Cowboys rally in second half to top reeling Eagles
Philadelphia, PA – The Dallas Cowboys scored touchdowns in all three phases of the game in the second half, as they came from behind to upend the reeling Philadelphia Eagles, 38-23, at Lincoln Financial Field.
With the New York Giants losing earlier Sunday, Dallas pulled within one game in the loss column of the division leaders despite being under .500.
"Critical win for us," Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said. "I thought we were focused the whole game. When you have success, you have to play through it, you have adversity, you have to play through it, and today was a good example of that."
The Cowboys (4-5), coming off two straight losses, took advantage of the opportunity with a memorable 2:35 stretch, starting with Dez Bryant's highlight-reel catch in the end zone on the last play of the third quarter.
Dwayne Harris then returned a punt 78 yards for a go-ahead score 1:25 into the fourth, and Brandon Carr picked off a Nick Foles pass and took it 47 yards for a TD a little later.
Foles made his NFL debut after Michael Vick left in the second quarter with a concussion. The rookie threw a touchdown pass to Jeremy Maclin and completed 22-of-32 passes for 219 yards, but also lost a fumble that was recovered by Dallas in the end zone.
"I was hoping he'd make it through without having a concussion, but that's where we sit right now with him," Eagles head coach Andy Reid said of Vick.
Tony Romo was an efficient 19-of-26 through the air for 209 yards and two scores, while Felix Jones amassed 93 yards from scrimmage and caught a touchdown pass in the victory.
The Eagles (3-6) have lost five straight games for the first time in Andy Reid's 14-year tenure as head coach.
Foles' first career touchdown pass gave the Eagles a 14-10 lead three minutes into the second half. The third-round pick out of Arizona got plenty of time in the pocket, rolled to his right and found a wide-open Maclin in the end zone for a 44-yard score.
Alex Henery's 40-yard field goal made it 17-10 later in the third quarter before Romo converted a critical third down to spark Dallas' offense. On 3rd and-5 from the Dallas 39-yard line, the mobile quarterback twice escaped a sure sack and completed a 25-yard pass to Miles Austin.
Three plays later from the 30, Romo went downfield to Bryant, who made a diving catch in the end zone with cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie draped on his back.
A penalty negated a Foles interception on the first snap of the fourth quarter, but the Eagles failed to move the chains and punted away. Harris fielded Mat McBriar's punt at the Dallas 22-yard line near the left hash and sprinted untouched down the sideline.
The return came with 13:35 remaining and Dallas scored again 70 seconds later when Foles' errant pass bounced off DeSean Jackson's hands, then hit the knee of linebacker Ernie Sims. Carr caught the carom in a crouch and went 47 yards the other way for a 31-17 lead.
A 1-yard touchdown run by Stanley Havili made it a one-possession game under the two-minute warning, though Henery missed the extra point and Jason Witten easily caught the onsides kick.
The Eagles forced a three-and-out and took over at their own 11 with 53 seconds left, and on the first play Foles was sandwiched by DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer near the goal line. The ball popped loose and Jason Hatcher fell on it in the end zone to secure the win.
A pair of penalties on third down kept the Eagles' first possession alive, and on 3rd-and-goal from the two, Vick threw a jump ball to Riley Cooper in the end zone. The 6-foot-3 receiver got inside position and made a leaping one- handed catch while keeping both feet in bounds along the left sideline. It was the first time the Eagles scored on their opening drive all season.
The Cowboys responded with a balanced 13-play, 80-yard drive that took up nearly eight minutes and ended with Jones catching a screen pass to the left and breaking several tackles en route to an 11-yard touchdown with 2:13 remaining the first quarter.
Vick was hit hard on consecutive plays early in the second and went to undergo concussion tests before the next Eagles possession. Foles' first official pass hit wide receiver Jason Avant in the helmet and fell incomplete on third down.
A Romo-to-Bryant hookup of 49 yards on the first play of the ensuing drive set up Dan Bailey's 30-yard field goal late in the half.
The Eagles' last five-game losing streak came at the start of the 1998 season ... Vick finished with 70 yards on 6-of-9 attempts ... LeSean McCoy gained 82 yards on 16 carries and another 20 yards on four catches for the Eagles, who had 23 first downs to Dallas' 14 but went 1-for-10 on third-down conversions ... Avant exited with a hamstring injury in the second quarter and did not return ... Maclin and Witten each had eight receptions ... The Cowboys won despite committing 13 penalties ... Romo improved to 20-3 as a starter in November.