So Close

PHILADELPHIA- The Philadelphia Eagles completed an undefeated record against the NFC East by defeating the Dallas Cowboys 12-7. <BR>

Terrell Owens may have to wait until the postseason to do any more end zone celebrations.

Owens suffered what appeared to be a serious right ankle injury but the Philadelphia Eagles clinched home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs with a lackluster 12-7 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.

One of the game's elite wide receivers who is known for his exuberant touchdown celebrations and for transforming the Eagles into an explosive offense, Owens was injured on the second play from scrimmage in the third quarter after being tackled from behind by hard-hitting safety Roy Williams.

"He'll have an MRI in the morning," Eagles coach Andy Reid said of Owens, who did not meet with the media. "We'll see how the MRI goes, but the positive is that it wasn't broken. The negative is that it did swell up."

Owens, who leads the NFL with 14 receiving touchdowns, had his leg get caught in the turf after he was collared by Williams. Owens limped to the sidelines before being helped to the locker room, where X-rays were negative.

"I think, for all of us, it was kind of a wakeup call," Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb said. "A man goes down, someone else has to step up. One thing we have to understand is that we have been to three NFC championships without T.O."

Owens left the game with two receptions for 24 yards. He reached the 1,200-yard mark in receiving for the fourth time in his career.

"You don't want guys hurt," Reid said. "That's the bottom line, but things happen and you move on."

Playing poorly before Owens got hurt, the Eagles (13-1) sputtered without him before Donovan McNabb engineered a late nine-play, 64-yard drive.

On the winning drive, McNabb had consecutive runs of 12 and 19 yards, moving the Eagles to the Cowboys 20.

"I can't say enough good things about (McNabb)," Reid said. "He put us right on his back and we went. That's what makes him such a great player."

McNabb then came through with his arm with an 11-yard completion to speedy running back Brian Westbrook on a 3rd-and-9 play to the Dallas 8.

After Dorsey Levens ran for six yards, the veteran running back capped the drive with a two-yard TD plunge, giving the Eagles a 12-7 lead with 1:57 remaining.

"This is big for me," Levens said. "At my age and being at this point in my career, I wanted to play with a team that can win."

McNabb had struggled before the winning drive. He went 20-of-35 for 223 yards with a touchdown, two interceptions and lost a fumble deep in his own territory which set up the Cowboys' only touchdown.

"I think what we've shown the last two weeks is the fact that we continue to fight, no matter what the situation is," McNabb said.

Westbrook had eight catches for 78 yards for the Eagles, who have homefield for the third straight season. Of course it has not mattered the last two seasons when the Eagles lost the NFC championship game. They have lost the last three title games.

"We always want to play at home because we have the best fans in the NFL," said Westbrook, who leads all NFL running backs with 73 receptions. "It is still important as a team to play hard and keep that momentum and rhythm going into the playoffs."

Vinny Testaverde's hopes of engineering a winning drive for the Cowboys ended when he was intercepted by cornerback Lito Sheppard inside Philadelphia territory with 1:33 remaining.

"We had opportunities to put the game away at times," Testaverde said. "It's been the same all year. We've made mistakes when we had opportunities to win the game. It's a frustrating feeling."

Testaverde threw a seven-yard touchdown pass to Keyshawn Johnson late in the first half for the Cowboys (5-9), whose postseason hopes all but ended.

"I would assume after this game that we should be canceled out," Johnson said. "I do not think we could go into the playoffs at 7-9, but stranger things have happened. I think right now, we just have to worry about Washington (next week)."

With a chance to increase the Cowboys' 7-6 lead, Billy Cundiff missed a 46-yard field goal with 6:04 remaining in the fourth quarter.

"That was a really big play in the game," Cowboys coach Bill Parcells said. "It would have forced (Philadelphia) to go in and score under a little different set of circumstances because time would have been against them."

McNabb tossed a two-yard touchdown pass to tight end Chad Lewis early in the second quarter for Philadelphia, which beat Dallas for the ninth time in 10 meetings while setting a franchise record for wins in a season.

The Eagles also finished 6-0 against NFC East opponents and improved to 11-0 overall against teams from the NFC.

Cowboys tight end Jason Witten had six catches for 66 yards. His 73 receptions for the season broke the club mark previously held by Jay Novacek with 68 in 1992.

"It's disappointing," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. "It would have really helped our team in the future to win this ballgame."

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