After a 24-0 loss last week to the Cowboys which cost them a home playoff game and forced another trip to Dallas this week, the Eagles promised Saturday’s playoff game would be different. They were right – it was a whole lot worse. The Eagles were pounded by the Cowboys defense and a second quarter when Dallas set a franchise playoff record with 27 points in losing 34-14.
For the Eagles, it’s another painful way to end a season in which many NFL experts had them going to, and some even saying they would finally get over the hump and win the Super Bowl. For Dallas, they finally do get over the hump, as it’s their first playoff win since 1996, and the first for Tony Romo, who at least for one night gets the monkey off his back.
The Cowboys will move on to the divisional round next week, where they will meet Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings. The two teams did not meet in the regular season. The matchup with the Vikings will be at 1pm next Sunday on FOX as the Cowboys and their second ranked offense will try their best to find victory in the Metrodome.
As for Saturday, the game started rather slowly, as the teams traded body blows in a scoreless first quarter. Then things opened up quickly in the second quarter, as the Cowboys scored first on a Romo 1-yard pass to John Phillips to make it 7-0. The Eagles showed their big play ability as Mike Vick came back less than a minute later and threw a perfect strike to Jeremy Maclin where he broke free for a 76-yard score to tie the game at 7.
Dallas dominated from there. Tashard Choice scored on a 1-yard run to give Dallas a 14-7 lead at the 9:14 mark of the second quarter. Then Shaun Suisham kicked a 25-yard field goal to give Dallas a 17-7 lead about six minutes later. They went for the kill and got it right before half as Bobby Carpenter recovered a Mike Vick fumble to set them up at the Philly 18. Three plays later Romo threw to Miles Austin for a 6-yard score to put Dallas up 24-7 at the half.
The Cowboys defense didn’t let up on Donovan McNabb in the second half, pressuring him all night with their D-line making sure that Philly was not able to hit many of their big play strikes that made them dangerous in the regular season. McNabb was hled to 19-for-37 passing for 230 yards with a TD and a pick. He was also sacked four times, and pressured and hurried a whole lot more.
Philadelphia had the ball for just 20:26, and they ran the ball for just 56 yards on the night. Dallas put up 426 yards of offense against the Eagles D, and were able to rush for 198 yards on 35 carries, setting the tempo all night as they wore out the Eagles by the third quarter.
Felix Jones had a 73-yard TD run in the third quarter, and McNabb hit DeSean Jackson for a 4-yard score early in the fourth quarter to end the scoring at 34-14.
Dallas will now start to prepare for what should be a great showdown with Minnesota, while the Eagles once again enter an offseason of ‘what ifs’.