Dallas Cowboys' season at crossroads with overtime loss

Weeden, Spiller earn game balls (1:29)

ESPN Cowboys reporter Todd Archer nominates Brandon Weeden for a game ball after the QB threw for 246 yards and one touchdown, while Saints reporter Mike Triplett's pick goes to C.J. Spiller, who caught the game-winning, 80-yard pass in overtime. (1:29)

NEW ORLEANS -- The Dallas Cowboys' season is only a month old, but they are at a crossroads following their second straight defeat with Sunday's 26-20 overtime loss to the New Orleans Saints.

The Cowboys are simply running out of enough quality players to win games. They lost Sean Lee (concussion) and Lance Dunbar (knee) to injuries and are already playing without Tony Romo and Dez Bryant.

If you look at the upcoming schedule, where is the next win?

The undefeated New England Patriots visit AT&T Stadium next week coming off a bye. The Cowboys then get a week off before making a trip to the Meadowlands to take on the New York Giants, who have won two in a row. Then they play the Seattle Seahawks and Philadelphia Eagles.

Somehow the Cowboys have to come away with a win while Romo and Bryant rest, and Sunday proved they don't have any margin for error. The defense missed several opportunities for big plays and wore down.

The offense was able to deliver an 8-play, 91-yard drive that ended with a 17-yard touchdown catch by Terrance Williams from Brandon Weeden on fourth down with 1:51 to play, and the team got some luck when Zach Hocker's 30-yard field goal attempt clanged off the left upright.

In overtime, they weren't so lucky. The Cowboys were late in setting up their defense, and Drew Brees took advantage with an 80-yard touchdown pass to C.J. Spiller, who ran by rookie linebacker Damien Wilson, playing because Lee was hurt, and fellow linebacker Andrew Gachkar limped off on the first play of overtime.

Spiller ran through safety Barry Church and was able to dance into the end zone and sink the Cowboys' hearts.

At 2-2, the Cowboys' saving grace might be the NFC East, but they need any kind of win and in a hurry.

What were they thinking? For the second straight week, the Cowboys had a difficult time counting to 11. They were called for 12 men on the field on New Orleans' first drive of the second half, allowing the Saints to kick a 51-yard field goal after punting. Last week against the Atlanta Falcons, they had 10 men on the field for a 2-point play.

One reason to get excited: Is it too harsh to say the Cowboys are one week closer to having Bryant and Romo back on the field? If you're looking for something, then the pass rush was able to get three sacks of Brees after putting up just three sacks in the first three games. Or maybe the final drive from Weeden was a sign the coaches can trust him a little more.

One reason to panic: In some ways, Dunbar has been the Cowboys' big-play threat on offense. He suffered a left knee injury returning the opening kickoff of the second half though. He had a 45-yard run in the first quarter, and he entered the game with a team-high 215 receiving yards. Without Dunbar, the Cowboys lose a big part of their third-down offense.

Fantasy watch: Joseph Randle's chances at the Cowboys' lead back spot might be over. He had 11 carries for 26 yards and had a 1-yard touchdown, but he drew the ire of the entire coaching staff with that score by leaping over the top. The carry was initially ruled a fumble but replay gave him the touchdown. It didn't matter. The coaches were furious because they don't want runners leaping because of the chances of a fumble.

Ouch: Already banged up, the Cowboys lost Lee in the first half with a concussion and Dunbar on the opening kick of the second half with a knee injury. Neither returned, and Dunbar's injury could be serious. Wide receiver Brice Butler contributed a 67-yard catch in the third quarter and suffered a hamstring injury.

Help on the way: When the Cowboys report to work on Monday, defensive end Greg Hardy and linebacker Rolando McClain will be full-time members of the team with their four-game suspensions over. McClain has been able to work out at the team's facility and take part in meetings. The Cowboys' medical staff has had contact with Hardy, and he is believed to be in good shape.