Romo throws 2 TDs, Cowboys score on 5 consecutive drives to lead Eagles 27-7 at halftime

By Stephen Hawkins, AP
Saturday, January 9, 2010

Cowboys lead Eagles 27-7 at halftime

ARLINGTON, Texas — Tony Romo threw for 203 yards with two touchdowns and the Dallas Cowboys had a 27-7 halftime lead Saturday night over the Philadelphia Eagles, whose score came on a 76-yard pass thrown by Michael Vick.

Dallas, going for its first playoff victory in 13 years, scored on five consecutive possessions after a scoreless first quarter in the first playoff game at the new $1.2 billion Cowboys Stadium.

Romo threw a 6-yard TD pass to Miles Austin with 1:55 left in the half for a 24-7 lead. That ended a three-play, 18-yard drive set up by a fumbled handoff exchange between Vick and fullback Leonard Weaver.

Weaver fumbled on the next drive as well, loosing the ball after catching a short pass from Donovan McNabb. That set up Shaun Suisham’s 48-yard field goal.

The only other snap taken by Vick resulted in the long touchdown play, when he faked a handoff, swung to the left and threw a pass that Jeremy Maclin caught near midfield after slipping away from cornerback Mike Jenkins. Maclin sprinted to the end zone for the longest pass in Vick’s career — and the longest ever given up by Dallas in a playoff game.

That touchdown accounted for 76 of the Eagles’ 140 total yards in the first half. Dallas had 259.

Vick’s touchdown pass came two plays after Romo’s 1-yard TD pass to tight end John Phillips, set up by a 40-yard pass interference penalty against Sheldon Brown.

The Eagles thought they had the ball back when Romo’s pass was tipped at the line and Sean Jones made a tumbling play to get it. But Cowboys coach Wade Phillips threw out a challenge flag, and replay showed that the ball hit the ground before Jones popped the ball up to himself, got up and ran it back to the 15.

After Dallas kept the ball, Patrick Crayton had an 18-yard catch on third-and-9, and Roy Williams picked up 17 yards to the Eagles 19 on third-and-7. Jason Witten took an 18-yard pass to inside the 1, and Tashard Choice then plunged in for the score.

Austin had a 36-yard catch on the next drive, when Dallas settled for a 25-yard field goal.

This is the 79th time that teams have met for the third time in a season. Only 18 teams completed three-game sweeps, something Dallas was trying to do after beating the Eagles twice in the regular season — including 24-0 only six days earlier at Cowboys Stadium.

The Cowboys’ victory last weekend clinched the NFC East title and ended the Eagles’ six-game winning streak in which they had averaged 31 points a game. Philadelphia wound up the No. 6 seed instead of No. 2 with a first-round bye as they would have gotten by beating the Cowboys.

Philadelphia made it to the NFC championship game as the No. 6 seed last year.

Going into Saturday night, the Eagles had won their first game in seven consecutive postseason appearances since Andy Reid became coach and McNabb their quarterback in 1999. Philadelphia won 10 playoff games in that span — Dallas none.

Dallas didn’t score on the opening drive for the first time in four games, even though Kevin Ogletree got into the end zone on a 17-yard play that was nullified when Jason Witten was called for pass interference. Witten was blocking ahead of the screen pass to the right.

The Cowboys had gotten that deep after Jones turned a short pass into a 30-yard gain, leaping over a defender along the sideline at the 25 and tiptoeing another 11 yards before finally losing his balance and falling out of bounds.

Two plays after the nullified touchdown, Witten was called for illegal motion, then Romo was sacked and had an incompletion. The Cowboys punted on fourth-and-32 from the Eagles 36.

will not be displayed