The main goal was achieved – nobody was injured.
The final score was obviously secondary. As expected, the 27-13 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles had the feel of a preseason game. With the Dallas Cowboys having already locked up the division crown as well as home-field advantage through the NFC playoffs, they used the opportunity to rest many of their players.
Out due to injury were Tyron Smith and Ron Leary along the offensive line as well as Terrell McClain and Tyrone Crawford on the defensive front, among many others. The team also decided to rest running back Ezekiel Elliott and defensive co-captain Sean Lee, as neither player ever stepped foot on the field.
The only real excitement for Cowboys fans in this one may have been whether or not Tony Romo would play in the game. He did, making his first appearance of the regular season.
Dak Prescott started the game, of course, and guided Dallas on its first two series, the second of which ended with a 49-yard field goal by Dan Bailey that tied the game at the time, 3-3. The rookie quarterback's day was done after that, Prescott having completed 4-of-8 passes for 37 yards with another run for 9 more.
On came Romo and while his afternoon wasn't much longer, the veteran was nothing short of brilliant. His lone series saw him complete 3-of-4 passes for 29 yards as he marched the Cowboys 81 yards to paydirt in six plays.
[embeddedad0]And if this year is indeed Romo's last with the Cowboys, as some have speculated, he certainly ended his tenure in perfect fashion. His final throw was a pass to Terrance Williams in the left corner of the end zone for a touchdown.
After that, not only was Romo done for the day, but so too were the likes of Jason Witten and Dez Bryant. Mark Sanchez finished things out, marking the first time since Nov. 12, 1995 that the Cowboys had three quarterbacks attempt a pass in the same game. Wade Wilson, Troy Aikman and Jason Garrett were the three behind center in that 38-20 loss to San Francisco.
Similarly, the Cowboys came up short in this one as well. The Eagles tied things up with just 10 seconds remaining in the half, the two teams going into the break even, 10-10, after Carson Wentz found tight end Zach Ertz on a 6-yard end zone toss
With even more starters taking a seat as the second half got underway – notably Barry Church, Orlando Scandrick and Brandon Carr in the secondary – there was nothing really left to do, but hope everyone finished the day unscathed.
Sanchez didn't exactly make a case for himself being the back up next year as he went on to complete 9-of-17 passes for 85, no touchdowns and two interceptions, both of which were recorded by Cowboy killer Jordan Hicks. Dallas mustered only a field goal over the final two quarters, Bailey good from 23 yards on the team's first possession of the second half.
The Eagles, though, got another touchdown from Ertz in the third quarter, then added a field goal and a final score in the fourth to secure the victory. Ertz, especially, proved to be a handful for the Cowboys, as he totaled 13 catches for 139 receiving yards. The rookie Wentz produced 245 yards off of 27-of-43 passing and had the two scoring tosses.
With the defeat, the Cowboys finished the regular season with a 13-3 record, tying for the most wins in team history. They'll now enjoy a bye in the first round of the playoffs before hosting a divisional round game on the weekend of Jan. 14-15.
View some of our favorite photos from the Cowboys game against the Philadelphia Eagles on January 1, 2017.