Five Eagles-Cowboys games to remember; five to forget

Safety Brian Dawkins had a monster game against the Dallas Cowboys in the 2008 season finale that clinched a playoff spot for the Eagles. Yong Kim/ Staff Photographer

Second part of a three-part package. Read the first part on the history of the Eagles-Cowboys rivalry from it’s origin here.

Here are five of the most memorable Eagles victories during the first 57 years of their rivalry with the Cowboys. The Cowboys lead the series, 65-51, including a 3-1 record in the postseason.

Jan. 11, 1981, Veterans Stadium

Eagles 20, Cowboys 7

The Eagles and Cowboys have met four times in the postseason, and this was the first and most important meeting because a trip to Super Bowl XV was on the line. Game-time temperature was 12 degrees with a wind chill of minus-3. Eagles coach Dick Vermeil remembers his pregame speech like it was yesterday.

“I told them there was no freaking way the Dallas Cowboys were going to beat us today,” Vermeil said during a recent phone interview. “I knew we were going to kick their ass.”

Vermeil’s close friend, George Allen, the former coach of the Los Angeles Rams and Washington Redskins, was an invited locker room guest and was suitably impressed by Vermeil’s speech and the mood of the players.

“As we walked out of the locker room, George pulled me aside and told me, ‘I’ve never seen a group of players more ready to win,’ ” Vermeil said.

The wave of emotion culminated with a 42-yard touchdown run by Wilbert Montgomery in the first quarter as the Eagles went on to a 20-7 victory before losing to the Oakland Raiders in the franchise’s first Super Bowl appearance.

Dec. 28, 2008, Lincoln Financial Field

Eagles 44, Cowboys 6

It was a warm day in December – 62 degrees – but the unseasonable temperature was not nearly as strange as the afternoon’s turn of events. The Eagles, after a devastating loss the week before at Washington, arrived for work on life support. They were a 25-1 shot to get in the playoffs. They needed Tampa Bay, a 13-point favorite, to lose at home to Oakland and Chicago to lose on the road to Houston. The Bucs blew a 10-point fourth-quarter lead, and the Texans beat the Bears, turning the season finale between the Eagles and Cowboys into a postseason play-in game.

With the game tied at 3-3 after the first quarter, the Eagles reeled off 41 straight points in what remains their most lopsided win ever over the Cowboys.

“I might go to [Atlantic City] tonight and put a lot of money on black,” Eagles guard Todd Herremans said afterward. “The stars are aligning.”

Sept. 3, 2000, Texas Stadium

Eagles 41, Cowboys 14

This season opener down in Irving, Texas, became known as the Pickle Juice Game. The Eagles credited that briny liquid as helping them deal with the 109-degree game time temperature. It could have also been called the Onside Kick Game because coach Andy Reid ordered special teams coach John Harbaugh to open the season with that surprising move. Eagles defensive back Dameane  Douglas recovered the kick, and it triggered a rout of the Cowboys that served as the springboard for the Eagles’ first of nine playoff appearances under Reid. Duce Staley accounted for 262 yards – 201 rushing and 61 receiving – in the victory.

Oct. 25, 1987, Veterans Stadium

Eagles 37, Cowboys 20

After Cowboys coach Tom Landry inserted some of his veterans who had crossed the picket line to play with the replacement players during a 41-22 Dallas victory two weeks earlier, Eagles coach Buddy Ryan seethed and took note of it. After that game, he said, “I’m just looking forward to [the Cowboys’] butts coming to Philadelphia. I’ll tell you that. … I want to play them with the real Eagles and get after them. You can tell them that.”

The strike was over two weeks later, and with the rematch in hand, on the Eagles’ final possession, Ryan ordered Cunningham to throw to Mike Quick in the end zone with just 11 seconds remaining. A pass interference call was followed by a Keith Byars touchdown run, and Ryan was damn proud of the final score and the final touchdown.

“That last touchdown was very satisfying,” Ryan said. “I guess the old cliche, ‘What goes around comes around,’ is probably true.”

Landry said Ryan would have to live with himself for such a classless maneuver.

“I can live with that,” Ryan said.

Nov. 23, 1989, Texas Stadium

Eagles 27, Cowboys 0

Dallas was a bad team, and this Thanksgiving Day victory was not a great game. But it became known as the Bounty Bowl when Jimmy Johnson, the rookie coach of the Cowboys, claimed Ryan had put a $200 bounty on kicker Luis Zendejas and a $500 bounty on rookie quarterback Aikman. Zendejas had been released by the Eagles the previous month and was knocked woozy after taking a knee to the head from linebacker Jesse Small at the start of the second half. Zendejas suffered a concussion and was also penalized for hitting Small below the waist on the play because the kicker went to his knees in an attempt to escape from Small’s targeting.

“Be realistic,” Ryan said afterward. “If you had a bounty, why in the hell would you put it on a kicker that’s been in a six-week slump? You hope he doesn’t get hurt. You want to be sure he kicks. Don’t touch him. Be careful.”

Five to forget

These five games were among the worst Eagles losses to the Cowboys

Jan. 10, 1993, Texas Stadium

Cowboys 34, Eagles 10

After finally breaking through for a playoff victory in New Orleans the week before, the Reggie White-led Eagles were destroyed by the first of the three Dallas teams to win a Super Bowl in the 1990s. White left for Green Bay after the season.

Jan. 7, 1996, Texas Stadium

Cowboys 30, Eagles 11

The highlight of Ray Rhodes’ tenure as Eagles coach came the week before during a playoff rout of the Detroit Lions at the Vet. The Eagles, however, were no match for the Cowboys, who went on to win their third Super Bowl in four years. The Eagles also had to spend an extra day in Texas because 30 inches of snow fell in Philadelphia during their lopsided loss.

Jan. 9, 2010, Cowboys Stadium

Cowboys 34, Eagles 14

The Eagles had lost, 24-0, six days earlier in the same place but swore the rematch would be different. Instead it was even worse, and it also marked the end of the Donovan McNabb era in Philadelphia. For the record, the Eagles have been outscored 98-35 in their three playoff losses to the Cowboys.

Dec. 15, 1991, Veterans Stadium

Cowboys 25, Eagles 13

This was the year the Eagles had the No. 1 defense against the run, pass and overall, but the young Cowboys came into the Vet and beat them with the help of an 85-yard punt return by Kelvin Martin. That loss kept the Eagles out of the playoffs.

Sept. 15, 1997, Texas Stadium

Cowboys 21, Eagles 20

The Eagles weren’t good, and the Cowboys weren’t either, but a win over Dallas is a win over Dallas. It looked like the Eagles were going to get a victory in Week 3 when former Cowboys kicker Chris Boniol lined up for a chip-shot field goal. Instead the snap went through holder TomHutton’s hands, and the Eagles went down to defeat.