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NFC: Vick leads Eagles past Dallas

Associated Press

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) – Michael Vick threw two touchdown passes to lead the Philadelphia Eagles to a 20-7 victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday in a game that had all the intensity of a preseason dress rehearsal.

This game became somewhat meaningless midway through the first quarter. A victory by the Giants eliminated the Eagles from the playoffs and turned the Dallas-New York game next weekend into a showdown to decide the NFC East title.

The Cowboys still had wild-card hopes to play for, but clearly were more concerned about getting ready for the “win and you’re in” route to the playoffs. Quarterback Tony Romo left after injuring his throwing hand on the first series and oft-injured running back Felix Jones hit the bench for good after the second series. They came within 7 seconds of getting shut out.

Vick threw a touchdown pass on the opening series and again just before halftime. Alex Henery kicked field goals of 43 and 51 yards for the Eagles’ only points in the second half.

Philadelphia (7-8) won its third straight, giving the preseason “Dream Team” the chance to avoid a losing record by beating the Redskins at home in its finale next weekend. The Eagles also swept the season series against the Cowboys for the first time since 2006, having clobbered Dallas 34-7 in October.

PANTHERS 48, BUCS 16

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Cam Newton had no shortage of doubters coming into the NFL.

They’re much harder to find now.

The No. 1 pick in the NFL draft added to his remarkable season by breaking Peyton Manning’s rookie record for yards passing and setting a franchise mark with a 91-yard touchdown toss to Brandon LaFell as the Carolina Panthers handed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers their ninth straight defeat.

Newton threw for 171 yards and three touchdowns and scored on an amazing 49-yard run up the middle in which he showed his speed by outracing smaller defensive backs to the end zone.

He has accounted for 34 touchdowns on the season and has the Panthers playing well down the stretch, something coach Ron Rivera wanted to see so his team can carry momentum into next season.

Carolina (6-9) has won four of its last five games.

“There’s always going to be something,” Newton said when asked if he’s answered his critics this season. “I continuously try to do what I can control. … I don’t worry about what people say because you know one day you’ll be on top of the world and everybody is praising you and the next day the world will be on top of you and everybody else will be criticizing you.”

Nobody was criticizing him Saturday.

Behind Newton’s masterful performance, the Panthers scored on eight of their first nine possessions and piled up 397 yards in three quarters against the league’s 30th-ranked defense.

Rivera pulled Newton and the other key starters early in the fourth.

VIKINGS 33,

REDSKINS 26

LANDOVER, Md. (AP) – The Minnesota Vikings survived injuries to Adrian Peterson and Christian Ponder on back-to-back plays to end a six-game losing streak.

Toby Gerhart filled in for Peterson and set up a touchdown with a 67-yard run, and Joe Webb threw for two TDs and ran for another while subbing for Ponder.

Webb’s 8-yard pass to Percy Harvin broke a 23-all tie early in the fourth quarter.