ARLINGTON, Texas – For an entire year, the Dallas Cowboys have 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 on Sunday 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 entire offense setting all sorts of single-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 ballclub 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. It’s a positive one, definitely, but we still need to keep improving. There’s hopefully a lot of season left.”
Since opening December with consecutive losses, the Cowboys have 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).
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.
A crowd of 100,621 was announced Sunday for the game. The total included thousands of fans in standing-room party plazas at either end of the stadium that has about 75,000 seats.
The record for an NFL game in the United States was 103,985 for the Super Bowl between Steelers and Rams at the Rose Bowl in January 1980. The largest crowd to watch any NFL game was 112,376 in a preseason matchup between the Cowboys and Houston Oilers in Mexico City in 1994.
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