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Minus Romo, 'Boys sleepwalk to loss

ARLINGTON, Texas — Michael Vick scored on his first drive, and Tony Romo didn't.

Hardly anything mattered after that.

Vick threw another touchdown before halftime and the Eagles beat the Cowboys 20-7 Saturday in a game that had the intensity of a preseason rehearsal. It was rendered almost meaningless midway through the first quarter when the Giants won.

New York's victory over the Jets eliminated the Eagles from the playoffs and meant next weekend's Dallas-New York game will decide the NFC East title regardless of what happened Saturday at Cowboys Stadium.

The Cowboys could've still played for a wild-card backup plan but clearly were more concerned about getting ready for the "win and you're in" route to the playoffs — especially with Romo hurting his right (passing) hand in that opening series.

As Romo got X-rays, team owner Jerry Jones went to the sideline and spoke with coach Jason Garrett. Romo, who had no break, just a bruise and some swelling, didn't return, and oft-injured running back Felix Jones lasted just one more series.

"We need to be as healthy as we can be next week," Garrett said.

Garrett said the club decided last week who would and wouldn't play if the Giants won. Garrett said Romo's injury added a new wrinkle.

"These are decisions made by Jason, ultimately," Jones said.

Philadelphia won its third straight, giving the preseason "Dream Team" and midseason nightmare the chance to break even if it can beat the Redskins at home in its finale next weekend. The Eagles also swept the season series against the Cowboys for the first time since 2006, having clobbered Dallas 34-7 in October.

"If we had gotten into the playoffs, we would have definitely done some damage," Vick said. "It's unfortunate we didn't. That's the game of football."

Philadelphia has allowed just 36 points and 683 yards over the past three games, with 16 sacks.

"I think it took a little time to jell," said defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins, one of the offseason additions whose arrival raised expectations. "I guess it took longer than we anticipated. We just didn't get the job done."

Vick passed for 293 yards, with touchdowns to Jeremy Maclin and Brent Celek. Jason Avant nearly had another touchdown, but he fumbled inches before touching the pylon, resulting in a touchback for the Cowboys.

DeSean Jackson caught five passes for 90 yards and ran for 27 yards on two end arounds on consecutive plays.

Stephen McGee, moved up from third-stringer to backup when Jon Kitna went on injured reserve, took over for Romo and went 24-of-38 for 182 yards, with four runs for 28 yards.


Minus Romo, 'Boys sleepwalk to loss 12/24/11 [Last modified: Saturday, December 24, 2011 9:57pm]
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