Eagles hold on late to beat Cowboys, advance to postseason
The Eagles will ring in the Chip Kelly era with a trip to the postseason.
After playing a tremendous game in place of the injured Tony Romo, veteran Kyle Orton threw an interception with 1:44 to play to give the Eagles a 24-22 victory.
The win clinched the NFC East and means the Eagles (10-6) will go to the playoffs for the first time since 2010.
“It’s an exciting game to win,” said Nick Foles, who was 8-2 as starter and finished 17-of-26 for 263 yards and two touchdowns. “I had a blast out there.”
They host New Orleans (11-5) at Lincoln Financial Field Saturday, Jan. 4 at 8 p.m. on NBC.
Philadelphia caught a break when the referees screwed up a delay of game penalty with under five minutes to play in the game. But the Cowboys converted on fourth-and-9 regardless, as Dez Bryant went in for a 32-yard touchdown with 3:50 remaining. The score made it 24-22 in favor of the Eagles, with Orton coming up short on a pass to Bryant for the two-point conversion.
Dallas forced a three-and-out and got the ball back, only to see Orton throw the fateful interception to Brandon Boykin, who stepped in front of a pass intended for Miles Austin. It was Boykin’s team-leading sixth pick of the season.
The game started out with the Eagles forcing a fumble by DeMarco Murray on Dallas’ opening drive and converting a field goal to go up 3-0. They made it 10-0 just 42 seconds into the second quarter when LeSean McCoy caught a pass from out of the backfield for a 3-yard score. The touchdown capped off an impressive 10-play, 88-yard drive.
But the good feelings were short lived. The Cowboys put together a 66-yard drive less than six minutes later to pull within 10-7 on a 17-yard touchdown catch by Gavin Escobar.
Just when things were going Dallas’ way though, Orton was intercepted by Mychal Kendricks and the Eagles went up 17-7 two plays later on successive passes to Brent Celek.
The second half turned into a slugfest, but the Eagles marched on a key 11-play, 60-yard drive — led by McCoy — to go up 24-16 with 6:16 to play. Bryce Brown took the ball in from six yards out, but McCoy had six carries for 24 yards on the drive.
McCoy finished the game with 27 carries for 131 yards. He won the NFL rushing title (1,509 yards) and also set the franchise records for most rushing yards and total yards from scrimmage in a season.
Foles and Saints quarterback Drew Brees are both from Westlake, Texas.
“They were able to make the plays and we weren’t,” Dallas head coach Jason Garrett said. “And that’s why they won the ballgame.”