Cowboys claim East
• Photo gallery: NFL Football - Week 17
By Jaime Aron
ARLINGTON, Texas — For an entire year, the Dallas Cowboys have had to deal with the fallout from a crushing, season-ending loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Now it is the Eagles' turn — for this week, at least.
Tony Romo threw a pair of early touchdown passes and the defense took over from there, carrying Dallas to a 24-0 victory over Philadelphia yesterday that was filled with milestones for the Cowboys, the most important being that they won the NFC East and will host a rematch in the first round of the playoffs on Saturday.
Some of the other good stuff for Dallas: Posting consecutive shutouts for the first time in team history, having a winning record after Dec. 1 for the first time since 1996 and ending a nine-game losing streak in season finales.
With all that's going their way, perhaps the Cowboys (11-5) can finally win a playoff game for the first time since 1996.
"This ballclub has done a good job of putting its best foot forward when it has to," said Romo, who was 24 of 34 for 311 yards. "We haven't arrived and we haven't accomplished anything. This is a step in the process to continue to get to where we want to go."
Since opening December with consecutive losses, Dallas has won three straight, knocking off the Saints when they were 13-0, then shutting out Washington on the road and now blanking the powerful Eagles (11-5).
Philadelphia came in having already set the franchise scoring record and riding a six-game winning streak during which it averaged 31.2 points per game. The Eagles still had a lot to play for because a victory would've locked up the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye.
The loss sinks them all the way to the sixth seed.
"I didn't expect to come down here and play like this," said tight end Brent Celek, who led Philadelphia with seven catches for 96 yards.
Donovan McNabb threw for 223 yards and the Eagles gained just 228 overall. The Cowboys had 291 yards by halftime, on their way to gaining 474.
PHILADELPHIA 0 0 0 0— 0
DALLAS 7 10 7 0—24
Dal—Witten 10 pass from Romo (Suisham kick), 10:35.
Dal—Crayton 14 pass from Romo (Suisham kick), 6:18.
Dal—FG Suisham 44, 1:04.
Dal—Jones 49 run (Suisham kick), 5:46.
First downs 10 21
Total Net Yards 228 474
Rushes-yards 10-37 32-179
Passing 191 295
Punt Returns 2-9 4-24
Kickoff Returns 1-17 0-0
Interceptions Ret. 1-6 0-0
Comp-Att-Int 20-36-0 24-34-1
Sacked-Yards Lost 4-32 2-16
Punts 7-45.7 3-50.7
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 0-0
Penalties-Yards 6-58 11-80
Time of Possession 19:37 40:23
RUSHING—Philadelphia, Westbrook 5-17, McNabb 2-8, D.Jackson 1-6, McCoy 1-4, Weaver 1-2. Dallas, Jones 15-91, Barber 14-91, Romo 3-(minus 3).
PASSING—Philadelphia, McNabb 20-36-0-223. Dallas, Romo 24-34-1-311.
RECEIVING—Philadelphia, Celek 7-96, Westbrook 4-20, D.Jackson 3-47, Maclin 3-47, McCoy 2-5, Avant 1-8. Dallas, Austin 7-90, Witten 6-76, Crayton 4-99, Jones 3-3, Phillips 2-14, Ogletree 1-15, Barber 1-14.
MISSED FIELD GOALS—Philadelphia, Akers 53 (WL). Dallas, Suisham 30 (WL).