Ten days ago, the Dallas Cowboys were lining up for a field goal that would give them a two-game lead in the NFC East with four games to go.
Since that kick missed, the Cowboys have:
Busted a defensive coverage in overtime.
Given up a safety.
Lost DeMarco Murray.
Had a field goal blocked.
Given up their third double-digit lead in the fourth quarter this year.
As a result, they have surrendered sole possession of their lead in the NFC East and they don't even have a wild-card spot. If the season ended now, the Cowboys -- who two games ago were a mere two victories from clinching a division championship -- would not even be in the playoffs.
It is a sudden change for a team that 10 days ago was riding a four-game winning streak and so confident, it banked on a rookie kicker to make a 49-yard field goal on a churned-up field.
Today, the Cowboys find themselves needing to stay within a game of the New York Giants just to keep meaning in the season finale. The Cowboys play on the next two Saturdays, at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and at home against the Philadelphia Eagles, before closing the season on New Year's Day at MetLife Stadium against the Giants.
Meanwhile, the Giants host the Washington Redskins, play at MetLife as the visitor against the New York Jets and host the Cowboys.
"After losing two straight, there isn't much we can do as far as pointing fingers," cornerback Terence Newman said after Sunday night's 37-34 loss to the Giants at Cowboys Stadium. "You have to try to correct the mistakes you make."
Giving up 510 yards, generating almost no pass rush and being called for 10 penalties leaves plenty for the Cowboys to correct. But they must also recharge themselves emotionally. Coach Jason Garrett will remind them and reporters that everything the Cowboys want is still in front of them -- the division championship, a playoff spot.
"After one like this, I don't know," linebacker Bradie James said. "This is definitely a difficult loss. I'm going to think about this one. We have 24 hours. You can't just shut it off like that."
The Cowboys also have to overcome their underachieving history in December. It's an intangible. The Cowboys can't game-plan for it. But it's clear from the evidence -- the Cowboys are 9-14 in December over the past six seasons and 12-17 after Thanksgiving in that time.
"I don't think anything that's happened in the past has a real impact on this football team," Garrett said.
Romo, who threw four touchdown passes and no interceptions against the Giants, is 7-12 in December, 9-15 past Thanksgiving, since he became the Cowboys' starter.
"You play through the adversity, and you play through the good stuff," Romo said.
For the Cowboys to be at their best, special teams have to be at their best. Dan Bailey had made 26 consecutive kicks before he missed twice in Arizona two weeks ago. The block of his game-tying attempt Sunday night left him with three misses in his past seven attempts, although he has still hit from 50, 49 and 49 in that stretch.
"All you can do is bounce back," Bailey said. "You can't sit there and feel sorry for yourself."
Moving on is one thing. The Cowboys must also heal, if they can. Murray's fractured ankle and ankle sprain will put an end to his season. Center Phil Costa suffered a concussion, so that puts him in doubt for Saturday's game.
Nose tackle Jay Ratliff, cornerback Mike Jenkins, safety Barry Church and linebacker Sean Lee played with injuries during the Giants game.
"No matter how tough this is, we are going to find a way to win," Lee said. "If we do that, then we will be all right and still in a position to make the playoffs."
Cowboys add Morris
The Cowboys are turning to 11-year veteran running back Sammy Morris to serve as Felix Jones' backup in the wake of the season-ending injury to rookie DeMarco Murray, according to sources.
Morris, 34, played at Texas Tech before a solid NFL career that included stops in Miami and New England. He was released by the Patriots in training camp.
The Cowboys needed to make the move after Murray suffered a fractured ankle and ankle sprain against the Giants. Murray was slated to undergo surgery Monday and be placed on injured reserve today.
Jones, who began the season as the starter before being replaced by rookie sensation Murray, was the only running back left on the roster. Phillip Tanner (hamstring) was placed on injured reserve last week. The Cowboys cut Tashard Choice in October.
They have Chauncey Washington on the practice squad.
Clarence E. Hill Jr. contributed to this report
Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7407