The Eagles took the field Saturday as the Giants began to pull away from the Jets making the Birds showdown with the Cowboys in Big D virtually meaningless, but that didn’t stop Michael Vick from leading the Birds to an early scoring drive as the Eagles never looked back.
The at-times shaky Eagles defense knocked QB Tony Romo out on Dallas’ opening drive with a hand injury and then shut down the Stephen McGee-led Cowboys the rest of the way -- allowing a touchdown with just seconds remaining as the Eagles won 20-7 on Christmas Eve.
The Eagles out-gained the Boys 386 yards to just 238.
Vick was 18-of-32 passing for 293 yards, two TDs and no interceptions -- good for a 107.9 passer rating. His top target was Jeremy Maclin, who overcame a rib injury suffered on a late hit, to haul in five balls for 72 yards and a score. Fellow wideout DeSean Jackson also caught five balls for 90 yards. TE Brent Celek added a 13-yard TD catch.
Alex Henery was perfect hitting two second-half field goals (43, 51) to cap the Eagles scoring.
The Birds defense took care of the rest, shutting down the Cowboys offense, which entered the game as the sixth-ranked offense in the NFL. Nnamdi Asomugha led the way with eight tackles as the Eagles D-line recorded three sacks.
Despite nearly throwing a shutout and 11 QB hits to go with the three sacks, the Eagles still managed to lose the turnover battle 1-0 thanks to Jason Avant fumbling the ball into the end zone while making a valiant effort to reach the pylon on a second-quarter reception.
The Birds D held McGee to 24-of-38 passing for 182 yards and a TD (a 83.4 passer rating) after Romo went 0-for-2 on the first drive. Romo hurt his right throwing hand after hitting it into Eagles DE Jason Babin's helmet on a third-down throw. X-rays were negative but Romo spent the rest of the night on the sideline with the hand bandaged.
It was unclear if Romo could have continued to play or not. It's possible he was held out once the Boys realized the result of the game would have no effect on their playoff chances.
The win improved the Eagles to 7-8 while dropping the Cowboys to 8-7. Despite being only a game back of the Boys and Giants (8-7), the G-Men and Boys meet next week, meaning at least one team must improve to nine wins (barring a tie) while the Eagles can only get to 8-8 at best by beating the Redskins in the season finale.
LeSean McCoy lost a chance to keep up with Maurice Jones-Drew for the NFL rushing title managing just 35 yards on 13 attempts. McCoy even left the game at one point to have his ankle checked out but he did return.
As for where Saturday's game left the Eagles, Vick tried to sum it up.
"If we had gotten into the playoffs we would have definitely done some damage," Vick said. "It's unfortunate we didn't. That's the game of football. We made some mistakes early (this season) and got behind in the win-loss column. But we're just happy we're finishing strong."