Cowboys 14, Eagles 13: My Top 10 Observer-ations

How about a nice round of applause for Sam Merten? Nice job, Sam. Splendid actually. Thank you. And with that ... we now return to your regularly scheduled Sportatorium.

10. A year ago the Cowboys finished the regular season with a win over the Eagles. This year the Cowboys finished the regular season with a win over the Eagles. In '10 Dallas was preparing for its first playoff win in 13 years. In '11 they're merely preparing to clean out their lockers in the wake of the most disappointing season in the franchise's 50-year history.

9. Not sure if he'll ever be a starting NFL quarterback, but Stephen McGee would make a nasty baseball closer. His splitter - low and dipping around the ankles - is mostly unhittable uncatchable.

8. Remember waaaay back in the summer when we groaned that five preseason games were too many? Well, didn't yesterday feel like No. 6? Sad when Tony Siragusa standing in the rain talking about his stupid hat isn't the most boring facet of the broadcast.

7. Pretty sure fullback Chris Gronkowski got a favorable spot on his 4th-and-1 plunge at Philly's 44 on Dallas' game-winning drive. Two plays later McGee hit Jason Witten for 33 yards to set up the miraculous mundane comeback.

6. Likely we won't remember the win in Philly come four months from now, but might the Cowboys regret the result? The last-minute rally dropped Dallas from No. 6 in April's NFL Draft to No. 9. In 2010 that was the difference between Russell Okung (10-game starter at left tackle for Seattle) and running back C.J. Spiller (two touchdowns, five fumbles for the Bills).

5. The meaningless, hollow victory also allowed the Cowboys to escape the cellar and finish third in the NFC East and, therefore, play a third-place schedule next season that includes Tampa Bay (10-6) instead of Carolina (2-14). In 2011 Dallas will play, in addition to home-and-aways with Washington, Philly and the Giants, road games at Arizona, San Francisco, New England, the Jets and Bucs and host the Rams, Seahawks, Bills, Dolphins and Lions.

4. He had some magical plays in 2010, but I do not trust Bryan McCann as my punt returner.

3. Sure the Cowboys recorded six sacks of Kevin Kolb, but an indelible image was again burned in our memories as Dallas gave up a passing touchdown punctuated by safety Alan Ball looking around, arms extended and palms up as if to say "Wha jist happun?!"

2. Granted they were playing against the Eagles' JV, but DeMarcus Ware and Witten re-re-re-re-confirmed their place among the NFL elite. If only every Cowboy was that good of a player ... and person.

1. Given the fact that he was handed a team that emotionally and psychologically bottomed out in Green Bay, that was playing without quarterback Tony Romo, offensive weapon Dez Bryant and underrated run-stopper Marcus Spears, and that was playing a second-half schedule including games against last year's Super Bowl teams and two against this year's NFC East champs, I'm not sure what more Jason Garrett could've done as interim coach. The Cowboys played harder and better in going 5-3 and he went a long way in a short time toward Jerry Jones' charge of changing the culture at Valley Ranch. The Cowboys, as I've said all along, should next year be coached by Garrett Top.


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