IRVING, Texas (AP) -The Dallas Cowboys eliminated one huge distraction with their first loss of the season.
``I guess now we can be alleviated from going 16-0,'' Bradie James said Monday, a day after the Cowboys lost 26-24 at home to NFC East rival Washington.
``It's always a big atom bomb drop anytime we lose because people think we are going to win every game every year by 40 points,'' Marcus Spears said. ``But that's not the case. ... We've always been able to pull back together. Guys have no less hope of getting where we want to go now than before we played Washington.''
One loss doesn't eliminate Super Bowl expectations for the Cowboys (3-1), but it did drop them from the top of the NFC East, the league's toughest division, behind the New York Giants (3-0) and tied with the Redskins.
Marion Barber on eight carries.
``We didn't run the ball enough,'' coach Wade Phillips said Monday. ``In some games we audible out of running plays. In this game, we probably audibled out of too many.''
Phillips blamed himself for that, refusing to put that on Tony Romo. Phillips said the quarterback didn't make any mistakes in audible calls.
``It's how we set it up,'' Phillips said. ``Sometimes we just need to run the ball. We need to run Marion Barber up in there and we can still run against an eight-man front and if he can break through there, he'll make a big play for us.''
The Cowboys should have a chance to correct things over the next few weeks.
After playing at home Sunday against Cincinnati (0-4), the Cowboys are on the road against Arizona (2-2) and St. Louis (0-4). That means they play half of the league's four remaining winless teams in the next three weeks, sandwiched by a game against a Cardinals team they have dominated through the years.
Dallas just needs to make sure to get over the disappointment of losing to a division rival that had won only once in its previous 12 trips to Texas Stadium.
and lose three or four more because of this one.
``We still feel like we have the talent here to make it happen,'' he said.
After the game, Adam ``Pacman'' Jones called the loss a needed reality check for the team.
Phillips stopped short of saying that Monday, but he does believe the loss will make the team stronger.
``We won't get as many pats on the back on how great we are,'' Phillips said. ``We will bounce back from this. I think we will even get stronger as a team. I think they will bond together. ... I think we are upset, but we are also mad we didn't play our best. It will bring out the best in our team.''
Notes: Cowboys NT Tank Johnson was upset with Washington RB Rock Cartwright dancing on the star logo in the middle of Texas Stadium after the game, calling it a ``childish'' act. ``I told him don't disrespect our field,'' Johnson said. ``Why would you dance on our star like you won the Super Bowl?'' ... Dallas and Detroit are the only defenses still without an interception this season. ``It wasn't a problem the first three games, but it was this game,'' Phillips said. Meanwhile, Romo has thrown interceptions in seven consecutive games.

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