NFC East title: Eagles lead Dallas 17-16 after 3
NFL rushing leader LeSean McCoy had a 3-yard touchdown catch and
the Philadelphia Eagles held a 17-16 lead over Dallas after three
quarters Sunday night in the game to determine the NFC East
The winner gets the NFL’s final playoff spot, the No. 3 seed in
the NFC, and will host New Orleans next Saturday night. The loser
is done for the season.
Dan Bailey’s field goals of 43 and 36 yards for Dallas
accounting for the only points in the third quarter. The second
kick set up after Nick Foles was sacked and fumbled. DeMarcus Ware
recovered at the Eagles 20, but the Cowboys were held without a
Philly quarterback Nick Foles was stopped short on a
fourth-and-goal keeper from inside the 1 with 31 seconds left in
the third quarter.
McCoy, whose TD catch from Foles came early in the second
quarter for a 10-0 lead, also had 16 carries for 90 yards. That put
him at 1,566 yards, and a half from officially becoming the first
Philadelphia running back since Hall of Famer Steve Van Buren in
1949 to lead the NFL in rushing.
Philadelphia, trying to win its first NFC East title since 2010,
went ahead on Alex Henery’s 47-yard field goal, which came seven
plays after DeMarco Murray fumbled on the Cowboys’ opening drive of
This is the third season in a row the Cowboys have been in a
playoffs-of-bust finale against an NFC East rival. They lost the
last two on the road, at Washington and the New York Giants, and
five years ago lost 44-6 at Philadelphia in the same situation.
Dallas was without quarterback Tony Romo and linebacker Sean
Lee, its defensive leader.
Romo, a week after a fourth-down touchdown pass to win at
Washington, had back surgery Friday and wasn’t even at the stadium.
Lee missed his third straight game with a sprained neck.
Kyle Orton, starting in Romo’s place, was 23-of-33 passing for
234 yards through three quarters with a touchdown and an
interception just before halftime.
Mychael Kendricks had the pick near midfield on the first play
after the 2-minute warning. The Eagles scored on two passes from
Foles to tight-end Brent Celek, for 35 yards and then 14 yards for
The Cowboys came back to get a 44-yard field goal from Bailey
with 18 seconds left.
Orton threw a 17-yard TD midway through the second quarter to
rookie tight end Gavin Escobar, who went airborne at the 3 over
safety Nate Allen to dive into the end zone and get the Cowboys
Foles completed 15 of 24 passes for 238 yards with the two
scores through three quarters.
At home in October against the Cowboys, Foles was 11 of 29 for
80 yards before getting knocked out of the 17-3 loss with a
concussion at the end of the third quarter. That was only his
second start after replacing injured Michael Vick, and the only
game this season Chip Kelly’s high-flying offense was held without
Jamaal Charles, one of the Kansas City starters who didn’t play
in the Chiefs’ regular season finale Sunday, was the closest to
McCoy with 1,287 yards.
Murray had 1,122 yards after running for 49 yards on 16
Orton, who had thrown only 15 passes over three games in two
seasons as Romo’s backup, had last started a game almost exactly
two years earlier.
The 31-year-old Orton entered with a 35-34 record in 69 starts
in nine NFL seasons. His last was in Week 17 of 2011 for Kansas
City in a 7-3 victory over the Denver Broncos. He had started that
season with Denver, but was released after losing the starting job
to Tim Tebow, who led the Broncos to the playoffs.
The last time Dallas made the playoffs was 2009, their first
year in their $1.2 billion stadium. That meant playing the Eagles
at home in consecutive weeks, winning the regular-season finale
24-0 and then winning in the NFC wild-card game 34-14 the next