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Sunday, January 2, 2011
Stephen McGee gets first NFL start

By Tim MacMahon
ESPNDallas.com

PHILADELPHIA -- Dallas Cowboys second-year quarterback Stephen McGee made the first start of his career Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles.

McGee completed 11 of 27 passes for 127 yards with no turnovers and one touchdown as the Cowboys won 14-13.

Jon Kitna, the 38-year-old veteran who started the last nine games since Tony Romo broke his left collarbone, was the backup quarterback.

Kitna, who strained his left oblique muscle during last week's loss to the Arizona Cardinals, went through two throwing sessions Sunday afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field. After his last throw, a pass that sailed high on a skinny post, Kitna walked off the field while talking to interim head coach Jason Garrett. He apparently convinced the Cowboys' coaches and athletic trainers that he's healthy enough to be active.

McGee had prepared all week as if he would start the Cowboys' season finale. He took all the first-team practice repetitions, with Kitna limited to light throwing on the side.

McGee, a fourth-round pick out of Texas A&M in 2009, got his first NFL regular-season experience after Kitna was injured against the Cardinals. McGee completed 11 of 17 passes for 111 yards with no turnovers and one touchdown, a beautifully thrown 37-yard pass to Miles Austin that gave the Cowboys the lead with less than two minutes remaining.

Chris Greisen, a former Arena League and UFL quarterback signed to the practice squad this week and promoted to the active roster Friday, was the emergency quarterback.

As expected, the Eagles included several starters on their inactives list. With Philadelphia locked into the NFC's third seed in the playoffs, quarterback Michael Vick, running back LeSean McCoy, receiver DeSean Jackson, right tackle Winston Justice, defensive end Trent Cole and cornerback Asante Samuel were sidelined Sunday.

Tim MacMahon covers the Cowboys for ESPNDallas.com. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag.