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(Sunday, November 8th)
Final Score: Dallas 20, Philadelphia 16
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Miles Austin made only one catch, but it was a game-winning 49-yard touchdown on 3rd-and-14 midway through the fourth quarter, as the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Philadelphia Eagles, 20-16, in a crucial NFC East battle.
Tony Romo completed 21-of-34 passes for 307 yards with a touchdown and an interception for the Cowboys (6-2), who have won their last four games to climb into sole possession of first place in the division.
"In a hostile place like this, it's not going to be easy," Romo said "You know you're in for a long day, but if you can keep the mental discipline to keep grinding it out, you can do some good things as the game moves on."
Dallas, playing in Philadelphia for the first time since getting crushed, 44-6, in a de facto elimination game in Week 17 of 2008, got 75 yards receiving on five catches from Roy Williams. Patrick Crayton added two catches for 74 yards, while Jason Witten had seven receptions for 43 yards.
Marion Barber ran for 50 yards on 12 carries, and Tashard Choice had a rushing touchdown in the win, only Dallas' third in its last 11 trips to Philadelphia.
Donovan McNabb was inaccurate throughout the game, completing only 16-of-30 passes for 227 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions for the Eagles (5-3), who had won two straight division games since a surprise loss at Oakland.
"There were too many miscues by our offense, and we weren't able to help out our defense, which did a great job all game," McNabb said.
LeSean McCoy, starting in place of the injured Brian Westbrook, garnered 54 rushing yards on 13 carries and 61 yards on five receptions. Brent Celek made three catches for 39 yards and a touchdown in defeat.
Trailing, 10-6, at halftime, the Eagles seemed to go in front on Ellis Hobbs' 96-yard kickoff return, but it was nullified by a holding penalty.
Philadelphia's offense, though, unfazed, promptly went 77 yards in six plays to score a touchdown the more conventional way. The key play of the series was a short screen pass to McCoy, who followed several blocks 45 yards down to the Cowboys' 15. Two plays later, McNabb scrambled away from pressure and floated an 11-yard touchdown pass to Celek for a 13-10 lead.
Dallas drove down the field on its next drive, but Romo threw an interception -- his first pick in 144 passes -- to thwart any chances of a Cowboys score.
An interception by Dallas' Mike Jenkins later in the quarter led to a 33-yard field goal by Nick Folk on the second play of the fourth quarter to tie the game, 13-13.
On the ensuing Philadelphia drive, the Cowboys stopped the Eagles on a challenged 4th-and-1 play on their own 45, and then they went back in front.
"I felt like my body was past the marker," McNabb said of the fourth down play. "When you question your (play) call you replay it. We thought we had the first down, but unfortunately I guess we didn't."
Facing a 2nd-and-24 from the Dallas 41, Romo hit Crayton for a 10-yard play to make the third down more manageable. The next play saw Austin make a double move to break away from the defense, and Romo hit him in stride down the left sideline. Austin did the rest, racing to the end zone for a 49-yard touchdown and a 20-13 Cowboys lead with just over eight minutes remaining.
"I tried to give (Austin) a little pump on the play, and I thought they'd been jumping it," Romo said. "I tried to sell the fake for awhile, and they bit, and I gave him the ball, and he just did the rest."
The Eagles, with no timeouts remaining, then drove down the Cowboys' 33, where their series stalled. Facing a 4th-and-11 with 4 1/2 minutes left, the team opted to try a 52-yard field goal attempt, and David Akers nailed it to close the gap to 20-16.
Philadelphia could get no closer, as Dallas was able to run out the remainder of the clock. A five-yard pass to Witten on 3rd-and-3 from the Cowboys' 46 sealed the game, as it led to three straight kneeldowns.
On the Eagles' first possession, they faced a 3rd-and-5 on their own 26-yard line. McNabb's pass was tipped by the intended receiver Jeremy Maclin, and the ball popped into the hands of Gerald Sensabaugh at the Philadelphia 37.
With the Cowboys in prime field position, they drove the length of the field in seven plays. A holding penalty initially pushed Dallas back 10 yards, but Romo hit Witten on a nine-yard play on 3rd-and-6, and a short pass to Kevin Ogletree on 3rd-and-9 from the 23 ended up going for 21 yards and a first down.
On the next play, Choice ran up the middle for the touchdown and a 7-0 lead.
Philadelphia got on the scoreboard early in the second, as Akers capped a 10- play, 55-yard drive with a 45-yard field goal with 11 1/2 minutes until halftime.
The Eagles forced a punt on the next Cowboys possession, and Akers finished another long series with a 48-yard field goal for a one-point margin in favor of the Cowboys.
Dallas got the ball back with 1 1/2 minutes left, and a 64-yard pass play to Crayton put the Cowboys in the red zone. With 1st-and-goal from the four, Romo threw three straight incompletions, and Folk kicked a 22-yard field goal to make it 10-6 at halftime.
Philadelphia is 2-1 in the division, while Dallas is 1-1...The Eagles are 0-7 on Sunday night games since the broadcast moved to NBC...These two teams meet in Dallas the final week of the season...The Cowboys have a 54-43 all-time record against the Eagles...Philadelphia offensive tackle Jason Peters, cornerback Asante Samuel and Cowboys center Andre Gurode all suffered injuries but returned to the game.
11/09 00:26:29 ET