|by Ryan Messick
The Eagles will host the Packers next Sunday at 4:30 p.m. in the Wild Card round of the NFC playoffs, and Philadelphia should be pretty close to full strength. The Eagles fell today to the Cowboys 14-13 on a late touchdown from Stephen McGee to Jason Witten, but more importantly the Birds emerged from the contest with most starters getting significant rest and no major injuries.
One of the few exceptions, right guard Max Jean-Gilles, left the game with an ankle injury. Jean-Gilles was the only starter on the offensive line to start the game, since there are only four backups. Upon his injury, Mike McGlynn moved into the lineup at center and Nick Cole shifted to right guard.
“It’s the opposite ankle than the one he had the surgery on,” said head coach Andy Reid. “He’s moving around okay right now, so we’ll just see how he does in the next couple of days.”
Reid opted to rest almost every starter possible, notably Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, Asante Samuel and Trent Cole.
“I’ve done this in the past,” Reid said. “It gives me a chance to see some of the younger guys. It gives them a week and a half rest, and it’s not like we played last Sunday, although I probably would have done the same thing even if we had.”
Kevin Kolb made the start in place of Vick and had a rough outing, turning the ball over four times. Kolb had a fumble recovered by DeMarcus Ware for a 17-yard touchdown and threw three interceptions. Kolb was 18-36 for 162 yards, including a 4-yard touchdown to Chad Hall.
“I didn’t play very well myself,” Kolb said. “Just getting a feel for the game again. You know, I’m not sure how long it’s been, but there’s just sometimes you go ‘Gosh.’
“Usually you get out scrambling or you make a throw on the run or something and it slowly comes back to you. It came back to me during the game, but you like for it to come back a little faster.”
Kolb’s highlight of the afternoon was a 48-yard bomb to Chad Hall that took the Eagles down to the Cowboys 10-yardline with a 10-7 lead in the fourth quarter. They couldn’t punch it in though, settling for a 22-yard field goal and a 13-7 lead.
McGee made them pay, hitting Jason Witten for a 33-yard gain to the Philadelphia 11-yardline with just over 90 seconds remaining. Three plays later McGee found Witten for a 4-yard score and a 14-13 lead with :55 left.
Kolb said the offense was challenged throughout the day by a limited playbook due to the short week and short bench.