What it means for the Cowboys: For the third straight season, the Cowboys are 2-3, and they have never recovered from so poor a start to make the playoffs since Jerry Jones took over as owner and general manager in 1989.
The difference-maker was a Tony Romo interception with 1:57 to play at the Dallas 24-yard line, which ruined what had been one of the best games of his career. He finished with a franchise-record 506 passing yards, but it was the mistake when it mattered most that doomed his game and the Cowboys’ chance to knock off the undefeated Broncos.
Stock watch: Falling -- Monte Kiffin. He was brought in to change the defense, and, so far, it just has not happened. The Cowboys are forcing more turnovers and came up with the first interception of Manning on the season, but the 51 points allowed is the most points they have ever allowed in a home game in team history. The Cowboys allowed 500 yards for the second straight game, with Denver picking up 517 after San Diego put up 506 last week.
A week after his fumble at the goal line cost the Cowboys at least a field goal,if not a touchdown, Williams responded with an 82-yard touchdown and 151 yards. Bryant scored a touchdown for the fourth straight game and had 141 yards, but he also had a crucial fumble in the first half. Witten caught seven passes for 121 yards and had a fourth-quarter touchdown that gave the Cowboys a brief lead.
Alas, it was not enough for the Cowboys or Romo, whose mistake cost the Cowboys a chance at victory.
Claiborne rebounds, sort of: Morris Claiborne has been maligned for his play this season, but the second-year cornerback was responsible for two takeaways that led to 14 Cowboys points.
Claiborne recovered a fumble on the Broncos' first drive of the game that ended in a DeMarco Murray touchdown, and his interception of Manning in the third quarter led to a Witten touchdown that gave the Cowboys a 41-38 lead.
It wasn’t perfect. He was beaten by Eric Decker for a 57-yard catch and a touchdown, but it was at least a sign of fight from Claiborne.
What’s next: The Cowboys play their second NFC East game of the season with the Washington Redskins visiting AT&T Stadium. Robert Griffin III completed 20 of 28 passes for 311 yards and four touchdowns in the Redskins’ 38-31 victory in Arlington on Thanksgiving last season. The Cowboys opened this season with a 36-31 win against the New York Giants.