The most shocking thing about Monday night's humiliating 34-18 defeat wasn't the five interceptions, the pathetic offensive line, the poor night for the rookie cornerback or the Dez Bryant drops.
No, the most shocking thing was that owner Jerry Jones said he was surprised by the result. Nobody asked the most natural follow-up question in the world, unfortunately, so we'll ask it here. Are you also surprised when the sun rises in the morning?
Seriously. How could Jerry Jones be surprised by a performance like this when this is the same kind of performance that we've been seeing for years from this team? This has been an erratic, inconsistent team as capable of blowing a team out as they are of getting blown out for the majority of Jones' tenure as an owner.
They have been a .500 team since winning their last Super Bowl, with the names changing on the back of the jerseys but the organization remaining in exactly the same place when it comes to player development, scouting and everything else involved with fundamentally changing the culture of an organization. There's tons of potential, just as there has always been tons of potential, but it never goes beyond that for a Cowboys team that matches every step forward with at least one step in reverse.
Bryant might be the best example of that. The new rules for his behavior are supposed to be helping him on football, but he makes the same mistakes he made as a rookie and remains nothing more than an athletically gifted human being who hasn't proven to be much of a football player.
It's beyond frustrating at this point in time and, at some point, frustration will turn to apathy for a team run by a man who can say with a straight face that he's surprised when things remain the same when you refuse to make any real changes.
That's about the ugliest takeaway from the game, but here's the rest of the good, bad and ugly from Monday night.
UGLY: You don't get much more Tony Romo than that shovel pass interception that Lance Briggs turned into a touchdown. Some of the other picks weren't all his fault nor was every terrible incompletion his fault, but that shovel pass thrown instead of simply accepting there was no play to be made speaks to everything that Romo's detractors have always said about him. To beat dead the horse from above, when things don't change you lose the right to act surprised about them.
BAD: Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr both had bad nights, so it makes sense that the Cowboys defense looks just like the one they threw on the field last season. Without strong play from the corners, the defense hasn't actually improved from last year.
GOOD: Having said that, it's nice to see Claiborne step up and say simply that he played a horrible game instead of trying to rationalize it with athlete speak. The rook has some work to do, but its easier to do it once you admit something's wrong.
UGLY: Contrast that with Bryant, who thought his two drops and inability to run the right routes somehow equals an average performance. Yes, Bryant had 105 receiving yards, but the idea that this was an acceptable game in any way may be part of the wideout's problem.
GOOD: Sean Lee continues to be one of the team's brightest spots. Every now and then Jerry the G.M. actually hits a home run on draft day.
BAD: Victor Butler showed some intriguing pass rushing ability in the preseason and got a big chance to show his stuff with Anthony Spencer out of the lineup on Monday night. Butler whiffed on a golden opportunity for a sack, though, and the rest of his game isn't in Spencer's category.
UGLY: It's been a long time with Jason Garrett, Offensive Genius at the helm of the Cowboys. Why is there so very little to show for it? This leads us back to where we started, but what better way to illustrate that those who refuse to change remain in the same exact place.