Eagles 24, Cowboys 22

Eagles quarterback Nick Foles leads his team to the playoffs and a worst-to-first finish in the NFC East.

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Eagles quarterback Nick Foles leads his team to the playoffs and a worst-to-first finish in the NFC East.

ARLINGTON, Texas — Nick Foles and the Eagles completed a worst-to-first turnaround under rookie coach Chip Kelly.

The Cowboys are stuck in second place and going home early again, and this time nobody can blame Tony Romo for the final crushing loss.

Foles threw for two touchdowns, NFL rushing champion LeSean McCoy had 131 yards and a receiving score, and Philadelphia beat Dallas 24-22 Sunday night in a win-or-go-home game for the NFC East title.

The Cowboys, with Kyle Orton filling in at quarterback two days after Romo had back surgery, lost to a division foe with a playoff berth on the line for the third straight year.

The Eagles host New Orleans on Saturday in a wild-card game.

"We kept fighting. We believed in each other," said Foles, who was 17-of-26 for 263 yards after throwing for 80 in a 17-3 loss to Dallas at home. "When the offense was struggling, the defense picked us up."

Dallas trailed 24-16 when Orton threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to Dez Bryant with 3:57 left. Orton went back to Bryant for the two-point conversion try, but cornerback Cary Williams dove to punch the ball away.

Dallas got another chance with a stop, but cornerback Brandon Boykin intercepted Orton on the first play to seal the win.

McCoy finished with 1,607 yards to become the first Eagle to win the rushing title since Hall of Famer Steve Van Buren in 1949. "For all the accolades and the stats, if we didn't win, none of that means nothing," he said.

Romo started in losses in the past two season finales, last year at Washington and in 2011 at the New York Giants. He also started against the Eagles in the same scenario in 2008.

"You feel a tremendous sense of pride about how the team played, how they fought, how they scratched, how they clawed, how they battled," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "But having said that, we didn't get the job done."

Trailing by one, Dallas tried to pass on fourth and 1 from the Philadelphia 40-yard line early in the fourth quarter, and linebacker Connor Barwin knocked down Orton's throw to DeMarco Murray, who was open in the flat.

That came after Garrett called a timeout moments before the Eagles would have been called for a false start on fourth down from the Dallas 1. The defense bailed him out by stuffing Foles on a sneak.

After the Cowboys' failed fourth-down try, Foles led a steady march to Bryce Brown's 6-yard run for an eight-point lead with 6:09 left.

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Eagles 24, Cowboys 22 12/29/13 [Last modified: Monday, December 30, 2013 12:41am]

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