Dak Prescott has career day as Cowboys stomp Eagles in regular-season finale

By Clarence E. Hill Jr.

PHILADELPHIA — Meaningless, huh?

How about record-setting and momentum building?

Choose how you want to view the Dallas Cowboys’ 51-26 victory against the Philadelphia Eagles in the regular-season finale at Lincoln Financial Field.

Sure, it came against an Eagles team that played without 16 starters due to injury or COVID-19, turning the matchup into a glorified preseason game.

The Eagles (9-7) had already clinched a playoff spot as a wild-card team and were content with their seeding.

But the Cowboys — who played without five starters, including three Pro Bowlers in linebacker Micah Parsons (COVID-19), left tackle Tyron Smith (COVID-19) and cornerback Trevon Diggs (illness), along with safety Jayron Kearse (COVID-19) and cornerback Anthony Brown (COVID-19) — are only accountable for themselves.

They entered the game with clear goals of developing some chemistry and continuity on offense, winning a 12th game of the season, while sweeping the NFC East, and building some momentum for the playoffs.

After a disappointing performance in a 25-22 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, the Cowboys (12-5) also hoped to put themselves in position to move up in the playoff seeding if things somehow fell their way with some favorable outcomes on Sunday.

The undefeated NFC East Champions are currently the fourth seed but could move up to the second or third seed.

It was mission accomplished for the Cowboys in a game for record books for the offense, which set a new franchise record for points in a season with 530 and quarterback Dak Prescott, who set a new franchise record for touchdown passes in a season.

And when Jaquan Hardy scored on a 22-yard run in the fourth quarter, it marked the 22nd different Cowboys players to score this season, setting a new NFL record while also allowing the Cowboys to top the 50-point mark for the second time in their last three games.

They beat Washington 56-14 on Dec. 26.

Prescott completed 21 of 27 passes for 295 yards and five touchdowns passes, giving him a career-high 37 on the season, surpassing Tony Romo’s previous single-season team record of 36 set in 2007.

Prescott set it in 17 games while Romo did it in 16. But it’s still a new record for touchdowns in a season.

It was his eighth game with three-or-more touchdowns this season, a franchise record for the most three-plus passing touchdown games.

He tossed two to receiver Cedrick Wilson, two to tight end Dalton Schultz and the final one to running back Corey Clement in the fourth quarter to make the score 37-20.

Wilson finished with six touchdowns on the season, joining Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb and Schultz as Cowboys to have at least six touchdown catches.

This is the first time in franchise history that Dallas has had four players with at least six touchdown catches in a season.

The biggest joy came for running back Ezekiel Elliott, who came into the game with 915 yards and hoped to top the 1,000-yard barrier for the fourth time in his career and first time since 2019.

Elliott had been battling a knee injury since October and had not had more than 52 yards in the previous 10 games, but that was before rushing 18 times for 87 yards against the Eagles.

Elliott sat after reaching his goal, allowing Clement, Ito Smith and Jaquan Hardy to finish up at running back in the fourth quarter.

All three scored, allowing the Cowboys top the record for most points and different players scoring in a season.

Now, the Cowboys have a day to wait and hope before their playoff opponent is determined.

The Cowboys need losses by the Arizona Cardinals, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Los Angeles Rams to move up the second seed and losses by the Cardinals and Rams to move to the third seed.

The time and date of their wild-card playoff game will be set Sunday night. It could be next Saturday, Sunday or Monday.

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