Morris Claiborne returned a fumble 50 yards for a touchdown and Tony Romo threw three touchdowns, including two in the fourth quarter, as the Dallas Cowboys shook off the Philadelphia Eagles 38-33 Sunday night at Cowboys Stadium.
The Cowboys keep their slim playoffs hopes alive at 6-6. Dallas plays at Cincinnati next Sunday.
The Eagles fall to 3-9 and have lost eight consecutive games.
Four plays after the Cowboys had taken a 31-27 lead. Eagles rookie running back Bryce Brown fumbled while being tackled by Josh Brent and Claiborne returned the ball 50 yards for a touchdown and a 38-27 lead with 3:50 left in the game.
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Rookie Demaris Johnson’s 98-yard punt return with 31 seconds left accounted for the final score.
Romo completed 22 of 27 passes for 303 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. He completed 10 of 10 passes in the second half.
After an exchange of punts, the Eagles got on the board first on Brown’s 10-yard touchdown run to make it 7-0 with 5:38 left in the first quarter. It was basically an all-rookie drive as quarterback Nick Foles (Arizona), Brown (Kansas State) and wide receiver Damaris Johnson (Tulsa) each had clutch plays on the 55-yard drive.
Dallas answered with a 16-play drive that included two third-down conversions. A holding penalty on a second-and-5 play at the Eagles’ 8 was followed by a sack on Romo. Dallas had to settle for Dan Bailey’s 39-yard field goal to make the score 7-3 with 13:34 left in the first half.
Dallas’ defense held after allowing one first down, but the Cowboys couldn’t do anything with it after a sliding, first-down catch by Jason Witten on third down was reversed on a challenge to force a punt.
Philadelphia drove 73 yards for a touchdown. Brown had a 39 yard run on the drive and got the touchdown on a 5-yard run up the middle to push the Eagles' lead to 14-3 with 6:07 left in the first half. The drive took 3:47.
Down and desperate, the Cowboys put together a 65-yard touchdown drive. Witten had four catches on the drive and DeMarco Murray got the touchdown on a 1-yard run. Dallas converted three third downs on catches by Witten, Miles Austin and a one-hander by Dez Bryant.
With 41 seconds left in the half, Philadelphia kept the pressure on Dallas.
The Eagles drove from their 17 to the Cowboys’ 25 where Alex Henery’s 43-yard field goal gave the Eagles a 17-10 lead on the final play of the first half.
Trailing at the half for the eighth time this season, the Cowboys began the second half with the ball and quickly scored.
The Cowboys drove 80-yards in seven plays with Romo throwing a 24-yard touchdown to Bryant to tie the game at 17-17 at the 11:35 mark. On the touchdown, Romo scrambled out of the pocket and threw across the field to Bryant, who weaved his way into the end zone. The touchdown was Romo’s club-record 166th of his career, passing Troy Aikman.
Philadelphia retook the lead by going 80 yards in 11 plays. Brown had three first-down runs on the drive. Foles completed a 24-yard fade route to Riley Cooper, despite tight coverage by Brandon Carr, in the right corner of the end zone for a 24-17 lead with 5:27 left in the third quarter.
On its next drive, Dallas faced a fourth-and-inches play at the Philadelphia 39, Murray pounded inside and was spotted short. Dallas challenged the spot and the play was reversed for a first down on the final play of the third quarter.
Four plays later, Romo threw a 27-yard touchdown to Austin, on a slant route, to tie the game at 24-24 with 13:41 to go.
The back-and-fourth game continued with the Eagles methodically moving down field before stalling at the Dallas 25. Henery’s 43-yard field goal made it 27-24 with 9:51 left.
It didn’t take long for Dallas to answer. Romo completed passes of 35 yards to Bryant and 37 yards to Witten as part of an 86-yard drive. The touchdown came on a 6-yard pass to Bryant, who ran over Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie at the goal line, to give the Cowboys’ their first lead of the game at 31-27 with 5:35 left.
The first turnover of the game proved to be the game breaker.
Four plays after the kickoff, Brown fumbled and Claiborne returned it 50 yards for a touchdown and a 38-27 lead with 3:50 to go.
Philadelphia got a 98-yard punt return by Johnson with 31 seconds to play. However, the Eagles failed on the two-point conversion and Witten recovered the onside kick.
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