Luck threw for 109 yards and two picks before getting pulled.

By Peter Gleason

Maybe the NFL should investigate yesterday’s Dallas-Cowboys-Indianapolis Colts game.

Because for many Eagles fans it appeared the Colts did not show up for the game.


Isn’t there a rule in a league that seems to change them by the hour the requires two teams to play before one is declared the winner?

Actually, the Colts were in Dallas, but since they had nothing to gain by risking injuries to their key players they offered little resistance and the Cowboys won 42-7, ending the hanging-by-a-thread Eagles’ playoff chances

The Washington Redskins’ victory Saturday over the second-place Eagles gave the Cowboys their chance to clinch the division Sunday. The Cowboys (11-4) took full advantage, as Tony Romo completed 18 of 20 passes for 218 yards. He threw touchdown passes to four different receivers and surpassed Troy Aikman as the franchise’s career leader in passing yards.

“It’s just great to see the guys go out and play a really good football game when we needed it,” Romo said.

Romo was given most of the fourth quarter off as Coach Jason Garrett turned to backup quarterback Brandon Weeden. Tailback DeMarco Murray, playing six days after undergoing surgery for a fractured left hand, carried 22 times for 58 yards and added a rushing touchdown as the Cowboys sprinted to a 28-0 advantage in the second quarter and never looked back.

The Colts (10-5), who already had secured the AFC South title, offered practically no resistance. With standout wide receiver T.Y. Hilton on the inactive list because of a hamstring injury, quarterback Andrew Luck threw for just 109 yards with two interceptions before giving way to backup Matt Hasselbeck in the third quarter. The Colts trailed 42-0 before finally scoring with just less than 51/2 minutes remaining.

“When you go out and play like this, it’s a bad feeling,” Luck said. “Against a good team like the Cowboys, you aren’t going to survive those mistakes.”

The Cowboys qualified for the playoffs for the first time since the 2009 season, which also was the last time they won the NFC East.

“This is such a long journey,” Garrett said. “And to get to a point to achieve your first goal of winning the division title, a lot goes into that.”

There was little reason to believe entering the season that this would be a magical year for the Cowboys. The defense was historically bad last season, then lost linebacker DeMarcus Ware and lineman Jason Hatcher to offseason departures and linebacker Sean Lee to a knee injury suffered in a late-May practice. Romo was coming off back surgery in the offseason and settled into a pattern of taking off Wednesdays from practice-field preparations each week.

The Cowboys had gone 8-8 in each of the previous three seasons. They had lost three consecutive season finales with the division title at stake each time.

They signaled that things would be different this season when they followed an opening defeat at home to the San Francisco 49ers with six straight victories, riding the workhorse running of Murray behind a young and talented offensive line. Romo suffered a new back injury during a Monday night loss at home to the Redskins in late October, but he returned to the lineup after missing one game. When the Eagles came to Dallas and won convincingly on Thanksgiving, however, another late-season downward spiral seemed possible.

It didn’t happen this time. The Cowboys have righted themselves with three straight December wins, including an 11-point victory at Philly. When the Redskins beat the Eagles on Saturday at FedEx Field, it meant that the Cowboys had to win only one of their final two regular season games to secure the division crown.

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