The Cowboys entered the bye week with momentum following a dominant 27-13 win in Houston. They've exited it right in the thick of the NFC East, despite being 1-2 for the first time since 2002.
As the Cowboys get back to work Monday, they find themselves only a half-game behind all three rivals -- Washington, New York and Philadelphia are 2-2 -- in a muddled division.
Technically the Cowboys are a game-and-a-half behind the Redskins, who won the Sept. 12 season opener, 13-7. But the Cowboys will have a chance to nullify the Redskins' tentative tiebreaker later in the season, and Washington did them a favor Sunday by beating the Eagles, 17-12, in Donovan McNabb's return to Philly.
The Eagles not only lost sole possession of first place, their new starting quarterback Michael Vick did not return to the game with an apparent rib/chest injury.
Meanwhile, the Giants improved to 2-2 Sunday night by winning an ugly one over Chicago. New York knocked Bears quarterback Jay Cutler out of the game with an apparent concussion during one of its NFL-record nine sacks in the first half.
Back from a three-day weekend, the Cowboys are scheduled to practice Monday, a usual day off following Sunday games. Last week they got a head start on the Tennessee Titans (2-2), who lost to the Denver Broncos on a late fourth quarter drive, 26-20.