Sunday night wrap-up: Eagles run their way to playoffs


Football doesn’t have to be that hard.

The Eagles came into the final game of the season with the league’s leading rusher, against one of the league’s worst defenses, so they ran.

And for the most part, it worked.

The Eagles used a playoff-worthy rushing game to beat the Cowboys 24-22 Sunday night, winning the NFC East title and earning a chance to host the Saints next Saturday night in a Wild Card game.

With LeSean McCoy’s 131 yards and Bryce Brown’s fourth-quarter touchdown, the Eagles were able to grind away at the Cowboys defense over the course of the night, and it paid dividends late.

While so much attention has been paid to their fast pace and the exploits of quarterback Nick Foles, the Eagles have been best when they’re lining up and running.

With an athletic offensive line that can get to the second level and create big plays, the Eagles are built to run, even if it doesn’t fit the cloud-of-dust profile.

That could serve them well next week if the weather gets dodgy, as the Saints have shown time and again they’re built to play indoors on carpet.

Here are five more things we learned during Sunday Night Football:

1. Cowboys defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin didn’t always have the best luck with Chip Kelly’s teams when he was at USC and Kelly was at Oregon.

But in two games this year, the 73-year-old has held up pretty well, or at least wasn’t the problem.

The Cowboys were able to frustrate Foles throughout the game with pressure up the middle, and playing with a degree of discipline on the edges.

After holding the Eagles to three points earlier this season, it’s a bit of redemption for Kiffin for some of the strafings he’s taken.

2. Speaking of that Cowboys defensive line, it’s hard to wrap your mind around it, but they might have had a Pro Bowl snub.

Defensive tackle Jason Hatcher got to double-digit sacks for the season with a pair, with a forced fumble thrown in for good measure.

The 31-year-old will be a free agent this offseason, and should draw plenty of attention on the market, as the Cowboys still won’t be in position to spend heavily.

His disruptive play in the middle has been lost in a sea of ineptitude, but if they’re not able to pay him, somebody will.

3. The Eagles were willing to single-cover wide receiver Dez Bryant for most of the night.

That was crucial to their plan, but it backfired in the fourth quarter.

Bryant’s fourth-quarter touchdown, which got them to within two, came when the Cowboys used Miles Austin in motion to get Bryant singled up on safety Patrick Chung. It was a mismatch, and Bryant had to only keep from tripping over his own feet to get into the end zone.

Bryant may have also saved the skin of the poor play-clock operator, who jammed the Cowboys earlier in the drive.

4. The Dallas offensive plan was evident, as the Cowboys wanted to keep things close and clutch and grab and hope for a chance.

That’s often easier said that done.

Too often in the past, the Cowboys bailed on the run game too soon, but even after running back DeMarco Murray fumbled a reception early on, they went right back to him on the next play.

He continued to run physically, flattening Eagles defensive end Damion Square in a play that will live on in the highlight shows for weeks.

Then again, they wouldn’t hand it to him on a fourth-and-1 in the fourth quarter.

Along with quarterback Kyle Orton’s killer interception, it took them right back to the roots of their problems all year, even when Tony Romo was healthy.

5. On a day when perhaps the best pass-catching tight end (Tony Gonzalez) called it a career, Cowboys tight end Jason Witten proved he’s not far off that status.

Witten had a season-best 12 catches for 135 yards.

It was the kind of performance that will get lost in the wake of the big-picture failings of the Cowboys, but it shouldn’t be.

118 responses to “Sunday night wrap-up: Eagles run their way to playoffs

  1. Orton ended the season the way Romo would of. The house needs cleaning. And someone has to take the player decisions out of Jerry Jones hands. It’s like a more vanilla Al Davis. But he’s ruining that team, and he’s not accountable to anyone

  2. Chip. The Chipper. Big Ball Chip. His 11 headed offensive Monster Machine Tour 2013 is all geared up for playoff domination! Go Birds!

  3. It must be a roller coaster of emotions to win a division clincher, only to realize now you have to fly back to Philadelphia.


  4. Of course Orton threw the game-killing pick. Orton is a Democrat. What else would you expect from a Democrat?

    And, please Jerrah, for the love of all that is holy, fire the red-headed nightmare.

  5. Nothing better than to see Jerry stomping away in week 17. Hey, NFL, make week 17 next year Dallas bye week. Maybe they won’t lose. BWAAAAAH!!!!

  6. Dallas is 8-8 once again. Not bad enough to get a good player in the draft nor good enough to make the playoffs. They are not getting any better and are now aging behind Romo, Orton and Whitten. All of their stars are on the wrong side of 30.

  7. And another lost season under the great owner jerry jones, the cowboys will NEVER win anything in the future because of they’re owner, hes senile and a crazy old man and you all know it.

  8. Darin the only thing that matters are the final numbers on the scoreboard. I’m sorry that your overrated team lost, but in the words of Bill Parcells “You are what your record says you are.”

  9. Foles throwing up moonball prayers that got answered.. Chips ridiculous offense that will ultimately ruin football. Defense getting gouged by kyle orton. No sean lee on defense. No romo. And they struggled against an undermanned team that they should have destroyed. Brees and the saints put up 38 and the eagles go home early. Eagles are by far the luckiest team in football.

  10. Foles looked like a deer in the headlights tonight. Not good. People are already picking the Eagles to win vs Saints due to the home field advantage. I think Saints win in a blowout.

  11. Boys just need a pass to Whitten, pass todez, kick the field goal and win the division. Then that damn Garrett, takes out Orton, and puts in Romo………..Interception

  12. Orton did a great job imitating Romo–really good stats, but choke in the end. I hope Jerry Jones has a long, healthy life and continues to be the Dallas GM. He’s going to keep doing the same things year after year and that doesn’t result in postseason wins.

  13. I’m an Eagles fan (Philadelphia native) and live in the DFW area now. It ‘ll be interesting theater to see what happens with the Cowboys. I don’t think that Garrett is a competent head coach. More suited to a coordinator job. Kiffin had a tough year and may be past his prime. And it goes without saying that the GM situation is controversial here. It ‘ll be fun sports news here! Not sure Garrett gets the axe and won’t be surprised either way.

    But as an Eagles fan, you have to marvel about them. I did not think Kelly was a smart hire for the PR reasons of hiring someone seemingly escaping NCAA sanctions. But his calmness has been very refreshing. Not sure he sticks to the pro game but admire what he has done. This tie last year was so despondent for the Eagles, so much swirl and controversy…

  14. lets hear it from you Philly trolls who yapped last summer that Chip Kelly couldn’t coach in the NFL.Don’t eat duck, have some crow!

  15. This was such a tight game. For the past week, radio pundits have been saying that this game was a lock. I never believed this game wouldn’t be a fight. Dallas games always are. Eagles fans (and I am one) have to be excited about the playoffs, but the team showed that they are vulnerable in this game. Regardless, it was a well deserved win for the Birds. I always love to see the Eagles win, especially at the cowboys expense.

  16. Witten < Gonzalez =FACT.

    1 good game against a horrible defense and a QB who only throws to 3 people isn't a comparison to Gonzalez's portfolio.

  17. Tony G had 12 catches for 141 last week right before he rode off into the sunset, so yeah, I’m not sure I’d compare Witten with TG

  18. *in before the Dallas whiners come in and start whining about the play clock*

    That’s poetic justice for all of the blatant no-calls from the refs all night long.


  19. I am proud of the way this team fought. Excuses aside, terrible coaching at times plus 19 different players played on our D line made it tough. Yet, there we were, 40 yards away from winning the east. Sucks. I feel bad for guys like Hatcher, Bryant, Romo, and many others who put their whole heart into this to come up short again and again. I hate the Eagles fans so much, but their players are class, good luck with the Saints kids.

  20. I’m not sure why the cowboys paid Romo all that money. Orton played just as well as Romo would have and even threw a pick to end the season just like Romo would’ve.

    He’s Romo at 1/10th the price!

    Seriously though, the Cowboys hung in there to the end and played well. The 3 turnovers were the difference and if the cowboys hadn’t scored on that series with the playclock screwup, Jones would’ve personally hunted that guy down.

  21. Nick Foles is a superstar. Again: Nick Foles, is a superstar in this league. Read it as many times as you need to and let it sink in. He’s a superstar.

  22. I never once said we would win but I did say the eagles fans may have to eat their words. they didn’t so hats off to them it was a hell of a game for both teams. but tell me this how many if u eagles fans were sitting on the edge if your seats when Dallas stopped u guys on that last drive and took the ball back? congrats on the win but at least we made u earn it.

  23. Ok, I am hating on the Eagles, one win against a playoff team Green Bay with Scot Tolizen at QB. NFC was a train wreck and it took a last minute INT to defeat a team QB by a journeyman. No. 30 pass Def going to face No 2 pass Off, good luck. Hope it snows, Sorry NBC not buying the hype.

  24. Foles is so even-keeled, and his consistency and professionalism seems to be rubbing off on his teammates. The experience and confidence that he is earning through this season is invaluable, regardless of what transpires through the playoffs. Foles isn’t the type of guy who settles for complacency and he’ll never be satisfied until he accomplishes the mission at hand. He exemplifies what a real leader is, and will always deflect all the credit to the team as a whole. I’m honored that he is the QB of my favorite team and I hope that such a classy young guy will get a chance to hoist a Lombardi trophy before it’s all said and done.

  25. great game to end the season, Cowboys didn’t roll over like everyone thought. having said that, congrats to the Eagles. Now let’s see if Jerry Jones is man enough to do the right thing…. fire Garrett!

  26. I honestly didn’t see much of a difference in performance between Orton and Romo. They are kind of the same QB.

  27. What an awesome final week of NFL. Goodell was smart to schedule divisional matches the final week of the season.

    Now I can’t wait to see your point about the Chargers set up on the missed FG attempt. Oh the tears from Steeler fans when they see that missed call…

  28. Poor showing by my eagles… But they won so I am happy… Hopefully it snows next week in Philly so Brees will have trouble… Eagles need to do better to win.. Made Orton look all pro

  29. To say Bryant on Chung is a mismatch is a bit of an understatement. A sea cucumber on Chung is a mismatch.

  30. Valiant effort by the ‘Boys, but the better team won this evening. As a Cowboys fan all of my life, I’d love to say it was injuries, but it was really about lack of depth and scheme. Next year will be just as hard depth-wise because of our cap situation. Thanks Al Jr. (Jerry)

  31. Great game. Up and coming and better team won a tough game on the road, with no help from officials (one flag on Cowboys, really?).

  32. That stupid Delay Of Game because the refs did not reset the clock doomed the Cowboys. Made us burn a Time Out. Evidence the league favored the Eagles cause they think they will be a better match up against the Saints. This league treats Jerry Jones like crap. Gave us that 10 Million cap penalty for a unwritten rule. Hang in there REAL fans and to he11 with the bandwagon jumpers.

  33. 6. Orton was a perfect replacement for Romo at quarterback. Romo himself couldn’t have thrown the loss clinching, inside-the-two-minute-warning INT any better than Orton did.
    7. I couldn’t have scripted a more fairy tale perfect ending for the Cowboys than a third consecutive 8-8 season ending with a third consecutive NFC LEast championship game loss to the third different division foe.

  34. How can you so highly praise Jason Witten’s performance without mentioning that he was the cause of one of the interceptions that the Cowboys had? That turnover was on him.

  35. We also learned that cris Collinsworth is a cowboys shill. That was as one sided as a game could be called by a color commentator. He did everything but outright cheer for Dallas.

  36. Couple things to note:

    1) It’s 4th and inches….I agree with Chip’s decision to go for it but why not give it to McCoy?

    2) Its 4th and 9 for the Cowboys….what the heck is Patrick Chung doing covering Dez Bryant 1-on-1 in the slot with no help????

    3) Running the ball was huge for us but I feel like we shoulda got the tight ends and receivers more involved especially in the 3rd quarter when the offense was stalling.

    In the end, I love the Eagles, I love that they beat the Cowboys (who fought well) on their own turf and I love that they will be hosting a playoff game when no one believed that they would even be in the playoffs!

  37. Jerry Jones kept turning his back to the camera so that it would not catch his reaction. Logic would point toward there being several F bombs in frustration.

    Well, now you know what it feels like to be a fan of the Dallas Cowboys (for some of us).

    Please fire the HC and GM for starters.

  38. Poor coaching decisions on Dallas’ end squandered the opportunity to win. See: “He (Murray) continued to run physically, flattening Eagles defensive end Damion Square in a play that will live on in the highlight shows for weeks.
    Then again, they would not hand it to him on a fourth-and-1 in the fourth quarter”. Very close game, and Garrett and Kitna game them a chance to win. But as Al Pacino once said, it is a game of ‘Inches”.

  39. Does Jerry Jones sit in his booth with a play book? It looks just like the book that Jason Garret holds on the sidelines? Does Jerry actually call plays?

  40. Not a Cowboys fan; absolutely despise Jerry Jones…

    But Dallas got jobbed on that bogus delay of game penalty that definitely affected momentum and cost Dallas a time out – even though they got the Orton to Bryant touchdown…

    The Goodell-era league reminds me of our government – incapable of effectively enforcing its current rules and consumed with creating new rules that destroy itself…

    That was horrible, horrible, horrible in a very crucial game at a critical point of the game to happen; my regret is that Dallas scored which bailed the league out of a potentially worse situation…

  41. Give Garrett and the Cowboys credit. They came to play. Give Chip Kelly even more credit. I never thought he would have a winning record, let alone win the division.

  42. Loved the shoot of the Owner’s Suite showing Jerrah leaving before the end of the game and his grandson ripping his Dallas shirt off in disgust. Jerrah was none to pleased with that either. You can see him berating the youth mercilessly.

  43. jerrysglassescleaner says: Dec 30, 2013 2:17 AM

    That stupid Delay Of Game because the refs did not reset the clock doomed the Cowboys. Made us burn a Time Out. Evidence the league favored the Eagles cause they think they will be a better match up against the Saints. This league treats Jerry Jones like crap. Gave us that 10 Million cap penalty for a unwritten rule. Hang in there REAL fans and to he11 with the bandwagon jumpers.

    Sir: you have lost your mind. you really think the cowboys played 60 minutes and didn’t commit one penalty? Please look at the Eagles last two possessions. On both third downs the reciever was held mightily prior to the pass being thrown. On the last play (prior to the kneeldowns), the D-Back has Cooper’s jersey stretched out about a foot and a half as he’s grabbing on. No call. On the other one, Al Michaels says “they got a little handsy”. All in all the cowboy’s got good exceedingly good calls last night.

    As to the rest, the unwritten rule was explained to Gomer Jones, but he decided to cleanse all his salary cap sins from Joey Galloway on down during the uncapped year. Unfortunately for him, Goodell did exactly what he told him he would do and docked them the money. So your boy Gomer is in salary cap hell. Welcome to the future with JJ running the show. You think he’s going to get better with age?

  44. I agree the delay of game penalty was crap, but in the end, that time out would not have mattered, because the birds got that last first down. That being said, watching Jerry Jones in his five hundred dollar bespoke shirt just getting furious was a sight to see. If I could bottle his tears to make a soft drink, it’d sell like hot cakes.

  45. To those of you whining about the bad delay of game call, shut yer traps. You’ve GOT to be kidding me with that … it was the ONLY penalty the Cowboys got the entire GAME!

    The Eagles were so blatantly screwed by the refs on at least two occasions where their receivers got MUGGED by the Dallas DB and no flag was thrown that at worst the delay of game was an even-up make up call.

  46. Entertaining game. I saw that a few people have brought up the competition and QB’s that Philly has played against lately. They beat who was in front of them. Bottom line is they are in the playoffs and will host the Saints next weekend. Jerryglasscleaner probably made the dumbest comment I have seen in months; Evidence the league favored the Eagles cause they think they will be a better match up against the Saints. Did everyone hear Collinsworth cheering for the Cowboys? I am usually a fan of Collinsworth, but he was terrible last night. Look at the penalty differential. The only flag against the Cowboys was a call the officials had to make because the play clock showed 0. The Cowboys scored a couple plays later, so the Cowboys cannot use that call as an excuse. The Cowboys got away with several penalties (i.e. Demarco Murray leading with the crown of his helmet). McCoy and Foles both looked great, but even though they blitzed a lot, they got very little pressure on Orton. They will need to play better to win next week.

  47. Ah, another year, another Jerry Jones “quality product”. For those of us who didn’t like the Cowboys before you purchased them, and like them less with you, we thank you for another mediocre season. We look forward to many more with you at the helm to be followed by sonny-boy.

    I’ve heard the team referred to as “America’s Team” for years. Since 1997 the team plays at .500. American isn’t as mediocre as the team. Jerry could be sued for false advertising. IF… if, the Cowboys are “Americas Team” would that not make Jerry Jones “Captain America”? Hollywood is in a rut making movies of fictional hero characters. Perhaps Hollywood will make a movie, “Captain America”, in animation, can you see Jerry Jones in animation? That would be hilarious. The first word out of the characters mouth, “Doh”

    It seems it doesn’t matter who the QB is, when the going gets tough the QB de jour will throw an interception at the end of the 4th quarter. Go Jerry Go. Since 2000 their week 17 record is 2 – 12 Way to go…that’s BELOW mediocre.

  48. Tonight I’ll sing my songs again
    I’ll play the game and pretend
    But all my words come back to me
    In shades of MEDIOCRITY
    Like emptyness in harmony
    I need someone to comfort me!!!!

    Homeward bound
    The Cowboys are… Homeward bound

  49. Poor Jerry…..

    Opps… Sorry

    Rich Jerry, poor Jerry, the GM

    All these years of trying to be “the god” to Cowboys and he still don’t get it… He ain’t…!!

  50. Everyone said the eagles should blow out the cowboys.. as an eagles fan I’m happy the way this game turned out… that’s how the nfc east rival games should be

  51. 19°

    Few Snow Showers / Wind

    Chance of snow:30% Wind:NW at 22 mph

    There’s your forecast……and being a night game, you will not be on the “high” end of the thermometer

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