Bryant has 3 TD catches, Cowboys beat Eagles 38-27
Dec. 15, 2014
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — So dominant at Dallas, the Eagles were duds in the home rematch.
Now, the NFC East title is a bit further out of reach than it was about 2 1/2 weeks ago and Mark Sanchez may not get another chance to steer one more Philadelphia rally.
Dez Bryant torched Bradley Fletcher for a career-best three touchdown catches from Tony Romo and the Cowboys rallied to beat the Eagles 38-27 on Sunday night after wasting a 21-0 lead.
DeMarco Murray had a pair of TD runs to help the Cowboys (10-4) move ahead of the Eagles (9-5) into first place in the NFC East.
Sanchez gamely rallied the Eagles back a big hole until he unraveled at the end of the third. Sanchez's deep pass over the middle for tight end Zach Ertz on the final play of the quarter was intercepted by J.J. Wilcox. The Cowboys scored off the turnover to stretch the lead to 35-24.
"I think Mark was off-balance," Eagles coach Chip Kelly said. "It didn't look like it was a good throw."
It sure wasn't. And Sanchez took the heat.
"There's no excuse for missing Ertz over the middle," he said.
Sanchez was 17 of 28 for 252 yards and two interceptions. The sub-turned-starter could return to his backup role if Week 1 starter Nick Foles is cleared to return from his broken collarbone.
Kelly refused to discuss hypotheticals and Sanchez said he didn't know if he'd start next week at Washington.
The Eagles can still win the division if they win the final two games and the Cowboys lose one game. The Eagles would earn a wild-card berth if they win the final two games and either Green Bay, Detroit or Seattle lose two.
"We've got to get to 11-5 and see if you can get in, but you're not going to get to 11-5 unless you get to 10-5 first," Kelly said.
Foles was injured in the second week of the season and could be cleared to return Monday.
The Eagles had plenty of blame to spread in the Dallas disaster.
Bryant finished with six receptions for 114 yards. He beat Fletcher on each of the TDs.
"That's my man. I've got to make a play," Fletcher said. "He's just another receiver in the NFL who made plays today. I didn't play well for our team."
The Eagles dominated the Cowboys in a 33-10 road win on Thanksgiving, but Dallas takes control of the division with two weeks left.
Dallas was up 167-0 on Philadelphia, a lopsided total that only felt like the score, but was the total yards total in the first quarter. Down 7-0 before some fans found their seats, and 21-zip minutes into the second quarter, Philadelphia's game plan was going up in smoke.
Chris Polk had TD runs of 1 and 5 yards and Darren Sproles ran in from the 1 to stabilize the Eagles and give them a 24-21 lead late in third quarter. But Romo and the Cowboys answered quickly with two touchdowns in a 2:51 span.
Murray scored on a 2-yard run to cap a 78-yard drive. After Wilcox intercepted Sanchez's pass, the Cowboys started the fourth quarter at the Eagles 42. Romo then hit Bryant in stride for a 25-yard scoring pass.
"Having a guy like Dez makes it easy to throw to spots that he can go get it," Romo said. "Just lucky to have him."
Bryant couldn't wait for this game after being held to 73 yards on four catches in the first meeting. After that game, he called Philadelphia's secondary "cheap" and he had a heated exchange with Malcolm Jenkins before the game. Bryant came back twice after Jenkins walked away from a pregame exchange. It wasn't known why they argued.
"Just great competitors going at it, that's all," Bryant said.
The Eagles had won 10 straight regular-season games at home before losing to Seattle and Dallas for their first consecutive losses since Weeks 7 and 8 in 2013.
The start was the opposite of the first meeting when the Eagles steamrolled the Cowboys on their way to a convincing win. The Cowboys bounced back from that loss with a win at Chicago last Thursday night and had three extra days to prepare for the rematch.
The Eagles beat the Cowboys last year in a winner-take-division game at Dallas in Week 17. Romo missed that game after having back surgery.
"We can't think about anything long term," Kelly said. "We don't worry about who does what, who does anything. If we don't go out and beat Washington, it's a moot point anyway."
NOTES: Dallas had 364 yards and held the Eagles to 294 for Philadelphia. ... The Cowboys held the ball for 41:55. ... Sanchez was sacked four times.
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