Final

Cowboys 7

(5-9, 2-5 away)

Eagles 12

(13-1, 7-0 home)

1:00 PM ET, December 19, 2004

 

1 2 3 4 T
DAL 0 7 0 07
PHI 0 6 0 612

Philly clinches home-field throughout playoffs

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Terrell Owens has plenty of time to rest for the playoffs.

Dorsey Levens' 2-yard touchdown run with 1:57 left helped the Philadelphia Eagles overcome an ankle injury to their star wide receiver and clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with a 12-7 victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.

Allen's Analysis
Eric Allen Cowboys at Eagles: What's the approach moving forward with Owens' injury? This is the worst thing that could happen to the Eagles. This is a huge loss because he's driven the Eagles' offense all season. The Eagles need their defense to amp up its play to keep opposing teams honest and to protect the offense. I realize the Eagles have already clinched the home field advantage throughout the playoffs, but they must maintain their intensity. Now is not the time to start coasting and not taking opposing teams seriously because the Eagles have home field advantage. Intensity is extremely important in the playoffs and it isn't something that can be turned off and on. The Eagles coaching staff is going to have to reiterate that fact to the players every week.

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders. He's a regular contributor to Insider.

Owens didn't return after spraining his right ankle early in the third quarter. X-rays on the ankle were negative, but he'll have an MRI on Monday. Philadelphia plays its first playoff game on Jan. 15 or 16, giving Owens almost a month to heal if necessary.

"The positive is it wasn't broken, but the negative is it did swell up," said Eagles coach Andy Reid, adding that he expects Owens to miss at least one game. "We'll see how the MRI goes."

The Eagles (13-1) set a franchise record for regular-season victories. They've finished first in the conference three straight years but couldn't take advantage of playing at home in the last two NFC championship games, losing to Tampa Bay and Carolina. The Eagles also lost in the NFC title game in 2002, in St. Louis.

"We love playing here," Reid said. "I think it's tough on any opponent coming into Lincoln Financial Field and dealing with the fans. We're excited."

Donovan McNabb threw for 223 yards and one TD but was intercepted twice. Brian Westbrook caught eight passes for 78 yards.

Dallas' Vinny Testaverde was also intercepted twice, including a pick by Lito Sheppard on the Cowboys' final drive. Keyshawn Johnson had a TD catch for Dallas (5-9).

"It's extra disappointing when you give quite a bit and you know you have nothing to show for it," Cowboys coach Bill Parcells said.

After Dallas' Billy Cundiff missed a 46-yard field-goal attempt with 6:03 left, the Eagles got the ball at their 36. Then McNabb took over. He completed a 13-yard pass to L.J. Smith and ran for 12 and 19 yards -- his first carries of the game.

On third-and-9 from the Cowboys' 19, McNabb threw 11 yards to Westbrook. Levens ran 6 yards on the next play, setting up his go-ahead score.

"I just took it upon myself to pick up yards when I can," McNabb said. "A lot of guys came up to me during that drive and said, 'Do what you do.'"

The Eagles beat the Cowboys 49-21 in a Monday night game last month. But Dallas kept this one close.

After Greg Ellis sacked McNabb to force a fumble recovered by Eric Ogbogu, the Cowboys started their only scoring drive at Philadelphia's 23 in the second quarter.

Four runs by Julius Jones got Dallas to the 7, before Testaverde connected with Johnson for a 7-yard TD, giving the Cowboys a 7-6 lead.

McNabb found Chad Lewis in the corner of the end zone for a 2-yard TD pass that made it 6-0 in the second period. David Akers' extra-point attempt was blocked by Kurt Vollers, ending Akers' club-record string of 153 successful conversions.

"We had opportunities to put the game away at times," Testaverde said. "It's been the same all year. We make mistakes. It's very frustrating."

Philadelphia drove inside Dallas territory five consecutive series without scoring. The Eagles had the ball at the Cowboys' 31 in the third quarter, but a penalty moved them out of field-goal range. They got to the Cowboys' 31 again on the next possession, but McNabb was intercepted by Roy Williams.

If Owens doesn't return for either of the final two regular-season games, he'll finish with 14 TD catches, one short of winning his bet with Reid that would've required the beefy coach to wear black spandex tights.

Owens is a candidate for MVP in his first season with the Eagles, catching 77 passes for 1,200 yards.

"We have other players besides T.O.," Westbrook said. "He's an important part of our team and he is a playmaker, but we have other guys who can make plays and I expect those guys to step up."

The Eagles won their first nine games against NFC opponents by double-digit margins before a three-point victory over Washington last week.

Game notes


Owens had two catches for 24 yards. He has just two TD catches in the last five games after getting 12 in the first nine. ... Jones was held to 80 yards rushing on 25 carries after running for 517 yards in his last four games. ... Westbrook leads all running backs with 73 catches. ... Cundiff has missed 6-of-21 field-goal tries this season.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Scoring Summary

SECOND QUARTERDALPHI
dalTD3:43Touchdown
Drive info: 5 plays, 23 yds, 2:20
66
dal3:43
Drive info: 5 plays, 23 yds, 2:20
76
phiTD10:27Touchdown
Drive info: 9 plays, 70 yds, 3:30
06
FOURTH QUARTERDALPHI
phiTD2:00Dorsey Levens, 2 yd run
Drive info: 9 plays, 72 yds, 4:03
712