Final

Eagles 14

(11-5, 5-3 away)

Cowboys 34

(11-5, 6-2 home)

Coverage: NBC

8:00 PM ET, January 9, 2010

AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX 

1 2 3 4 T
PHI 0 7 0 714
DAL 0 27 7 034

Top Performers

Passing: T. Romo (DAL) - 244 YDS, 2 TD

Rushing: F. Jones (DAL) - 16 CAR, 148 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: J. Maclin (PHI) - 7 REC, 146 YDS, 1 TD

Five straight scoring drives in second quarter propel Cowboys past Eagles 

Associated Press

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Jerry Jones exclaimed, "demons are GONE!" Keith Brooking pretended to pull a monkey off the back of coach Wade Phillips.

More from ESPN.com

With their playoff failures behind them, a confident Tony Romo and a ferocious D, the Cowboys have to be considered the Super Bowl front-runners in the NFC, Matt Mosley writes. Blog


The bumps the Cowboys have experienced during their 13-year playoff drought left them with the wherewithal necessary to finally break through against Philly, Calvin Watkins writes. Story


The Cowboys' defense swatted away brash Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson, Tim MacMahon writes. Story

And Tony Romo waxed poetic about the process, about getting better every game and hoping for a reward at the end.

In a way, each of their reactions was pretty appropriate considering all the ramifications of the Dallas Cowboys' 34-14 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Saturday night.

The Cowboys won their first playoff game since Dec. 28, 1996, ending a 4,760-day drought, easily the longest in the club's proud history. The skid included six losses; a seventh would've set an NFL futility record.

Phillips was 0-4 in the playoffs as a head coach, covering stints with Denver and Buffalo, too. Romo was 0-2, with bizarre circumstances surrounding each. Fittingly enough, Phillips' defense was a huge reason for this victory, and Romo broke the game open with five straight scoring drives in the second quarter.

"It's just ... rewarding," Romo said. "It makes me proud of the guys in there -- fighting, grinding, staying committed to the approach. I'm happy for the guys, happy for Wade, happy for Jerry."

The Cowboys have dominated their last four games, scoring early and never trailing in any of them. The defense has been the backbone, with the offense coming through with plenty of points and few turnovers. It's the way Dallas used to play this time of year back in the days of Roger Staubach and Tom Landry, and Troy Aikman and Jimmy Johnson.

Fast Facts

• The Cowboys beat the Eagles for the third time this season and will face the Vikings in the divisional round. The Cowboys are 2-0 all-time when facing the Vikings on the road in the divisional round.

• It was the Cowboys first playoff win since 1996, when they beat the Vikings in the wild card round, only to go on to lose to the Panthers in the divisional round.

• Felix Jones rushed 16 times for 148 yards, the third-highest rushing total in Cowboys playoff history behind performances by Tony Dorsett and Emmitt Smith.

• Tony Romo got his first playoff win after losing his first two appearances, going 23 for 35 for 244 yards and two touchdowns.

• Wade Phillips got his first career postseason win in his fifth game. He had lost games previously with the Broncos, Bills and Cowboys.

• Blog thread

-- ESPN Stats & Information

Now, it's finally happening again under Romo and Phillips. Next up for them is a trip to Minnesota on Sunday, with Romo taking on childhood hero Brett Favre.

"This team has hung together all year, got stronger at the end of the year and is playing our best football," Phillips said. "I think we're playing as good as anybody right now."

The Eagles are one-and-done in the playoffs for the first time under coach Andy Reid. Philadelphia had been 7-0 in playoff openers with Reid and 6-0 with Donovan McNabb at quarterback.

But they finished 0-3 against Dallas this season. The Eagles lost 24-0 last weekend and couldn't change much. They got Michael Vick back from an injury and used him in place of McNabb for a few plays. He threw a 76-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Maclin on his first snap, tying it at 7 early in the second quarter, but also messed up a handoff deep in his own territory, setting the Cowboys up for the touchdown that made it 24-7.

Dallas stretched the lead to 27-7 at halftime. A 73-yard touchdown run by Felix Jones made it 34-7 going into the fourth quarter.

"They were better all the way around," Reid said. "When you get your tail kicked, it's not a great feeling. No one expected it."

The Cowboys limited the Eagles to 18 snaps in the decisive first half. Philadelphia gained only 140 yards in that span -- or, 64 on all plays other than Vick's TD.

McNabb wound up 19 of 37 for 230 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. DeSean Jackson, who tweeted "we gonna sting [them]" this week, was kept without any huge gains for the third time by Dallas, although he had a 4-yard touchdown catch early in the fourth quarter.

Dallas' DeMarcus Ware had two sacks, Bobby Carpenter had two fumble recoveries and Mike Jenkins recovered from allowing the 76-yard TD by breaking up a long pass and intercepting one. This performance by the defense virtually assures that Jerry Jones will pick up the team option on Phillips next season, since he's the defensive coordinator as well as the head coach.

"We have something to really build off of," Brooking said. "With the talent we have [and] we have those types of intangibles and I don't think there are a lot of teams in this league that can beat us right now."

Romo finished 23 of 35 for 244 yards with two touchdowns and no turnovers. He got deep into Philadelphia territory on nine of his first 10 drives, hitting eight receivers. His touchdowns went to rookie John Phillips and Miles Austin, and he even worked beleaguered Roy Williams back into the mix, hitting him five times for 59 yards.

Home Sweet Home

The Yankees opened a new stadium and promptly won their first World Series since 2000. The Cowboys are hoping their new digs grant them similar luck. Here's a comparison of the two teams this season:

Yankees Cowboys
Stadium Yankee Stadium Cowboys Stadium
Cost $1.5B $1.3B
Season win pct. .636 .688
Div. finish 1st 1st
Playoffs Won Series ?

Jones became the featured back with Marion Barber limited to three carries because of a left knee injury that kept him out of practice Thursday. He wound up with a career-best 148 yards on 16 carries, and also turned one short catch into a dazzling 30-yard gain on the opening drive.

Tashard Choice ran 14 times for 42 yards and a touchdown, but was shaken up in the fourth quarter. He was coming off a mild concussion the previous game.

Dallas' previous playoff win was so long ago that two players from that team are already in the Hall of Fame and two more are finalists for next month's vote. A series of coaches and quarterbacks couldn't end the skid.

When this club opened December with a pair of losses, fans braced for another fizzle. Then the team won at undefeated New Orleans and followed that with back-to-back shutouts for the first time in franchise history. There was a vibe about this group being different -- more like those guided by Staubach and Aikman.

The winning-tradition angle was stoked Saturday night by clips on the massive videoboards featuring interviews with Staubach, Tony Dorsett, Randy White and Mike Ditka. There were more crowd-pleasing shots of Emmitt Smith, Mel Renfro, Lee Roy Jordan and Charles Haley in the stadium.

Another possible good-luck charm: Dallas won its first Super Bowl in its first season at Texas Stadium and now seems to have something good going during its first season at $1.2 billion Cowboys Stadium. If nothing else, this game drew 92,951, the most in NFL history for a playoff game other than the Super Bowl.

Game notes


Vick's TD pass was the longest of his career, the longest for the Eagles this season and the longest ever against the Cowboys in the postseason. ... Romo becomes only the seventh quarterback in team history to win a playoff game, joining Staubach, Aikman, Don Meredith, Craig Morton, Danny White and Steve Beuerlein. ... Dallas K Shaun Suisham made field goals of 25 and 48 yards. He missed a 30-yarder last Sunday and was 0 for 1 in his career in the playoffs.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
PHI
DAL
1st Downs1727
Passing 1st downs
1313
Rushing 1st downs
010
1st downs from penalties
44
3rd down efficiency
2-119-16
4th down efficiency
0-20-0
Total Plays5672
Total Yards340426
Yards per play6.15.9
Total Drives1214
Passing284228
Comp-Att
20-3923-35
Yards per pass
6.66.2
Interceptions thrown
10
Sacks-Yards Lost
4-222-16
Rushing56198
Rushing Attempts
1335
Yards per rush
4.35.7
Red Zone (Made-Att)1-13-6
Penalties9-11614-112
Turnovers41
Fumbles lost
31
Interceptions thrown
10
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00
Possession20:2639:34

Passing Leaders

PHIC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
McNabb19/372306.2114-22
Vick1/27638.0100-0
DALC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Romo23/352447.0202-16

Rushing Leaders

PHICARYDSAVGTDLG
McCoy5244.8014
Weaver5193.807
DALCARYDSAVGTDLG
Jones161489.3173
Choice14423.019

Receiving Leaders

PHIRECYDSAVGTDLG
Maclin714620.9176
Celek35919.7026
DALRECYDSAVGTDLG
Austin78211.7136
Williams55911.8017

Scoring Summary

SECOND QUARTERPHIDAL
dalTD14:15John Phillips 1 Yard Pass From Tony Romo (Shaun Suisham Kick is Good)
Drive info: 4 plays, 55 yds, 2:16
07
phiTD13:30Jeremy Maclin 76 Yard Pass From Michael Vick (David Akers Kick is Good)
Drive info: 2 plays, 83 yds, 0:50
77
dalTD9:17Tashard Choice 1 Yard Run (Shaun Suisham Kick is Good)
Drive info: 10 plays, 85 yds, 4:05
714
dalFG3:44Shaun Suisham 25 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 8 plays, 51 yds, 3:56
717
dalTD2:00Miles Austin 6 Yard Pass From Tony Romo (Shaun Suisham Kick is Good)
Drive info: 3 plays, 18 yds, 1:28
724
dalFG0:07Shaun Suisham 48 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 7 plays, 28 yds, 0:49
727
THIRD QUARTERPHIDAL
dalTD5:44Felix Jones 73 Yard Run (Shaun Suisham Kick is Good)
Drive info: 4 plays, 89 yds, 2:22
734
FOURTH QUARTERPHIDAL
phiTD13:34Desean Jackson 4 Yard Pass From Donovan Mcnabb (David Akers Kick is Good)
Drive info: 9 plays, 89 yds, 3:23
1434