NFL Wire News

Cowboys 38, Eagles 27

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PHILADELPHIA — The Dallas Cowboys let an early three-touchdown lead slip away, then rallied to beat the Philadelphia Eagles 38-27 Sunday night at Lincoln Financial Field to take over first place in NFC East.

Dallas quarterback Tony Romo and wide receiver Dez Bryant connected for three touchdown passes.

The Cowboys (10-4) finish their season at home against the Indianapolis Colts and at the Washington Redskins. The second-place Eagles (9-5) finish with two road games, at Washington and at the New York Giants.

If the teams finished tied for first place, the Eagles would win the NFC East because they would have a better division record than the Cowboys. Dallas and Philadelphia split the head-to-head series.

The Cowboys jumped to a 21-0 lead and were ahead 21-10 at halftime, but the Eagles scored the first two touchdowns of the second half to take the lead.

Philadelphia got a quick start to the third quarter thanks to a 72-yard catch-and-run by wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, who beat defender Brandon Carr on an out pattern. When Carr overran the play, Maclin took off down the sideline and was finally dragged down on the Dallas 1-yard line. Running back Chris Polk ran the final yard on the next play to make it 21-17 with 8:48 left in the third.

The Eagles then got a break. Tight coverage forced Dallas quarterback Tony Romo to hold onto the ball and he was blindsided by defensive end Vinny Curry, and he fumbled the ball away on the Cowboys’ 14. Two plays later, running back Darren Sproles scored on a 1-yard carry, and the Eagles had their first lead of the game, 21-17.

Philadelphia wasn’t on top for long. The Cowboys took the ensuing kickoff and quickly drove 78 yards. A 22-yard pass to Bryant (six catches, 114 yards) put the ball on the Eagles 2. Running back DeMarco Murray (31 carries, 81 yards, two touchdowns) scored on the next play, and Dallas was back on top 28-24 with 39 seconds left in the third quarter.

Cowboys safety J.J. Wilcox intercepted a tipped pass from quarterback Mark Sanchez on the Eagles’ 42. That set up another big play between Romo and Bryant, who once again beat cornerback Bradley Fletcher, this time for a 25-yard touchdown that made it 35-24 with 12:48 left in the game.

After Philadelphia kicked a field goal and then stopped the Dallas offense, the Eagles made another crucial mistake. Tight end Brent Celek fumbled the ball away on the Philadelphia 34-yard line, setting up a 49-yard field goal by Dallas placekicker Dan Bailey that sealed the victory with 4:37 to play.

Romo finished 22 of 31 for 265 yards. Sanchez went 17-for-28 for 252 yards with no touchdown passes and two interceptions. Maclin caught four passes for 98 yards.

The Cowboys got a huge early break when the Eagles’ Josh Huff let the opening kickoff bounce toward Dallas’ coverage team. Safety C.J. Spillman wrestled the loose ball from Huff, and the Cowboys were in business on the Eagles’ 18. That led to Murray’s 1-yard touchdown run and a 7-0 lead with 12:46 left in the first quarter.

Dallas had to work a little harder for its next touchdown, driving 88 yards in 16 plays and 8:16. The key to the drive was three third-down passes to tight end Jason Witten, for 21, 17 and 4 yards. That set up Romo’s 4-yard TD pass to Bryant, and the Cowboys had a 14-0 lead with 3:04 left in the first quarter.

After the Eagles offense went three-and-out again, the Cowboys struck for another touchdown, this time scoring on Romo’s second TD pass to Bryant, a 26-yarder. That made it 21-0 and the Cowboys had three touchdowns before the Eagles had one first down.

But the Eagles finally got their offense going and capped an 84-yard drive with Chris Polk’s 5-yard run, which made it 21-7 with 8:32 left in the second quarter, and then they added a 47-yard field goal by Cody Parkey to cut the Dallas lead to 21-10 at halftime.

NOTES: After his 81-yard night, Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray needs 87 rushing yards to break the Dallas single-season record of 1,773, set by Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith in 1995. … Eagles QB Nick Foles, who missed his sixth consecutive game due to a broken collarbone, is scheduled to be re-examined Monday. He could be cleared to start practicing again. … The Cowboys rolled up 127 yards of offense in the first quarter, and the Eagles had 0. Dallas finished with a 364-294 edge in total yards. … With the Eagles’ loss, the Arizona Cardinals became the first NFC team to clinch a playoff berth.


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