AT&T Stadium had never looked so rocking. It was described by on-field reporters as having an electric, college atmosphere this side of the AT&T Cotton Classic.
Dallas took the opening kickoff and sustained a good little drive with DeMarco Murray’s runs and Dez Bryant’s catches. Murray coughed up the football on a big hit right into the bread basket of Eagles defensive back Bradley Fletcher. The Eagles drove from their own 23 yard line and stalled out their drive just outside the red zone, settling for a 47 yard Alex Henery field goal to go up 3-0.
Murray’s big hits and big play check downs couldn’t get any points, and so the Eagles took possession at their own 12 yard line. In 10 plays, the Eagles went 88 yards for a 3 yard LeSean McCoy touchdown catch. The drive was aided by three catches of 15 yards or more, the most egregious being Jason Avant catching a Foles duck at the Dallas 3 yard line that set up the touchdown to give Philadelphia a 10-0 lead.
Dallas went three and out and punted back the football. The Eagles similarly went three and out and punted back to Dallas. From their own 34 yard line, Dallas drove six plays for a touchdown scored by rookie tight end Gavin Escobar on a 22 yard somersault touchdown to cut the deficit to 10-7 Eagles.
Philadelphia had another unsuccessful drive, which featured Cowboys defensive end Jarius Wynn sacking Nick Foles, and punted back to Dallas, who now had most of the momentum. Six plays later, inside Eagles territory, Kyle Orton threw a pass behind Jason Witten that linebacker Michael Kendricks easily intercepted. Immediately, the Eagles scored a touchdown in two plays, each passes of 35 and 14 yards to tight end Brent Celek, to take a 17-7 lead.
Dallas marched back on their final play of the first half and got inside Eagles territory again. Sputtering out, they settled for a 44 yard Dan Bailey field goal to narrow the deficit to 17-10 at halftime.
Coming out of the tunnel for the second half, Philadelphia went three and out. Dallas moved the football in eight plays down to the Eagles 25 yard line. After an incomplete deep ball for Dez Bryant in the end zone, Dallas settled for Dan Bailey’s successful 43 yard field goal that made it 17-13 Eagles.
The Eagles gained a first down with a 14 yard completion to rookie tight end Zach Ertz on the next series, but Cowboys defensive end Jason Hatcher stripped Foles on a sack. DeMarcus Ware recovered. The offense wasn’t able to do anything with the football from the Eagles 20 except send Bailey in for a 36 yard field goal to make it 17-16 Eagles.
The Eagles and Cowboys traded possessions of three and outs. On the Eagles’ tenth drive of the game, Philadelphia drove from their own 47 yard line down to the Cowboys goal line. Nick Foles wasn’t able to sneak in, and Dallas took over at their own one yard line.
Dallas’ ensuing drive looked optimistic. Dez Bryant got it started off with an 18 yard slant, and Jason Witten caught a 16 yard pass. The Cowboys moved into Eagles territory and were down to 4th and 1. Rather than run the ball, Jason Garrett called a swing pass to DeMarco Murray. Eagles linebacker Connor Barwin snuck into the passing lane and batted down the pass for a turnover on downs.
From their own 40 yard line, the Eagles went 11 plays that featured 8 runs by LeSean McCoy. He didn’t score the touchdown to go ahead 24-16 pending the extra point. That was Bryce Brown on a 6 yard gallop on first and goal.
Dallas drove immediately down the field for a touchdown scored by Dez Bryant on 4th and 9, a 32 yard touchdown. The two-point conversion failed, with cornerback Cary Williams knocking away the pass to Dez Bryant. It was 24-22 Eagles.
The Cowboys defense came up with their big three and out, giving Kyle Orton the ball back. On first down, he threw an interception to cornerback Brandon Boykin to end the Cowboys season and give some impoverished children in Nicaragua their third set of “Dallas Cowboys: NFC East Champs” hats.
Let the interminable off-season begin.