IRVING, Texas (AP) – Bill Parcells wasn’t ranting and raving.

No matter how disappointed the coach was after another agonizingly close loss by his Dallas Cowboys, he kept the big picture in perspective.

“I know we are going to have a chance to play the team that is closest to us next time out,” Parcells said after the Cowboys’ 24-21 overtime loss to Denver on Thursday.

“I told Mike (Shanahan), I think his team has a chance to do things, and I really do think we do, too.”

The Cowboys (7-4) still have a chance to control things in the NFC East after losing for only the second time in seven games. Both losses came against division-leading teams on last-play field goals.

Plus, after three games in an 11-day stretch that wrapped up Thanksgiving Day, they have more time to rest and prepare for what could be the most important game of their season: Dec. 4 at the New York Giants.

“We have a game for first place in our division in 10 days,” Drew Bledsoe said after throwing two touchdowns and two interceptions against the Broncos.

“We’ll put this one away as quickly as we can and get ready.”

New York (7-3) plays Sunday at Seattle with a chance to take the NFC East lead. But even if the Giants win, Dallas could pull even again next weekend and claim a vital tiebreaker with a season series sweep. The Giants lost in overtime at Dallas last month.

“We have to focus on winning the division now,” defensive tackle Jason Ferguson said.

Dallas never led the Broncos, but Bledsoe tied the game at 7 with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Keyshawn Johnson; at 14 with a 1-yard plunge on fourth down; and at 21 with a 4-yard TD pass to Jason Witten.

The Cowboys had a chance to go ahead midway through the fourth quarter, but Billy Cundiff – just four days after kicking a franchise-record 56-yard field goal in his first game back – was wide left on a 34-yard attempt.

“I missed it. … It was completely my fault,” Cundiff said.

“Obviously, we are very disappointed in this game,” said Bledsoe, who was 29-of-44 – both season highs – for 232 yards. “We fought hard against a very good team and had our chances to win it.”

AFC West-leading Denver (9-2) won the coin toss to start overtime, then needed just three plays to win.

After a 7-yard pass and Ron Dayne’s 55-yard run, Jason Elam kicked a 24-yard field goal.

Until the big run in overtime by Dayne, the 1999 Heisman Trophy winner who was filling in for injured Dallas-area native Tatum Bell, the Broncos had been held to just 89 yards rushing, about half their season average.

Dallas had won three straight since its 13-10 loss Oct. 23 at the NFC-leading Seahawks (8-2), who got Josh Brown’s 50-yard field goal as time expired after Bledsoe threw an interception that was returned 25 yards.

The Cowboys’ four losses are by a combined 13 points.

“I told the players it is not going to be without a bump in the road here or there,” Parcells said.

“I would have liked to have this one, but we didn’t get it. So we just have to regroup and get ready to try to play better next time.”

AP-ES-11-25-05 1549EST

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