ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Cowboys lost their quarterback and the game, a 41-35 defeat to the New York Giants on Monday night. If you're thinking about the playoffs, it's not going to happen. Under the current playoff format, insitutued in 1990, no NFL team has reached the postseason after a 1-5 start.
What did we learn: The Cowboys' season will come to an end. Well at least their playoff hopes. Dallas falls to 1-5 on the season and it's one of their worst starts since 2001, when it went 0-4 with Dave Campo as the coach. The Cowboys' loss makes them 0-2 in the division and 0-4 in the conference. The last time the Cowboys allowed 40-plus points in a game was the 2008 regular-season finale at Philadelphia when the Eagles won 44-6, knocking the Cowboys out of a playoff berth.
Cowboys lose Tony Romo: Romo suffered a fractured left (non-throwing arm) clavicle in the first half when he was slammed to the turf on a blitz by linebacker Michael Boley with 12:07 to play in the second quarter. Romo tried to return to the game, but the team trainers pulled him back in. Romo watched the rest of the game wearing a sling. In other injuries, left guard Montrae Holland, playing for an injured Kyle Kosier (strained right Achilles and right high-ankle sprain), suffered a strained left groin. Backup pass rusher Jason Hatcher suffered a right groin strain and Terence Newman has a left rib injury. Newman played through his injury.
Turnovers equals wins, but not tonight: The Cowboys forced five turnovers but still lost. NFL teams are 48-17 when they have three or more turnovers this season. Newman, Gerald Sensabaugh, Bradie James, Keith Brooking and DeMarcus Ware forced the turnovers, but it didn't matter in the end. The Cowboys were plus-three in turnover differential, and NFL teams are 26-1 when that happens.
Wade Phillips goes for touchdown over field goal: With the Cowboys down, 38-20, early in the fourth quarter, coach Wade Phillips elected to go for it on fourth down from the Giants 6 instead of attempting a field goal. Backup quarterback Jon Kitna's pass to Miles Austin was incomplete. It was an interesting decision because a David Buehler field goal would have pulled the Cowboys within 38-23.
Special teams improves: We had special teams changes, adding Brandon Williams to the kickoff coverage and the intensity level. Sam Hurd came flying down the field to make two solid tackles on kickoff coverage. Dez Bryant scored on a wonderful 93-yard punt return, the second longest in franchise history. David Buehler made a 41-yard field goal.
What's next: The Cowboys host Jacksonville on Sunday at Cowboys Stadium, and Jon Kitna most likely will be the starting quarterback. Depending on the health of Romo, the Cowboys might have to sign another quarterback. If that happens, it's a clear signal the Cowboys have given up on their season.