Cowboys' late run stuns Eagles

Dallas scores 2 TDs in 21 seconds, capped by Williams' pickoff

Cowboys 21, Eagles 20

November 15, 2005|By KEN MURRAY | KEN MURRAY,SUN REPORTER

PHILADELPHIA -- The meltdown of the Philadelphia Eagles continued last night when they lost a game, a quarterback and perhaps a season.

Giving up two touchdowns just 21 seconds apart in the fourth quarter, the defending NFC champions dropped a stunning 21-20 decision to the Dallas Cowboys at Lincoln Financial Field.

Down 20-7, the Cowboys launched their improbable comeback with 3:44 left in the game. Quarterback Drew Bledsoe finished off a four-play drive with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Terry Glenn to make it a one-possession game.

Then, when the Eagles were trying to run out the clock, quarterback Donovan McNabb threw a disastrous interception, and the Cowboys' Roy Williams returned it 46 yards for the decisive points.

The Cowboys added injury to insult when McNabb re-injured his sports hernia on Williams' return. McNabb played one more series, then gave way to backup Mike McMahon.

McMahon moved the Eagles to Dallas' 42, where, with four seconds left, David Akers attempted a 60-yard field goal.

The kick barely reached the end zone and was wide right.

An Eagles spokesman said McNabb was suffering from pain in his abdomen and his groin, and will have a magnetic resonance imaging today. He has played all season with that injury, putting off inevitable surgery.

The loss sent the Eagles (4-5) into last place in the NFC East, and allowed the Cowboys (6-3) to assume the division lead over the New York Giants (6-3) by virtue of their 16-13 win on Oct. 16.

Instead of a badly needed win in the wake of the Terrell Owens' debacle, the Eagles were reeling with their second straight loss since coach Andy Reid suspended the Pro Bowl wide receiver.

An arbitrator will hear the NFL Players Association's grievance on the suspension on Friday, which means Owens isn't going to leave the Eagles alone any time soon.

The game turned swiftly and dramatically just when it appeared the Eagles were in total control. They had stuffed the Cowboys' running game and held wide receiver Terry Glenn in check for 57 minutes.

Glenn had seven catches for 118 yards and two touchdowns in the Cowboys' 33-10 win over the Eagles on Oct. 9. He didn't get his first catch until 3:17 remaining last night, and soon after had the touchdown that got the Cowboys back in it.

"Football's an amazing sport," Eagles tight end Chad Lewis said. "Momentum can turn on one play."

In this case, the other shoe dropped with the Eagles trying to run out the clock. Leading 20-14, McNabb threw a terrible pass for Reggie Brown in what was explained as a mixed communication.

"It was a hitch route converted to a fly route," Reid said. "They had press coverage on the outside; we had a fly route out there."

Only McNabb threw the hitch, and never saw Williams, who picked it off cleanly at the Eagles' 46 and raced untouched down the sideline.

The Eagles had made a commitment to the running game last night with 36 rushes. But with the game on the line, Reid called for a pass and paid heavily.

"I think they were trying to run the clock out by moving the chains and getting first downs," Dallas coach Bill Parcells said. "In this league, I thought about throwing it on play action on second down when we had the ball in the last minute and 30 seconds."

McNabb completed 19 of 34 passes for 169 yards, with a passer rating of 57.1.

The Cowboys produced just 241 total yards and only 58 on the ground. Until the final three minutes, Bledsoe hit only one big pass play - a 58-yard throw to Peerless Price - that set up the Cowboys' first touchdown. He finished 17-for-24 for 196 yards, with a passer rating of 91.7.

ken.murray@baltsun.com

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