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DALLAS 23, PHILADELPHIA 21

Cowboys Give Eagles a Dose of Reality

October 13, 2003|From Associated Press

IRVING, Texas — The four-game winning streak is nice. So is being first in the NFC East.

Still, the strongest proof yet that the Dallas Cowboys are for real under Coach Bill Parcells lies in beating the Philadelphia Eagles and how they did it: with big plays from start to finish.

Dallas ended a six-game losing streak against its division rival Sunday with a 23-21 victory over Philadelphia on Billy Cundiff's 28-yard field goal with 1:11 left.

The Cowboys started well, when Randal Williams foiled an onside kick by returning it 37 yards for a touchdown. Dallas was ahead after only three seconds, the fastest score to begin a game since the NFL began using a scoreboard clock in 1970.

Dallas (4-1) hadn't only been losing often to the Eagles (2-3) -- it had been losing by a lot, an average of 25 points. The Cowboys hadn't scored an offensive touchdown in the teams' last three meetings.

This time, when Dallas trailed for the first time with 4:14 left, the special teams and offense responded with the go-ahead points, and the defense protected the lead.

"I thought we'd be well-prepared," Parcells said. "I could tell. We did a lot of film work and our players were very attentive. I'm real happy about my team."

This victory adds legitimacy to the Cowboys' start, their best since 1995. Dallas next plays at Detroit with a chance to match its win total from each of the last three seasons.

"This is a new era," quarterback Quincy Carter said. "Coach Parcells has brought a whole new toughness to this team."

Carter offset shaky numbers -- 14 of 25 for a season-low 146 yards -- with a blitz-beating, third-down pass to Joey Galloway that kept alive the winning drive.

Even after the Eagles blew a 21-20 lead, they had one more chance. And when James Thrash returned a kickoff to the Eagle 48-yard line, they were one big play from David Akers' field-goal range.

But Donovan McNabb threw two incompletions, then was sacked by Roy Williams and Dexter Coakley. While Williams wrapped up McNabb, Coakley knocked the ball loose, and La'Roi Glover recovered.

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