Sooner or later, the Dallas Cowboys have to understand one very important concept:
They can't keep playing mediocre football and expect to win games.
That was another case on Sunday as the Cowboys somehow escaped Bank of America Stadium with a 19-14 win over the Carolina Panthers and, miraculously, improved their record to 3-3.
But Dallas shouldn't have won this game in the first place.
This was considered a trap game for the Cowboys going into Sunday, but the overall perception was that they should take care of business and win easily by at least a couple of touchdowns.
That's what was expected, considering Cam Newton has struggled, the running game hasn't gotten going and their defense has continuously given up many big plays to high-powered offenses.
However, considering the fact that the Cowboys have found different ways to lose over the last number of weeks, being down 7-3 at halftime shouldn't have come as any surprise. And if anything, it wouldn't have come as a surprise if Dallas somehow dropped this one to the one-win Panthers.
But after carelessly fumbling the ball after making a 15-yard catch in the second quarter, Miles Austin redeemed himself in the third quarter with two huge gains. The biggest came on that beautifully-thrown ball by Tony Romo for a touchdown and the 10-7 lead.
Other than that, there wasn't anything to cheer about for the Cowboys' offense.
Can the Cowboys still win the division?
Players who had big games last week against the Baltimore Ravens defense were limited and almost non-existent on Sunday. Felix Jones, who rose from the grave and ran for 92 yards and a touchdown against Baltimore, was limited to only 15 carries for 44 yards.
Dez Bryant, who had a career day in catching 13 balls for almost 100 yards and two touchdowns, was once again on the receiving end of proper criticism. He caught only two passes for 14 yards, and even had a drop in the end zone that would've put the game away for good.
The issues with Dez will be saved for another day.
The inconsistency with this team over the last number of years has been highly frustrating to watch. This team has all the talent in the world to go for another Super Bowl and possibly win it. That has been well-documented before.
But when Bryant makes drops like the one he had last week and today, Jones can't run the ball effectively and people hold their breath every time Romo drops back to throw, how can anyone expect this team to compete this year?
Let alone, how can anyone expect this team to beat the New York Giants next Sunday?
Dallas has a week to figure something out and find a way to keep their season somewhat relevant.