Final

Cowboys 6

(9-7, 3-5 away)

Eagles 44

(9-6-1, 6-2 home)

Coverage: FOX

4:15 PM ET, December 28, 2008

Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA 

1 2 3 4 T
DAL 3 0 0 36
PHI 3 24 17 044

Top Performers

Passing: T. Romo (DAL) - 183 YDS, 1 INT

Rushing: C. Buckhalter (PHI) - 10 CAR, 63 YDS

Receiving: T. Owens (DAL) - 6 REC, 103 YDS

Sources: Romo collapses in shower after Eagles clinch

ESPN.com news services

PHILADELPHIA -- Donovan McNabb flexed his muscles, seemingly mocking Terrell Owens. The always stoic Andy Reid played cheerleader, encouraging the crowd to make noise.

Fast Facts

• Following their 0-2-1 stretch in November, the Eagles won four of their last five and earned the sixth seed in the NFC playoffs and will play at Minnesota next week. (The Eagles are 2-0 against the Vikings in the postseason.)

• The Cowboys suffered their worst loss in 20 years (a 43-3 loss to the Vikings in 1988) and are now 2-8 in their last 10 trips to the city of Brotherly Love. You can't blame all this on Tony Romo, who fell to 5-8 in December starts. (He's 22-4 in all other months.)

• After an 8-3 start, the Cowboys went 1-3 in the month of December, and they have now lost their last nine season finales.

• The Eagles scored on fumble recoveries of 73 and 96 yards as the Cowboys turned the ball over five times.

-- ESPN research

• Rapid Reaction

Many fans may not want the quarterback or coach back for another season. But they'll be here for at least one more game -- a playoff game.

The Philadelphia Eagles overcame daunting odds to capture an NFC wild-card spot with a dominating 44-6 victory over the Cowboys on Sunday. So much for all that preseason Super Bowl hype in Dallas -- America's Team can start its vacation plans early.

The Eagles (9-6-1) will play at NFC North champion Minnesota (10-6) next weekend.

"A lot of people counted us out and said it was over," McNabb said. "We continued to stay focused on what the plan was. We knew we had to come out and play a tough team that was hungry, just like we were. Today was a total team effort. Things worked out well and we're playing next week."

The Beat Goes On

Love him or hate him, Terrell Owens is one of the all-time best at his position. His 103 yards receiving on Sunday marked the Dallas wideout's eighth 1,000-yard, 10-touchdown season of his career, placing him among some very select company.


Most 1,000+ Rec Yard, 10+ Rec TD Seasons By WR, NFL History
Player Seasons
Jerry Rice 9
Terrell Owens 8
Marvin Harrison 8
Randy Moss 6

Surely, it'll be a drama-filled offseason for the Cowboys, as owner Jerry Jones has to answer more questions about coach Wade Phillips' job and perhaps consider a major overhaul.

"There will not be a new head coach," Jones repeated several times in a somber Cowboys locker room.

In a game that became do-or-die for both teams shortly before kickoff, the Eagles thoroughly outplayed the error-prone Cowboys (9-7) in every facet. McNabb threw two touchdown passes and ran for another, and Brian Dawkins forced two fumbles that were returned for scores.

Written off after a 10-3 loss at Washington last week, Philadelphia avoided elimination when Oakland upset Tampa Bay and Houston beat Chicago in the early games. The Raiders were 13-point underdogs against the Buccaneers, who lost their fourth straight.

"I want to thank the Raiders and Texans," Reid said. "They did a heck of a job."

Of all the teams that remained in contention for a playoff berth entering the final weekend, the Eagles had the lowest odds. Meanwhile, Dallas knew all week it just had to win to get in.

Eagles Dallas Cowboys

NFL.com Video

Watch highlights from the Eagles' 44-6 win over the Dallas Cowboys.

How 'bout them Cowboys!

Tony Romo came up way short in another crucial game, dropping his record to 5-8 in December. T.O. was a non-factor, despite six catches for 103 yards.

"They just handed us an old-fashioned butt whipping," Owens said. "I don't have all the answers, but I'd love to be part of the solution."

Team sources told ESPN's Ed Werder that there was commotion and concern in the Cowboys locker room after the game when Romo collapsed in the shower. Players called for medical staff, who brought in a stretcher, but Romo walked out on his own. Romo then did his news conference but had to be helped from the podium. Sources said Romo suffered a rib injury in the second half, but he refused to answer questions about his health.

Right from the start, the Eagles played with more urgency. While fans cheered Tampa's loss to Oakland, players waited until that game was over before running onto the field for pregame introductions.

McNabb scored on a sneak from inside the 1 to put Philadelphia ahead 10-3 in the second quarter. He kept the drive going with a 59-yard catch-and-run to Correll Buckhalter on third-and-6. Buckhalter, who has missed three full seasons to knee injuries during his eight-year career, outran several tacklers to reach the Cowboys 6.

Then the Eagles scored 17 points in the final 2:03 of the second quarter. McNabb tossed a 4-yard TD pass to Buckhalter to make it 17-3 just before the 2-minute warning. He twice kept the drive going in third-and-long situations, connecting with Kevin Curtis for 15 yards and DeSean Jackson for 34 yards to the Cowboys 3.

Sheldon Brown intercepted Romo's underthrown pass to Roy Williams on Dallas' ensuing possession and returned it 23 yards to the Dallas 42. Then two big penalties -- a personal foul on Adam "Pacman" Jones and pass interference against Terence Newman in the end zone -- set up McNabb's 1-yard TD pass to Brent Celek.

A fired-up McNabb sprinted toward the Eagles sideline and suddenly stopped. He turned around toward the Cowboys bench and flexed, the way T.O. often does.

"It's an exciting time for us right now, but we can't sit and dwell on this for a long time," McNabb said. "We know we have a tough team ahead of us, a tough task."

Jones was stripped by Quintin Demps on the kickoff and Omar Gaither recovered at the Cowboys 31 with 3 seconds left in the half. David Akers made a 50-yard field goal to give the Eagles a 27-3 lead going into halftime.

Dallas pulled out all the tricks on the first possession of the third quarter, including a 42-yard pass from tight end Jason Witten to Owens to the Eagles 14. But Dawkins sacked Romo on the next play, and Chris Clemons picked up the fumble and raced 73 yards for a score that gave Philly a 34-3 lead.

Joselio Hanson returned Marion Barber's fumble 96 yards for a TD on the next series.

"I wake up tomorrow and I keep living," Romo said when asked how he deals with tough defeats.

The Eagles seemed headed for their third last-place finish in four years after they tied lowly Cincinnati and were routed by Baltimore in consecutive weeks last month. McNabb was benched for the first time in his career in that loss to the Ravens and his future in Philadelphia was the hot topic.

But McNabb came back strong and led the Eagles to three straight wins only to fall short against the Redskins -- Reggie Brown was tackled at the 1 on the final play.

Still, the Eagles found a way to make the playoffs after getting all the help they needed around the league.

"Everybody turned their backs on us," Dawkins said. "But we believed in one another."

Game notes


The Eagles scored a franchise-record 416 points this season. ... McNabb broke his own single-season team record for yards passing, finishing with 3,916. ... Akers kicked his 31st field goal in the first half, setting a single-season team record. ... Jackson set a team record with 912 yards receiving. He became the first rookie to lead the Eagles in catches since 1942. ... The Cowboys have lost nine consecutive season finales.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
DAL
PHI
1st Downs1516
Passing 1st downs
79
Rushing 1st downs
85
1st downs from penalties
02
3rd down efficiency
5-147-14
4th down efficiency
1-10-0
Total Plays6458
Total Yards298303
Yards per play4.75.2
Total Drives1213
Passing211166
Comp-Att
23-4112-21
Yards per pass
4.77.5
Interceptions thrown
10
Sacks-Yards Lost
4-221-9
Rushing87137
Rushing Attempts
1936
Yards per rush
4.63.8
Red Zone (Made-Att)0-43-3
Penalties4-410-0
Turnovers51
Fumbles lost
41
Interceptions thrown
10
Defensive / Special Teams TDs02
Possession29:0530:55

Passing Leaders

DALC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Romo21/391834.7013-15
Witten1/14242.0000-0
PHIC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
McNabb12/211758.3201-9

Rushing Leaders

DALCARYDSAVGTDLG
Choice13564.3018
Barber3134.306
PHICARYDSAVGTDLG
Buckhalter10636.3033
Westbrook13503.8016

Receiving Leaders

DALRECYDSAVGTDLG
Owens610317.2042
Witten7507.1017
PHIRECYDSAVGTDLG
Buckhalter35919.7159
Jackson24623.0034

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERDALPHI
phiFG8:54David Akers 40 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 7 plays, 32 yds, 3:01
03
dalFG0:41Nick Folk 37 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 15 plays, 61 yds, 8:15
33
SECOND QUARTERDALPHI
phiTD12:28Donovan Mcnabb 1 Yard Run (David Akers Kick is Good)
Drive info: 6 plays, 68 yds, 3:19
310
phiTD2:09Correll Buckhalter 4 Yard Pass From Donovan Mcnabb (David Akers Kick is Good)
Drive info: 11 plays, 71 yds, 5:19
317
phiTD0:15Brent Celek 1 Yard Pass From Donovan Mcnabb (David Akers Kick is Good)
Drive info: 6 plays, 42 yds, 0:51
324
phiFG0:03David Akers 50 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 1 plays, 0 yds, 0:00
327
THIRD QUARTERDALPHI
phiTD11:37Chris Clemons 73 Yard Fumble Return (David Akers Kick is Good)
Drive info: 9 plays, 54 yds, 3:37
334
phiTD8:28Joselio Hanson 96 Yard Fumble Return (David Akers Kick is Good)
Drive info: 8 plays, 85 yds, 3:12
341
phiFG6:10David Akers 41 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 4 plays, 9 yds, 1:51
344
FOURTH QUARTERDALPHI
dalFG7:49Nick Folk 42 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 10 plays, 49 yds, 4:29
644