Cowboys season ends against Vikings, 34-3

MINNEAPOLIS -- It was ugly. But when you're not an elite team, these things happen.

The Dallas Cowboys' season came crashing down at the Metrodome, 34-3, on Sunday afternoon. After winning 11 games and the NFC East title, the Cowboys ended their nightmares and won a playoff game for the first time since 1996 when they beat the Philadelphia Eagles.

There were high hopes about the Cowboys and just how far this team could go, but against the Minnesota Vikings, they struggled to protect quarterback Tony Romo, couldn't run the ball and now face an off-season with questions about left tackle Flozell Adams, who missed the second half with a right calf strain, kicker Shaun Suisham, who missed two field goals and whether Marion Barber should remain the starter.

Answers to these questions won't be known for some time, but at least in the Metrodome we discovered that the Cowboys are a good team, but not an elite team.

Dallas might have lost two regular-season games to the Giants and beat the Eagles three times, but those teams are not the elite.

The Cowboys knocked off previously the unbeaten New Orleans Saints but lost to the San Diego Chargers, one of the favorites in the AFC.

The Cowboys have some work to do. The fact the Cowboys didn't score a touchdown in this game proves they're not ready for prime time.

Can Wade Phillips lead them to the next level?

We'll see.