ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles could be on track for an encore appearance at Cowboys Stadium in eight weeks.
The Cowboys long ago blew their opportunity to be the first team to play a Super Bowl in their home stadium. And now, after Vick and the NFC East-leading Eagles turned plenty of big plays into a 30-27 victory Sunday night, Dallas is assured its first losing record in six seasons.
“That’s the way it is. That’s not good. It doesn’t feel good,” owner Jerry Jones said outside the Cowboys locker room in his $1.2 billion showplace. “It makes it very hard to think of the good things that can happen.”
For the Cowboys (4-9), not Vick and the Eagles.
Philadelphia (9-4) has won five of its last six games and is a half-game ahead of the New York Giants (8-4) in the NFC East. New York plays its postponed and relocated game against Minnesota in Detroit on Monday night before hosting the Eagles next weekend.
The clincher against the Cowboys was Vick’s short pass to DeSean Jackson with less than 12 minutes left that turned into a 91-yard touchdown — the longest career play for both players — with a splashy ending that drew a penalty.
“I knew he was going to have an opportunity to get some yards. I knew I put the ball in the perfect location,” Vick said. “I just didn’t know he was going to take it 91 yards. … Basically won the game.”
Vick also threw a 60-yard pass to Jackson on the first play of the game. That was the longest this season against Dallas until Jackson later caught a ball near the sideline, sped past one safety, made another one fall and outran a diving cornerback. He stopped at the edge of the goal line, turned to face the defense and tipped over backward into the end zone for the tiebreaking score.
Jackson, who sprained his ankle on the 91-yarder, had four catches for 210 yards, third-most in franchise history. LeSean McCoy ran 16 times for a career-high 149 yards, including a 56-yarder that is the longest run against the Cowboys this season.
“Once we started rolling, we were rolling. We finished it. We put the foot on the gas and kept pushing away,” McCoy said. “We’ve got so many playmakers that can make plays when it’s time to.”
Philadelphia, which lost three times against Dallas last season, plays its division rival again in the regular season finale Jan. 2.
If they keep winning, the Eagles could be back Feb. 6 for the Super Bowl at Cowboys Stadium, where last January they lost on consecutive weekends — the 2009 regular season finale, then the first round of the playoffs when Vick was rarely on the field behind the since-departed Donovan McNabb.
Dallas fell behind in the opening minutes, yet kept it close and even led 20-14. But Philadelphia was relentless, dropping the Cowboys to 3-2 under interim coach Jason Garrett.
“We fought hard throughout this ballgame, it just wasn’t good enough at the end,” Garrett said.
Jackson’s performance helped mask an otherwise rocky outing by Vick, whose interceptions matched his season total and led to 10 points for Dallas. The Cowboys sacked him twice and blasted him with hard hits all night, including one that drew a penalty for a helmet-to-helmet hit.
Vick ran for a touchdown and was 16 of 26 for 270 yards. But take out Jackson’s numbers, and Vick’s other 12 completions produced 60 yards.
Jon Kitna was 24 of 35 for 242 yards for Dallas, with two TDs and two interceptions.
“You’re proud of how you fight. It doesn’t make me feel better about losing,” Kitna said. “We gave that team too many plays on the offensive side of the ball that you can’t recover from.”
Dallas got to 30-27 on a touchdown pass to Jason Witten with 4:22 left, but Philadelphia never gave the ball back. McCoy caught a 6-yard pass before runs of 12, 19 and 13 yards on consecutive carries. Then on third-and-1 after the 2-minute warning, he picked up 6 yards and Vick then kneeled twice to end it.
Eagles middle linebacker Stewart Bradley is expected to miss the rest of the regular season after he dislocated his right elbow in the second quarter.
Despite his disappointment with the season as a whole, Jones is encouraged by some things that have happened since Wade Phillips was fired when the Cowboys were 1-7 and already virtually out of the playoff chase at the season’s midpoint.
“I am pleased with how we are. I don’t know how I could stand here and say that after losing, as well as the overall record we’ve got,” Jones said. “But I was very pleased with how our team came back. … I was really impressed with how our team stayed in there and fought back right until the end. We’ll do some good if we keep that kind of focus and realize that we can win it at anytime.”
Though the best the Cowboys can finish now is 7-9, Jones said there are no plans to focus on younger players when they play their home finale next week against Washington before going to Arizona and Philadelphia.
“We want to go win those games and give us everybody we can to give us the best chance to win,” Jones said. “With what we’ve got ahead of us next year and the offseason, I think all of this is important to try to make every score and every down we can. It’s all important to me.”
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.