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McGee’s late TD lifts Cowboys over Eagles 14-13
By ROB MAADDI, AP Pro Football Writer Monday, Jan 3, 2011

PHILADELPHIA (AP)—By the time Jason Garrett leaves the office Monday, he may have a new title.

Stephen McGee(notes) threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Jason Witten(notes) with 55 seconds left to lift the Dallas Cowboys to a 14-13 victory over the NFC East champion Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.

Will the latest win be enough for owner Jerry Jones to remove the interim label and make Garrett the full-time head coach?

“I think I could make the decision tonight, but I may just have to wait till the morning,” Jones said. “We should have a decision on the coach before the end of the week.”

Garrett went 5-3 after replacing Wade Phillips at midseason, and he had plenty of support from his players.

“He demands a lot from the coaches and it is that commitment that allows us to be at our best and to play our best football and ultimately that is what it is about,” Witten said.

Michael Vick(notes) and nearly every starter didn’t play in a game that had no effect on Philadelphia’s playoff positioning. The Eagles (10-6) are locked into the No. 3 seed and will host Green Bay in a wild-card game next Sunday.

The Cowboys (6-10) were playing for jobs next year. The Eagles were playing to stay healthy for next week.

Still, Dallas struggled against a bunch of backups and seldom-used reserves — until the final drive.

McGee, making his first career start for an injured Jon Kitna(notes), led the Cowboys on a 54-yard scoring drive and helped them end a dismal season on a positive note.

The Cowboys have come a long way since a horrific 1-7 start to a season that began with them having aspirations of becoming the first team to play in a Super Bowl in its home city.

Jones said after the game he has yet to decide if Garrett will get the job. Jones wants to interview wide receivers coach Ray Sherman, which would satisfy the league’s rule about interviewing minority candidates. Jones also would consider speaking to candidates outside the organization. He said he won’t require an interview with Garrett.

“I would absolutely love to be this team’s coach,” Garrett said.

The Cowboys’ three losses under Garrett have been by a total of seven points.

On a rainy day at the Linc, a few thousand empty seats made it seem more like a preseason game. Fans lacked their typical enthusiasm and most of the familiar names were in street clothes or on the bench.

Kevin Kolb(notes) threw a touchdown pass and had three interceptions filling in for Vick. He was sacked six times. Kolb began the season as the starter after the Eagles traded Donovan McNabb(notes) to Washington. But he sustained a concussion in Week 1 and Vick played so well that Kolb never reclaimed his job.

“It obviously could’ve been a lot better, but at least if the situation comes where I have to go back in there, you know, you feel like you knocked some of that (rust) off,” Kolb said.

David Akers(notes) kicked a 43-yard field goal in the opening minute of the fourth quarter to give the Eagles a 10-7 lead.

After David Buehler(notes) missed a 52-yarder wide right with 9:45 left, Akers made one from 22 to make it 13-7.

But McGee made some clutch throws in the final minutes to rally the Cowboys.

“I think he handled himself good in a tough environment,” injured Cowboys starter Tony Romo(notes) said of McGee.

Dallas tied it at 7 in the second quarter when DeMarcus Ware(notes) returned a fumble 17 yards for a touchdown. Anthony Spencer(notes) stripped Kolb, who was scrambling, and Ware picked the ball up and ran untouched into the end zone.

Kolb made a Vick-like escape to toss a 4-yard TD pass to Chad Hall, giving the Eagles a 7-0 lead on the first play of the second quarter. Kolb avoided pressure in the pocket, started to scramble, then stopped and found Hall, who made his first career TD catch.

With that score, the Eagles set a franchise record for points in a season. They finished with 439 this year. It’s the third straight season they set a new mark.

The Eagles used only two starters on offense—wide receiver Jeremy Maclin(notes) and center Mike McGlynn(notes)—and two on defense—cornerback Dimitri Patterson(notes) and linebacker Moise Fokou(notes).

“I think it’s the right thing to do for us,” coach Andy Reid said about resting his starters. “Other people do it other ways, but that’s what I believe in. It gives everybody an opportunity to rest up, in particular in the short amount of time that we have here.”

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Dallas
S. McGee Stephen McGee QB
11-27, 127 yds
1 TD
 Philadelphia
C. Hall Chad Hall WR
6 Rec, 84 yds
1 TD

Team Stat Leaders

Passing Yards
Rushing Yards
Receiving Yards

Scoreboard

Preseason