Final

Eagles 37

(1-1, 0-1 away)

Cowboys 41

(2-0, 1-0 home)

Coverage: ESPN/WatchESPN

8:30 PM ET, September 15, 2008

Texas Stadium, Irving, TX 

1 2 3 4 T
PHI 6 24 0 737
DAL 14 10 7 1041

Top Performers

Passing: T. Romo (DAL) - 312 YDS, 3 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: M. Barber (DAL) - 18 CAR, 63 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: J. Witten (DAL) - 7 REC, 110 YDS

T.O. moves into 2nd on TD receptions list as Cowboys win shootout with Eagles

Associated Press

IRVING, Texas -- Lead change after lead change, spectacular play after spectacular play, head-slapper after head-slapper, the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles played a game Monday night that was more gripping than many movies.

A good ol' fashioned Western, Tony Romo called it.

Fast Facts

• The Eagles and Cowboys combined for 78 points, 54 of which came in the first half. It was the second-most points in the first half of a Monday Night Football game and the most combined points in the 98-game rivalry between the two teams.

• Tony Romo threw for 312 yards. It was his 12th career game with 300 yards passing, one shy of Troy Aikman's team record.

• DeSean Jackson (six catches for 110 yards) joined Don Looney as the only players in NFL history with 100 or more receiving yards in each of his first two career games.

-- ESPN research

"It's a good thing we were Clint Eastwood," he said, smiling after the 41-37 victory.

There were the highs of a long touchdown pass to Terrell Owens and a longer kickoff return by Felix Jones. The lows of back-to-back flubs by Romo that gave Philadelphia touchdowns 14 seconds apart. And that was just the first 17 minutes.

Then came Eagles rookie DeSean Jackson losing a touchdown because he flicked the ball backward before crossing the goal line, Donovan McNabb showing the fancy footwork of his youth and Brian Westbrook scoring twice on runs, once on a catch, only to have the McNabb-Westbrook connection go wrong on a fourth-quarter handoff.

When it was done -- after Marion Barber's second second-half touchdown and after the Dallas defense snuffed a reception followed by two laterals -- the Cowboys came away with a win in their final home opener at Texas Stadium, and the highest-scoring of the 98 games between these teams.

"We know that no game is going to be perfect," Owens said. "There's going to be interceptions, fumbles, missed assignments by everyone. But as a team, we came to play tonight. Offensively, defensively, I think everyone stepped up when they needed to."

Romo was 21-of-30 for 312 yards with three touchdowns, plus an interception and a lost fumble that came on consecutive snaps, taking Dallas from near-breakout to near-breakdown.

"We kept believing in each other," Cowboys coach Wade Phillips said. "Everyone said 'Hey, hang in there, we're going to come out on top,' and we did!"

Philadelphia, coming off an impressive romp in its opener, went from trailing 14-6 to leading 30-21 just before halftime. The Eagles were still up 37-31 after Westbrook's third score, early in the fourth quarter, but his fumble on the next series led to the seventh and final lead change.

"These were two great teams going at it," McNabb said. "There are a lot of positives we can take from this game. But that's not important right now. What we need to do is focus on the working on the negatives. That's going to make us a better team."

This was the rare September game that will linger in the memory of anyone who saw it. For anyone who didn't, think back to Romo's big comeback in Buffalo on a Monday night last year, or to Romo's playoff goof in Seattle two years ago, or McNabb's great escape on a scramble four years ago or even Leon Lett's premature touchdown celebration in the January 1993 Super Bowl. This game had plays reminiscent of all those, most in the first half.

"It was one of the best games I've not only seen, but been a part of," Cowboys linebacker Bradie James said.

Owens had 89 yards on three catches, including a 72-yard touchdown on Dallas' first series that he punctuated with the kind of arm-flapping celebration he used to do for Philadelphia, and a 4-yard touchdown. His first TD moved him into second place on the NFL's career receiving touchdown list; he finished at 132, well behind Jerry Rice's record of 197.

"It doesn't matter what they say about me now," Owens said. "The Lord has obviously blessed me with a lot of talent."

Philadelphia Dallas

NFL.com Video

Watch highlights from the Philadelphia vs. Dallas game.

T.O. didn't catch a pass in the second half, but took pride in opening the middle for tight end Jason Witten, who caught seven passes for 110 yards. He had a 42-yarder to set up a 51-yard field goal before halftime, then a 32-yarder on the game-winning drive. Witten did most of his damage with a shoulder separated in the first half. Dallas also lost safety Roy Williams to a broken right arm.

McNabb was 25-of-37 for 281 yards with a touchdown and four sacks, two on the final series. He also matched Ron Jaworski's club mark of 175 career TD passes.

Jackson caught six passes for 110 yards, becoming only the second player in NFL history to open his career with consecutive 100-yard games. The other was Don Looney, also for Philadelphia, in 1940.

Westbrook ran 18 times for 58 yards for two touchdowns, and caught six passes for 45 yards and another score.

"We came so close," tight end L.J. Smith said. "We knew it would be a tough battle. To lose like this hurts."

This game was destined to be different when the opening kickoff went out of bounds between the 1-yard line and the pylon.

The long scores by Owens and Jones, then a great pass breakup by rookie Mike Jenkins got the old stadium rocking. Then it got quiet real fast.

Romo avoided a sack, then made the kind of "impulse play" former coach Bill Parcells hated, resulting in an interception. Westbrook scored on a short screen, cutting Dallas' lead to one point.

The Cowboys fumbled the kickoff, recovered at the 5, then got pushed back by a false start. Romo lost the ball three times on the next snap and Philadelphia's Chris Gocong landed on it in the end zone for a touchdown.

Dallas came right back with another long kickoff return by Jones and another TD by Owens.

Next came Jackson's early celebration of a long touchdown. The Cowboys challenged and, with all the extra cameras for a Monday night game, officials easily found an angle that showed him letting go too soon. Using similar logic to the controversial fumble-whistled-dead in the Broncos-Chargers game Sunday, the ball was put at the 1 and Westbrook scored on the next play.

The unbelievable part of Jackson's goof: He did it before. In a 2005 high school all-star game, Jackson spread his arms for a swan dive into the end zone, only to land at the 1.

McNabb kept the next drive alive by somehow breaking free from linebacker Greg Ellis and running for 10 yards. McNabb came away smiling and dancing. After another run that took five defenders to drop him, Philadelphia kicked a 22-yard field goal to go up 30-21 with 45 seconds left until halftime.

Plenty of time, in other words, for Dallas to get within 30-24.

The Cowboys went ahead on a 17-yard touchdown catch by Barber midway through the third quarter. The Eagles came right back, with McNabb overcoming a second-and-21 by scooting out of two near collisions, avoiding an ankle tackle and zipping the football like a fast-pitch softball to Westbrook. The drive ended with Westbrook churning into the end zone for his third touchdown and a 37-31 lead.

Want an encore? Well, the teams meet again in Philadelphia. In the season finale.

Game notes


The 54 first-half points were second-most in a Monday night game. ... The Cowboys hadn't had a kickoff returned for a touchdown in the regular season since Randal Williams did it, also against Philadelphia, in 2003. ... Owens also broke a tie with Cris Carter for the second-most games with multiple touchdowns.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
PHI
DAL
1st Downs2320
Passing 1st downs
1112
Rushing 1st downs
86
1st downs from penalties
42
3rd down efficiency
5-126-10
4th down efficiency
0-10-0
Total Plays6454
Total Yards337380
Yards per play5.37.0
Total Drives1113
Passing259312
Comp-Att
25-3721-30
Yards per pass
6.310.4
Interceptions thrown
01
Sacks-Yards Lost
4-220-0
Rushing7868
Rushing Attempts
2324
Yards per rush
3.42.8
Red Zone (Made-Att)3-53-3
Penalties5-4410-108
Turnovers12
Fumbles lost
11
Interceptions thrown
01
Defensive / Special Teams TDs11
Possession30:3229:28

Passing Leaders

PHIC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
McNabb25/372817.6104-22
DALC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Romo21/3031210.4310-0

Rushing Leaders

PHICARYDSAVGTDLG
Westbrook18583.2214
McNabb5204.0010
DALCARYDSAVGTDLG
Barber18633.5119
Jones3103.306

Receiving Leaders

PHIRECYDSAVGTDLG
Jackson611018.3060
Westbrook6457.5118
DALRECYDSAVGTDLG
Witten711015.7042
Owens38929.7272

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERPHIDAL
phiFG10:44David Akers 34 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 9 plays, 44 yds, 4:13
30
dalTD7:46Terrell Owens, 72 yd pass from Tony Romo (Nick Folk kick is good)
Drive info: 6 plays, 86 yds, 2:24
37
phiFG2:58David Akers 44 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 10 plays, 43 yds, 4:12
67
dalTD2:45Felix Jones, 98 yd kickoff return (Nick Folk kick is good)
Drive info: 10 plays, 43 yds, 4:12
614
SECOND QUARTERPHIDAL
phiTD14:55Brian Westbrook, 6 yd pass from Donovan McNabb (David Akers kick is good)
Drive info: 1 plays, 6 yds, 0:00
1314
phiTD14:41Chris Gocong, fumble recovery (David Akers kick is good)
Drive info: 1 plays, 0 yds, 0:00
2014
dalTD10:02Terrell Owens, 4 yd pass from Tony Romo (Nick Folk kick is good)
Drive info: 8 plays, 56 yds, 4:13
2021
phiTD7:38Brian Westbrook, 1 yd run (David Akers kick is good)
Drive info: 5 plays, 73 yds, 2:02
2721
phiFG0:45David Akers 22 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 12 plays, 52 yds, 4:30
3021
dalFG0:03Nick Folk 51 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 3 plays, 45 yds, 0:22
3024
THIRD QUARTERPHIDAL
dalTD5:08Marion Barber, 17 yd pass from Tony Romo (Nick Folk kick is good)
Drive info: 9 plays, 64 yds, 5:37
3031
FOURTH QUARTERPHIDAL
phiTD14:17Brian Westbrook, 1 yd run (David Akers kick is good)
Drive info: 11 plays, 70 yds, 5:18
3731
dalFG10:29Nick Folk 47 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 8 plays, 40 yds, 3:36
3734
dalTD4:35Marion Barber, 1 yd run (Nick Folk kick is good)
Drive info: 7 plays, 63 yds, 3:55
3741