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

champion.

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

first down.

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

the game.

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 touchdown.

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

within 10-7.

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

a touchdown.

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

carries.

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

week.