Eagles beat Cowboys; out of playoff party

Prior to Saturday night’s game, Eagles back LeSean McCoy said that he wanted a
win in Dallas for a Christmas present. McCoy got that wish but he won’t
be playing any more meaningful football games this season.

In fact, Saturday night’s impressive 20-7 victory over the Dallas Cowboys wasn’t even meaningful.

As Mike Vick capped an eight-play, 80-yard drive with a 13-yard touchdown strike to Brent Celek, their playoff fate had already been sealed. Yes, the Eagles led the Cowboys 7-0 but the Giants were putting the finishing touches on a 29-14 win over the Jets at exactly the same time. Following that Giants victory, the Eagles were finally mathematically eliminated from postseason contention.

For the third straight week, the Eagles actually looked like the Dream Team that Vince Young proclaimed them to be. The defense pitched a shutout for three-plus quarter, while pressuring Cowboys backup quarterback Stephen McGee. While the Eagles only sacked McGee three times, he was under pressure all afternoon. McGee was forced into action after Jason Babin and Trent Cole knocked starter Tony Romo out on the Cowboys’ first offensive possession. Romo slapped his hand on Babin’s helmet and never returned.

Offensively, the Eagles had their way with an overmatched Dallas defense. DeSean Jackson turned in his finest performance in weeks, hauling in five catches for 90 yards, as the Eagles’ offense racked up 387 yards of total offense. Vick wasn’t perfect, but pretty efficient behind an offensive line that has finally found its groove. Vick finished 18-of-32 for 293 yards and two touchdowns (107.9 QB rating). Rookie kicker Alex Henery connected on a 51-yard field goal, which a career-high an his 14th straight make.

THREE THINGS WE SAW:

HEART MATTERS. Even with nothing to play for, the Eagles never gave up. Coach Andy Reid played the majority of his starters for all four quarters and kept his foot on the gas. LeSean McCoy injured his ankle — X-rays were negative — late in the third quarter and returned in the fourth quarter and DeSean Jackson was very active in a meaningless game. He caught five balls for 90 yards and went over the middle multiple times.

BUYING CASTILLO. That’s the biggest question, right? Will the Eagles retain defensive coordinator Juan Castillo. The Eagles’ defense was pitching a shutout until Miles Austin scored a meaningless TD with 12 ticks left. The D sacked Stephen McGee three times, hit the QB 11 times and knocked Tony Romo out of the game.

LINE DANCING. Kudos to Howard Mudd and the Eagles’ offensive line. Center Jason Kelce has developed into one of the best young players at his position, from calling out signals to run-blocking, Kelce has arrived. And Jason Peters proves week in and week out that he’s one of the best— if not the best — left tackle in football. Dallas sacked Mike Vick twice Saturday, but his jersey was clean for most of the day.


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