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Cowboys almost upset Vick, Eagles

Dallas Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick sacks Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick (7) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 12, 2010, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Sharon Ellman)

Michael Vick faked a handoff and threw deep to DeSean Jackson, a perfect strike for 60 yards.

With that one play, the Philadelphia Eagles sent the Dallas Cowboys a strong message — we’re coming after you.

Philadelphia kept coming, mostly with big plays. Jackson turned just four catches into 210 yards and LeSean McCoy ran for a career-high 149, lifting the Eagles to a 30-27 victory over the Cowboys on Sunday night and strengthening their grip on first place in the NFC East.

“We put the pedal to the metal,” said Philadelphia coach Andy Reid, who also had to be savoring his first win at Cowboys Stadium after a pair of painful defeats here last season.

Reid would love to be back here for the Super Bowl in February. He might have the team to do it, too, as the Eagles (9-4) won for the fifth time in six games. They are a half-game ahead of the New York Giants in the division, and go to New York for a showdown with the Giants on Sunday.

They’ll have to hope Jackson gets over a sprained ankle by then.

The speedy wideout was injured on the longest play of his career, and the second-longest ever against Dallas — a 91-yard catch and run early in the fourth quarter that put Philadelphia ahead for good.

Dallas (4-9) kept the game close throughout and even led 20-14. But Philadelphia was just too strong, dropping the Cowboys to 3-2 under interim coach Jason Garrett. They are officially eliminated from the playoffs and guaranteed their first losing season since 2004.

“It doesn’t feel good,” team owner Jerry Jones said. “They made a couple of big plays that we weren’t able to make, but I liked the way we got after Vick, I really did. I like the way that we responded when we got down each time, a whole bunch of good things.”

The game was tied at 20 when the Eagles were forced to start at their 9-yard line following a penalty on a punt return. Jackson already had blistered the Cowboys for 119 yards on three catches, so they were well aware of the need to contain him.

Yet on first down, Michael Jenkins dove and missed trying to break up a pass to Jackson on the left sideline. He sped past one safety, made another safety fall and outran a cornerback diving at his ankles around the 10. He stopped just shy of the goal line, turned to face the defense and tipped over backward into the end zone. The showboating move drew a penalty, then he went to the bench for oxygen and treatment on his ankle.

“I put the ball in a perfect spot, but I didn’t know he was going to go 91 yards,” Vick said. “He’s a very dynamic player.”

Jackson’s 210 yards receiving were third-most in Philadelphia history. They also helped mask a somewhat rocky outing by Vick.

Days after moving into the lead in Pro Bowl voting, Vick threw two interceptions, matching his season total, and struggled to keep alive drives that didn’t have a big play. Dallas sacked him twice and nailed him with hard hits all night, including one that drew a penalty for a helmet-to-helmet hit.

His final numbers were 16 of 26 for 270 yards. Take out Jackson’s stats and his other 12 completions produced 60 yards. He also ran for a touchdown.

“We didn’t want Vick to get out of hand just running all over the place,” said Dallas linebacker Bradie James, who had one of the interceptions. “The front seven did a great job of kind of containing him, but you’ve got to put it all together.”

McCoy had just 15 yards in the first half and seemed mostly a decoy on play-action throws. Then Vick really did give it to him and McCoy surprised the Cowboys with a 56-yard burst up the middle to spark another scoring drive. He came on strong again in the fourth quarter, helping Philadelphia burn the final 4:22 after the Cowboys got within a field goal.

“I like what we did at the end,” Reid said. “We pounded it, kept the ball and played good physical football down the stretch.”

The Eagles lost middle linebacker Stewart Bradley to a dislocated right elbow in the second quarter. He is expected to miss the rest of the regular season. Two injured starters, cornerback Asante Samuel and right tackle Winston Justice, didn’t even make the trip.

Jon Kitna was 24 of 35 for 242 yards for Dallas. Like Vick, he had two touchdowns and two interceptions.

The Cowboys scored 10 points off their interceptions of Vick, but didn’t really have anything working great on offense. Maybe they were missing dazzling rookie Dez Bryant, who went on injured reserve this week.

Jason Witten was the leading receiver with 69 yards and Felix Jones was the leading rusher with 41. Jones also had 42 yards receiving. Witten caught two touchdown passes, Jones ran for a score.

Miles Austin had two catches for 22 yards. His biggest gain came on a run — 26 yards on a double-reverse that set up Dallas’ first touchdown.

“We fought hard,” Garrett said, “it just wasn’t good enough.”

NOTES: Vick and Jackson hooked up for an 88-yard touchdown last month against Washington. … Cowboys LB Anthony Spencer can expect a fine for knocking helmets with Vick. … Vick’s TD run was his seventh this season, a record for an Eagles quarterback. … Philadelphia threw a TD to tackle-eligible Todd Herremans. He also scored for Seattle two years ago. … Before kickoff, the Cowboys showed a video tribute to former star quarterback Don Meredith, who died last Sunday. It was followed by a moment of silence.

Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press & Capitol Hill Blue

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