard road to travel because it requires keeping things at a fever pitch for an extended period of time. It's the only road the Cowboys can travel, though, and it is up to Garrett to push his team down it the rest of the way.