Eagles rally past Cowboys

The season is essentially over the Cowboys. It was always a long shot following the 1-7 start, but some crazy NFL math had them qualifying for the playoffs in a four-way tie if they somehow managed an 8-8 record.

Well, that nonsense ended with the Eagles' 30-27 victory at Cowboys Stadium. The inevitable is now the real as the Cowboys have been guaranteed their first losing season since going 6-10 under Bill Parcells in 2004.

They now have three more games to play out the string, starting Sunday against the Redskins. But while this is the end, it doesn't have the same bitter taste as it did early in the season.

The Cowboys entered the game with a 3-1 mark since Jason Garrett replaced Wade Phillips as head coach. Their play in the loss to the Eagles only gave the Cowboys more hope that they are headed in the right direction and on the right track.

Owner Jerry Jones can't make a coaching hire until he interviews at least one minority at the end of the season. But Garrett is clearly in the driver's seat to get the permanent job.

"It doesn't feel good and it makes it very hard to think of the good things that can happen," Jones said. "We've had five games (under Jason) and I like the way the team is feeling about themselves. Jason does deserve credit there. I have a lot of positive things that come to mind when I think of Jason."

The Cowboys say they are going to play the final three games to win. But they also must consider the future along the way.

Should injured quarterback Tony Romo be brought back to play if he gets cleared by team trainers? The Cowboys have always said they wanted to do that.

But that's when they still had hope of something to play for. With the slim hope of playoffs over, there is really no reason to risk further injury.

Still, the Cowboys need to decide if they want Romo or 38-year old Jon Kitna to keep the controls or whether they should evaluate third stringer Stephen McGee for the future.

The Cowboys could also make similar decisions at receiver and running back with Roy Williams and Marion Barber, respectively.

Jones said the Cowboys are going to continue to play to win.

"We want to win," Jones said. "We didn't do that tonight, and we want to go win those games, we got out of here pretty lucky tonight with no injuries. But I want to put anybody we can out there to help us win the game."

Why?

"So we feel good about what we're doing," Jones said. "It's important to me that our fans can see that there's something potentially to feel good about."

LINEUP WATCH: Kevin Ogletree caught more passes and was targeted more than veteran Roy Williams against the Eagles. Look for that trend to continue over the final three games as the Cowboys evaluate for the future.

TRENDING: In five games under Garrett as head coach and offensive coordinator, the Cowboys have run more than passed three times. All three were wins.

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