Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys 12/29/13 NFL Score, Recap, News and Notes
Final Score: Philadelphia Eagles 24, Dallas Cowboys 22
December 29, 2013
The final primetime game of the 2013 NFL regular season had all the makings of a great matchup. The Eagles headed down to Dallas for a grudge game against the Cowboys, with the winner taking the NFC East and punching their ticket to the playoffs. Dallas dominated the earlier game this season, shutting down Philadelphia’s offense in a 17-3 win. Both teams looked vastly different during their Week 17 meeting, however, and likewise the outcome of the game was different as well.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the noteworthy stats and players from this one so we can see why things played out the way they did. Afterward, we’ll take a look forward to see what’s in store for each team’s future.
What Happened: Things looked pretty bleak for Dallas coming into this one without starting QB Tony Romo or defensive dynamo Sean Lee, but they still were able to hang in there. Philly jumped out to a 10-0 lead off a first-quarter field goal and a 3-yard TD pass from Nick Foles to LeSean McCoy early in the second. The Cowboys responded with a TD pass of their own, a 17-yarder from Kyle Orton to Gavin Escobar. The Eagles struck right back with another passing score to Brent Celek, but Dallas was able to post a field goal to narrow the lead to a touchdown. Philadelphia went into the locker room with a 17-10 edge.
The only scoring in the third quarter came on a pair of Dan Bailey field goals, which cut the deficit to one heading into the fourth quarter. Just before the 6-minute mark, the Eagles found pay dirt on a 6-yard Bryce Brown run, giving them a 24-16 edge.
Dallas got within two on a 32-yard TD pass from Orton to Dez Bryant, but the two weren’t able to hook up on the ensuing two-point conversion. Philly was able to hang on for a thrilling 24-22 victory and a spot in the playoffs.
The Eagles finish the season at 10-6 atop a mediocre NFC East. Dallas, meanwhile, completes another 8-8 campaign, which is their third in a row with that mark.
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
The Stars: Nick Foles had another solid outing, and he’s guided his team back from the brink this season. He finished 17-of-26 for two scores and no interceptions. That mark gave him the NFL record for TD-to-interception ratio for a season (27-to-2).
Helping out as usual was the beastly LeSean McCoy. He posted 131 yards on 27 carries and added the 3-yard TD reception.
On the other side, Jason Witten was huge, grabbing 12 balls for 135 yards.
The Goats: Considering the circumstances and what he was asked to do, Orton actually performed pretty well. He threw for an efficient 358 yards, but had a pair of costly turnovers that really hurt the Cowboys. It was clear the Eagles were focusing on DeMarco Murray, who only managed 17 carries for 51 yards.
We’ll also be hearing about a couple of questionable play calls this week, most notably Jason Garrett’s decision to pass on fourth-and-one from the Philadelphia 40 early in the fourth quarter.
Injuries: In addition to Romo and Lee being gone, Dallas was without S Jakar Hamilton and LB Ernie Sims.
As for Philly, safeties Colt Anderson and Earl Wolff will have to try and get healthy for the Wild Card round of the playoffs this weekend.
Outlook: Dallas’ number-one priority in the off-season will be shoring up their defense. They suffered through some tough injuries this year but were definitely vulnerable (and at times flat-out laughable) on that side of the ball. Look for some major changes there.
As for Philadelphia, they’ll move on to host the Saints on Saturday. That’s good news, as they’re not the same team away from New Orleans. (Game time: January 4, 8:10 PM ET on NBC.)
For the latest article updates, follow Andrew on Twitter @SCPAndrew.