Cowboys’ first step makes an impression
ARLINGTON, Texas - For an entire year, the Dallas Cowboys had to deal with the fallout from a crushing, season-ending loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Now it is the Eagles’ turn - for this week, at least.
Tony Romo threw a pair of early touchdown passes and the defense took over from there, carrying Dallas to a 24-0 victory over Philadelphia yesterday that was filled with milestones for the Cowboys, the most important being that they won the NFC East and will host a rematch in the first round of the playoffs next weekend.
Some of the other good stuff for Dallas: Posting consecutive shutouts for the first time in team history; Romo and the offense setting all sorts of season records; having a winning record after Dec. 1 for the first time since 1996; and ending a nine-game losing streak in season finales.
With all that going their way, perhaps the Cowboys (11-5) can finally a win a playoff game for the first time since ’96.
“This ball club has done a good job of putting its best foot forward when it has to,’’ Romo said. “We haven’t arrived and we haven’t accomplished anything. This is a step in the process to continue to get to where we want to go.’’
Since opening December with consecutive losses, they’ve won three straight, knocking off the Saints when they were 13-0, then shutting out Washington on the road and now blanking the powerful Eagles (11-5).
Philadelphia came in having already set the franchise scoring record and riding a six-game winning streak during which it averaged 31.2 points per game. The Eagles still had a lot to play for because a victory would’ve locked up the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye. The loss sinks them all the way to the sixth seed, the lower of two wild cards.
Donovan McNabb threw for 223 yards and the Eagles gained just 228 overall. The Cowboys had 291 yards by halftime, on their way to gaining 474.
“We’re going to go back to the drawing board,’’ coach Andy Reid said.
Romo finished 24 of 34 for 311 yards.