ARLINGTON, Texas — Playing in prime time for the second time in six days, the Bears continued to stake their claim as the worst team in the NFL.
Sunday’s 31-17 loss to the Cowboys might have clinched it.
On the list of the NFL’s winless teams, only three others remain: the Browns and Jaguars — who should have emeritus status — and the Saints, who play their third game Monday night. No team in the NFL has been outscored by more points, on aggregate, than the winless Bears.
“We’re looking for it, man,” outside linebacker Willie Young said. “We gotta do whatever we gotta do to find it. We have not found it. We have got to figure it out. And we better figure it out fast.
“Ain’t no, ‘We got a long season left.’ No. We gotta figure this out like, yesterday.”
Attrition isn’t helping. Running back Jeremy Langford left the sideline on a golf cart with what the team called an ankle injury — neither he nor coach John Fox would specify the severity — while safety Harold Jones-Quartey left with a concussion and defensive end Jonathan Bullard with a foot problem.
The Bears already played Sunday night without four of their five highest-paid players, in terms of total contract — led by Jay Cutler, whose sprained right thumb kept him in street clothes on the sideline. Brian Hoyer completed 30-of-49 passes for 317 yards and two scores — both to tight end Zach Miller in the second half — in his place.
“It’s not an excuse, but it is an excuse,” Fox said of injuries. “So we’ll just stick with that. It is what is, and I thought we had some growing pains even in this game. Hopefully, we’ve got some guys some key time that will help them moving forward, especially if these injuries last a while.”
The Bears’ defense was bullied by running back Ezekiel Elliott — who gained 140 yards on 30 carries and at one point hurdled safety Chris Prosinski on a dead run — and a dominant offensive line that kept rookie quarterback Dak Prescott clean and calm.
The Bears’ offense in the first quarter was inept, totaling a measly six plays for 18 yards— and eventually two punts. By the time the Bears eventually scored — on Connor Barth’s 34-yarder, his first as a Bear — the team trailed, 17-3.
The Bears then tried to manufacture their own momentum, dribbling an onside kick up the middle and recovering it. Jonathan Anderson was ruled to be offside — though replay made the claim appear dubious — and the Bears were forced to kick deep.
In each of the first two quarters, the Cowboys kept the ball for about 11 minutes.
When Dallas receiver Terrence Williams fumbled at the end of a 47-yard catch on the Cowboys’ second play of the second half, the Bears finally capitalized. Miller caught his first touchdown on the ensuing drive and his second with 6:28 to play in the game to pull the Bears back within 14.
It wasn’t close to enough.
“I know people want to see a win — we’d love to see wins, too,” guard Kyle Long said. “But we haven’t put together an entire game yet.”
Follow me on Twitter @patrickfinley