The Norman Transcript

December 30, 2013

Eagles keep Cowboys out of playoffs

By Schuyler Dixon
The Associated Press

ARLINGTON, Texas — Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles completed a worst-to-first turnaround under rookie coach Chip Kelly.

The Dallas Cowboys are stuck in second place and going home early again, and nobody can blame Tony Romo for the final crushing loss.

Foles threw two touchdown passes, NFL rushing champion LeSean McCoy had 131 yards and a receiving score and the Eagles beat the Cowboys 24-22 in a win-or-go-home game for the NFC East title Sunday night.

The Cowboys (8-8), with Kyle Orton filling in two days after Romo had back surgery, lost to a division rival with a playoff berth on the line for the third straight year.

The Eagles (10-6) will host New Orleans in a wild-card game Saturday night.

Dallas trailed 24-16 when Orton threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to Dez Bryant. Orton went back to Bryant for the 2-point conversion, but Cary Williams dove to punch the ball away.

The Cowboys got another chance with a stop from their beleaguered defense, but Orton’s pass was intercepted by Brandon Boykin on the first play to seal the win.

“We kept fighting. We believed in each other,” said Foles, who was 17 of 26 for 263 yards after throwing for only 80 in a 17-3 loss to Dallas at home. “When the offense was struggling, the defense picked us up.”

McCoy finished with 1,607 yards to become the first Philadelphia running back to win the rushing title since Hall of Famer Steve Van Buren in 1949.

Romo was the quarterback for losses the past two seasons to the New York Giants and Washington — and against the Eagles in the same scenario in 2008.

The Cowboys weren’t shy about throwing without Romo.

Trailing by one, Dallas tried to pass on fourth-and-1 from the Philadelphia 40 early in the fourth quarter, and Connor Barwin knocked down Orton’s throw to Murray, who was open in the flat.

That decision came after Cowboys coach Jason Garrett called a timeout moments before the Eagles would have been called for a false start on fourth down from the Dallas 1. The defense bailed him out by stuffing Foles on a sneak.

After the Cowboys’ failed fourth-down try, Foles led a steady march to Bryce Brown’s 6-yard run for an eight-point lead with 6:09 remaining.

Breaking news, severe weather alerts, AMBER alerts, sports scores from The Norman Transcript are available as text messages right to your phone or mobile device. You decide which type of alerts you want to receive. Find out more or to signup, click here.