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The Cowboys didn't take advantage of Philadelphia's depleted front seven, rushing for 79 yards on 20 carries, not including three kneel-downs by Tony Romo. Marion Barber (12 carries, 50 yards) had his best game since straining his quadriceps, but that's not saying much. He was effective as a closer, gaining 29 yards on five carries in the fourth quarter. Felix Jones (four carries, 10 yards) wasn't a factor. Tashard Choice showed the Razorback formation can be effective, gaining 13 yards on three carries, including a 2-yard TD run.
The Eagles' blitz-happy defense usually preys in third-down situations, but that's when Romo (21-of-34 for 307 yards) was at his best. He completed nine of 11 passes for 140 yards and the game-winning TD on third downs. Romo got big plays out of four wide receivers. Roy Williams (five catches, 75 yards) resembled the player Jerry Jones thought he traded for. Miles Austin (49-yard TD) made his only catch count. Patrick Crayton's 64-yard catch and run set up a field goal in the final minute of the first half. Kevin Ogletree contributed to a couple of scoring drives by turning two screen passes into 38 yards. And reliable tight end Jason Witten made the third-down catch to seal the win.
The Eagles found room to run early, but the Cowboys completely shut down the Philadelphia ground game in the second half. LeSean McCoy had seven carries for 45 yards in the first half and finished with 13 carries for 54 yards. The Eagles gained only 19 yards on 10 carries after halftime. Philadelphia failed to gain one yard on three consecutive plays early in the fourth quarter, resulting in a turnover on downs that gave the Cowboys great field position for the game-winning drive.
The Eagles' explosive young receivers weren't a factor. Credit CBs Mike Jenkins and Terence Newman, as well as the pass rush, for preventing DeSean Jackson (two catches, 29 yards) and Jeremy Maclin (three catches, 45 yards) from making an impact. Donovan McNabb was sacked four times, twice by NT Jay Ratliff. Gerald Sensabaugh and Jenkins both picked off McNabb, who entered the night with only one interception. Jenkins' leaping interception of a deep ball late in the third quarter, when the Eagles were leading by three, might have been the Cowboys' most important defensive play of the season.
The Cowboys had problems on kickoff coverage, including a touchdown return by Ellis Hobbs that was called back because of a holding penalty away from the play. That's been one an area of strength for Dallas all season. Mat McBriar did prevent Jackson from breaking loose on punt returns, forcing two fair catches and twice kicking the ball out of bounds. Three of McBriar's five punts were downed inside the 20, and he had a net average of 42.0 yards.