IRVING, Texas (AP) -Sore-thumbed quarterback Tony Romo is going to be OK and the Dallas Cowboys still are tied for the NFC's best record, with the inside track for home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.
So it wasn't exactly doomsday Monday for the Cowboys (12-2) when they dealt with defeat for the first time in two months. Things definitely could have been much worse.
But with two games left in the regular season before a home playoff game, Dallas obviously isn't playing its best football.
While the 10-6 loss Sunday to Philadelphia was the first for the Cowboys since mid-October against still-undefeated New England, it was their second poor performance in a row. They had struggled throughout a week earlier at Detroit before finally taking the lead with 18 seconds remaining.
``It puts your nose back to the grindstone, it shows you you're not invincible,'' coach Wade Phillips said Monday. ``It's a different feeling for us, and we don't want to lose again.''
At least Phillips knows Romo is going to be ``all right.'' Romo's throwing hand got banged against Philadelphia, but he didn't miss a play. The coach also was encouraged with how center Andre Gurode was walking around on his injured left knee, and said defensive end Chris Canty's left knee was fine.
The Cowboys learned later Monday that the NFL had suspended safety Roy Williams for one game after his third illegal ``horse collar'' tackle this year.
Williams, whose use of the tactic led to the rule making it a 15-yard penalty, did it against Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb. Williams will miss Saturday night's game at Carolina; Keith Davis or rookie Courtney Brown could start.
Backup safety Patrick Watkins has a sprained left ankle: ``It may be a week or so on him,'' Phillips said.
Nothing can keep them from a home playoff game the second weekend in January, but the Cowboys want to get back in synch before the postseason. They don't need another December swoon to take away the momentum of their franchise-best start this season.
Since their last playoff victory following the 1996 season, the Cowboys haven't had a winning record for regular-season games played in December and early January. They are 16-29 in such games, plus four playoff losses.
``I wasn't even a history major in college, so I don't worry about that history stuff,'' Terrell Owens said after Sunday's game. ``There's no doubt in this locker room. ... There's no reason for a lack of confidence, not at this stage of the game, anyway.''
Even when losing Sunday, the Cowboys clinched a first-round bye in the playoffs because Seattle lost. Dallas and Green Bay are tied for the NFC's best record, but the Cowboys own the tiebreaker for beating the Packers last month.
It's just that Dallas struggled late in that Nov. 29 showdown against the Packers, and in the two games since.
``It's frustrating right now. This is the part of the season that is going to be an emotional letdown,'' Romo said after the Eagles game. ``We still have a chance to do what we're trying to do.''
Players got a day off, but Phillips already knew what he was going to tell the team when they got back together Tuesday.
``The sky isn't falling because of one game,'' he said. ``But we know we've got to point toward the playoffs and a home game.''
What about his message for Romo, who was 13-of-36 for 214 yards with three interceptions? Romo had his team-record streak of 17 straight games with a TD pass snapped and Dallas failed to score a touchdown for the first time since November 2004.
``Just dust yourself off and come back,'' Phillips said.
Romo had X-rays Sunday that were negative, and Phillips said there was only some swelling Monday.
Phillips was still waiting to hear the results of an MRI exam on Gurode, but said ``he is walking around. It's a little encouraging as far as him being able to walk around and so forth.'' Canty was also knocked out of the game after hurting his left knee, but didn't need an MRI.
Tight end Anthony Fasano (concussion) likely will be limited in practice.
Receiver Terry Glenn, inactive Sunday after returning to practice last week, will practice again this week and could play for the first time since two operations on his right knee before the season.
``Hopefully will be a nice word,'' Phillips said. ``Hopefully he could play some, play a little more the next week and be ready to go for the playoffs.''

Top NFL Public Bets

NFL Top Stories

Thumbnail Most Passing Yards Prop Odds Will Tom Brady record the most passing yards in the Conference Championship games this Sunday?
Thumbnail NFC Championship Game Spread Moves The point spread in Sunday's NFC Championship Game between the Minnesota Vikings and Philadelphia Eagles has moved off a key number.
Thumbnail Bettors Split on NFC Title Game After the Eagles upset a public favorite last weekend in the Divisional Round, public bettors are split on whether or not Philly will thrive in the dog role again...
Thumbnail Early Money on Pats to Cover in AFC Early money is coming in on the New England Patriots to cover the spread against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Championship Game...
Thumbnail Eagles to Play Underdog Role Again The Eagles will have another opportunity to wear their dog masks this week as they've opened up as an underdog against the Vikings in...

NFL Team Pages