- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 4, 2011

IRVING, TEXAS (AP) - In his first outing since fueling the biggest collapse in Dallas Cowboys history, Tony Romo was guaranteed not to lose.

OK, so it was just a bye-week practice on Tuesday pitting the offense and defense known as “Cowboys vs. Cowboys.”

Still, it was the club’s first step toward getting past their latest frustrating loss and getting ready for a weekend away from football.

The point of this session was the offense and defense working on things without regards to a game plan. They’ll be back on the field Wednesday, then have four straight days off to clear their minds and heal their bodies for the next 12 weeks.

“I think it’s important for everyone to realize there’s a lot of football to be played,” linebacker Keith Brooking said. “For us right now, having a bye week, it’s important to get our rest, get physically ready to roll.”

Dallas has been among the most unpredictable teams this season.

With one or two plays going differently, the Cowboys could be 0-4 _ or 4-0. They’re 2-2, so luck, fate or whatever else determines games seems to have balanced out.

The agonizing part for Dallas is how historic those losses have been.

The Cowboys blew a 14-point, fourth-quarter lead in the opener, the widest margin they’ve ever coughed up in the final period.

They one-upped themselves this past Sunday, letting a 24-point, third-quarter lead turn into a four-point loss.

Never in the 773 previous regular-season games, and this includes seasons when they went 0-11-1 and 1-15, has Dallas gagged that badly.

“You have to compete for 60 minutes of hard-core football,” linebacker Victor Butler said. “We’ve seen what happens if you don’t.”

The ugly bottom line to those games erases all the good things that led up to it. Yet Dallas did do a lot of things right to build those leads.

“We played our best football this year in the first part of the games that we lost,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Tuesday on his radio show. “We’re going to need to be a better team, obviously, to get where we want to go. But we’ve got the potential.”

Dallas is fourth in the NFL in total defense and sixth in total offense. That indicates more than potential.

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