In a game where the Philadelphia Eagles rested most of their starters in an effort to stay healthy for next week’s wildcard playoff game, the Cowboys starters, including second-year man Stephen McGee, gave fans a small bit of revenge against their division rivals. Philadelphia won their first meeting 3 weeks ago in Dallas 30-27, but this game was not near the excitement of the previous matchup. With Dallas’ “big guns” playing, the Cowboys looked uninspired and out of sync all game long, but in the fourth quarter were able to come together for a McGee to Witten 4-yard touchdown pass to lift themselves past the Eagles.
It was the Eagles that struck first. Kolb found Chad Hall, a rookie out of Air Force, for a 4-yard TD pass after he avoided, what seemed like the entire Cowboys defensive front. Hall was standing all by himself for the score which was his first career touchdown. Hall had an impressive day hauling in 6 catches for 84 yards and an impressive 48-yard bomb against Terrance Newman. Kolb finished the game 18-36 for 162 yards and 3 picks but need nothing to ease Eagles fans that they have a quarterback of the future on the roster.
Kolb did get the better of Cowboys defensive secondary the few time he was on target. Dallas’ back end was burned repeatedly by backup Eagles’ receivers. But in the end, Terrance Newman got his second interception of the day which sealed the deal for Dallas.
The Cowboys were not any better. RB Felix Jones had the only impressive offensive showing as he went 11 carries for 81 yards. McGee did well with his legs but his passes were often off target and predictable. He had a couple of big strikes, one to Miles Austin, but looked over his head and uncomfortable for most of the game.
While the Cowboys were on the receiving end of 4 Eagle turnovers, McGee and the offense were unable to do anything with them. Fortunately for the Cowboys, DeMarcus Ware took matters into his own hands with 3 sacks on the day and returned Anthony Spencer’s sack/strip of Kolb in for a touchdown. Ware capped off another stellar season getting his 15.5 sack on the year late in the fourth quarter.
But it was McGee who drove the Cowboys down to the 4-yardline before finding Witten for the go ahead score with just under a minute left. The last drive was easily his best showing of the day. He made a number of nice plays to guide the Cowboys down the field and into position to go ahead. While he wasn’t great, he did look alright when it really mattered.
The game was not the dramatic thriller we have come to expect from these teams the last few years. Other than a couple of plays here and there, the game was slow and drawn out. It was built up as Garrett’s last chance to make an impression on owner Jerry Jones, who will begin his interview process to find the Cowboys next head coach this week. Early reports had Garrett already getting the job, but Jones was quick to disprove those reports. This game will not make Jones decision any easier. While the Cowboys got the win, Dallas was going against the Eagles backups all day and were just good enough to get the win.
For the Cowboys and their fans they end the season on a positive note. For the Eagles, they will host the Green Bay Packers next week in the Wildcard Round of the NFC Playoffs.