PHILADELPHIA (AP) – If Jerry Jones is still considering coaching candidates, this might help Jason Garrett’s case.
Stephen McGee threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Jason Witten with 55 seconds left to lead the Dallas Cowboys to a 14-13 victory over the NFC East champion Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.
Michael Vick 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, led the Cowboys on a 54-yard scoring drive and helped them end a dismal season on a positive note.
Garrett went 5-3 after replacing Wade Phillips at midseason. 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 before the game he has yet to decide if he’ll remove the interim head coach tag from Garrett and give him the job. The team owner told the team’s website that he hasn’t interviewed any candidates. 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.
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 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 to Washington. But he sustained a concussion in Week 1 and Vick played so well that Kolb never reclaimed his job.
This was far different than the past two years when these teams met on the last day of the regular season with so much at stake.
In 2008, a wild-card berth was on the line. The Eagles beat Dallas 44-6 and ended up reaching the NFC championship game. Last year, the division title was the prize. The Cowboys won 24-0 and eliminated Philadelphia with a 34-14 win the following week in the playoffs.
David Akers 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 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.
Dallas tied it at 7 in the second quarter when DeMarcus Ware returned a fumble 17 yards for a touchdown. Anthony Spencer 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, 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 and center Mike McGlynn — and two on defense — cornerback Dimitri Patterson and linebacker Moise Fokou.
Maclin needed 36 yards receiving to give the Eagles two players with 1,000 yards — DeSean Jackson is the other — for the first time in team history. He played briefly and had no catches.
McGlynn entered late in the first quarter when guard Max Jean-Gilles hurt his left ankle.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)