Philadelphia — Dez Bryant went after Malcolm Jenkins in warm-ups and ran away from the rest of Philadelphia’s secondary and into the end zone the rest of the night.
Bryant caught a career-best three touchdown catches from Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys rallied to beat the Eagles 38-27 on Sunday night after wasting a 21-0 lead.
DeMarco Murray had a pair of TD runs to help the Cowboys (10-4) move ahead of the Eagles (9-5) into first place in the NFC East. The Eagles dominated the Cowboys in a 33-10 road win on Thanksgiving, but Dallas takes control of the division with two weeks left.
“Just came out poised. I was focused,” Bryant said. “We knew that this game was going to be big. We’re not really out trying to prove nothing to nobody. We’re trying to stay together, play together and understand from here on out it’s big games. We’ve got to stay together. We’ve got to block everybody else out. We can’t be in to all of that.”
The NFC-leading Arizona Cardinals (11-3) clinched a playoff berth because the game didn’t end in a tie.
The Cowboys took a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter before Philadelphia rallied behind Mark Sanchez.
Chris Polk had TD runs of 1 and 5 yards and Darren Sproles ran in from the 1 to give the Eagles a 24-21 lead late in third quarter. But Romo and the Cowboys answered quickly with two touchdowns in a 2:51 span.
Murray scored on a 2-yard run to cap a 78-yard drive. After J.J. Wilcox intercepted Sanchez’s pass, the Cowboys started the fourth quarter at the Eagles 42. Romo then hit Bryant in stride for a 25-yard scoring pass.
“Having a guy like Dez makes it easy to throw to spots that he can go get it,” Romo said. “Just lucky to have him.”
Bryant couldn’t wait for this game after being held to 73 yards on four catches in the first meeting. After that game, he called Philadelphia’s secondary “cheap” and he had a heated exchange with Jenkins before the game. Bryant came back twice after Jenkins walked away and it wasn’t known why they argued.
“Just great competitors going at it, that’s all,” Bryant said.
Bryant finished with six receptions for 114 yards. He beat cornerback Bradley Fletcher on each of the TDs.
“I just had a terrible game,” Fletcher said.
Romo threw for 265 yards and Murray ran for 81 on 31 carries.
Sanchez had 252 yards passing and two interceptions. LeSean McCoy was held to 64 yards rushing.
“I didn’t play well enough to win and that’s why we lost,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez completed a 72-yard catch-and-run pass to Jeremy Maclin on third-and-12 to the Cowboys 1 before Polk ran in to get the Eagles to 21-17.
Vinny Curry then sacked Romo and forced a fumble that was recovered by Fletcher Cox at the Cowboys 14. Sproles scored to give Philadelphia a brief 24-21 lead.
The Eagles had won 10 straight regular-season games at home before losing to Seattle and Dallas for their first consecutive losses since Weeks 7 and 8 in 2013.
After Romo threw a 26-yard TD pass to Bryant early in the second quarter, the Cowboys had outscored the Eagles 21-0 and outgained them 167-0. Curry sacked Romo on third down two plays before the TD pass, but a holding call on Cary Williams kept the drive going.
The Cowboys recovered what ended up being an onside kick to start the game. A short kickoff bounced between deep returner Josh Huff and short man Brad Smith at the 15 and was recovered by C.J. Spillman at the Eagles 18.
Murray then ran in from the 1 to make it 7-0.
“We can’t turn the football over and expect to win games,” Eagles coach Chip Kelly said. “We’re not coaching it and we’re not doing the right things.”
Bryant caught a 4-yard TD pass to put Dallas up 14-0.
The start was the opposite of the first meeting when the Eagles steamrolled the Cowboys on their way to a convincing win. The Cowboys bounced back from that loss with a win at Chicago last Thursday night and had three extra days to prepare for the rematch.
The Eagles beat the Cowboys last year in a winner-take-division game at Dallas in Week 17. Romo missed that game after having back surgery.
(At) New England 41, Miami 13: New England clinched the AFC East title for the sixth straight season as Tom Brady (Michigan) threw two touchdown passes in a big third quarter.
Leading 14-13 at halftime, the Patriots scored on four consecutive series while piling up 24 points, the most in any third period in team history.
“Everything starts with winning your division,” Patriots safety Devin McCourty said. “We wanted to win big.”
New England (11-3) can secure home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs by beating the Jets and Bills.
The Dolphins (7-7) cut the lead to one point at halftime on Ryan Tannehill’s 32-yard touchdown pass to Mike Wallace.
Denver 22, (at) San Diego 10: Peyton Manning played through a thigh injury and flu-like symptoms and Connor Barth kicked five field goals to lead Denver to its fourth straight AFC West title.
Denver’s second possession of the second half, Manning threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas to give the Broncos a 16-3 lead.
The Broncos (11-3) won their fourth straight.
Denver’s 12th straight division road win tied San Francisco’s NFL record set from 1987-90.
The Chargers (8-6) have lost two straight and dropped out of the wild-card picture.
(At) Indianapolis 17, Houston 10: Andrew Luck threw two touchdown passes and the Colts won their second straight AFC South title. Indianapolis (10-4) has won four straight.
“This never gets old. This feeling never gets old,” Colts receiver Reggie Wayne said.
Luck was 18 of 34 with 187 yards and one interception.
The Texans (7-7) took a 7-0 lead on Kendrick Lewis’ 27-yard interception return. Luck tied it with a 26-yard pass to Hakeem Nicks. Luck hooked up with Dwayne Allen on a 3-yard pass to make it 14-7 before halftime. Indy sealed it with a late field goal.
Pittsburgh 27, (at) Atlanta 20: Ben Roethlisberger threw for 360 yards and William Gay returned an interception for a touchdown as Pittsburgh (9-5) remained a half-game behind Cincinnati in the AFC North with its second straight win.
“I’m a guy who never wants to have a losing season,” Roethlisberger said. “Eight gets you a non-losing season. We got nine, and we’re going for 10 now.”
The Falcons (5-9) ensured themselves of a losing season and slipped out of first place in the NFC South.
Pittsburgh led 13-0 after Gay picked off Matt Ryan’s pass over the middle on the first play of the second quarter, returning it 52 yards. The Steelers extended the lead to 27-13 with Le’Veon Bell’s 1-yard run in the opening minute of the fourth quarter.
(At) Baltimore 20, Jacksonville 12: The Ravens sacked rookie Blake Bortles eight times and returned a blocked punt for a touchdown.
Baltimore (9-5) scored just once with its offense on the field. But the defense was solid, and special teams helped the Ravens stay in the thick of the AFC playoff chase.
Terrell Suggs was credited with 21/2 sacks and rookie Timmy Jernigan, starting for the suspended Haloti Ngata, had two.
Jacksonville (2-12) tried just about everything in its bid to pull off an upset, including an onside kick and a fake punt. Both worked.
(At) Carolina 19, Tampa Bay 17: Derek Anderson threw for 277 yards and a touchdown and Graham Gano kicked four field goals for the Panthers.
The win, coupled with Atlanta’s loss to Pittsburgh, put the Panthers (5-8-1) into first place in the NFC South by percentage points over the Saints.
“It’s pretty crazy,” Panthers tight end Greg Olsen said. “But we’re not going to apologize for it.”
Anderson was 25 of 40 and improved to 2-0 as a starter in place of Cam Newton, sidelined while recovering from a car accident Tuesday that left him with two fractures in his lower back.
Josh McCown threw a touchdown pass and ran for another for the Bucs (2-11).
(At) Kansas City 31, Oakland 13: Alex Smith threw for 297 yards and two scores, Knile Davis had touchdowns running and receiving, and De’Anthony Thomas returned a punt 81 yards for another score as the Chiefs (8-6) got even for a 24-20 loss to Oakland (2-12) last month.
The Chiefs led 10-6 early in the third quarter before scoring three touchdowns in 4 minutes, 42 seconds. The last was a 70-yard throw from Smith to Davis.
Derek Carr was sacked four times and fumbled a snap that led to a Kansas City touchdown.
(At) N.Y. Giants 24, Washington 13: Eli Manning threw three touchdown passes to rookie Odell Beckham Jr. and the Giants took advantage of an overturned touchdown at the end of the half.
The win was the second straight for the Giants (5-9) after seven consecutive losses.
The Redskins (3-11) blew a touchdown and command of the game on a fumble by Robert Griffin III as time expired at the end of the first half. Griffin scrambled for an apparent 8-yard touchdown for a 17-7 lead, diving over the pylon, then running on to the field and spiking the ball with emphasis.
A video review by referee Jeff Triplette determined that Griffin lost control of the ball diving over the pylon and the play was ruled a touchback.
N.Y. Jets 16, (at) Tennessee 11: Chris Ivory scored on a 1-yard touchdown run with 3:09 left, and the Jets (3-11) got their first road win this season in the first NFL game to end with a 16-11 score. They also ended a three-game skid.
Geno Smith threw for 179 yards and a TD. He also was apparently hit by Titans defensive tackle Jurrell Casey, starting a brawl in the third quarter. Casey was flagged, but not ejected.
The Titans (2-12) now have lost eight straight.