PHILADELPHIA — The Eagles reached one of their major goals Sunday.
No one got hurt during a 6-0 loss to Dallas at frigid Lincoln Financial Field.
The Eagles (13-3) came up short in their bid to earn a franchise-record 14th victory. Quarterback Nick Foles did little to ease the angst of fans who are worried about the playoffs.
But they got through the game without suffering any significant injuries and can now focus on preparing for their first playoff game since the 2013 season.
As the top seed in the NFC, they have a first-round bye. Their first game will be at the Linc on Saturday, Jan. 13 at 4:35 p.m. against either sixth-seeded Atlanta or the winner of the Carolina-New Orleans game.
“Sports can be crazy sometimes,” Foles said. “Sometimes things don’t go your way, but you just have to keep trucking along. I’m confident, and I know the guys are confident in me.”
The game was scoreless through three quarters. The Cowboys (9-7), eliminated from playoff contention the previous week, played their starters the entire game and scored the only touchdown on Prescott’s 20-yard pass to wide receiver Brice Butler with 12 minutes, 19 seconds left in regulation. Dan Bailey missed the extra point. He also hooked a 23-yard field goal attempt wide left with 13 seconds remaining.
According to ESPN Stats and Info, it was the first time an Eagles-Cowboys game was scoreless at halftime since the rivalry began in 1960.
“Obviously, it’s the way you want to finish,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “It was disappointing last week to get knocked out of the playoffs, but I thought our guys did a good job of coming back.”
The Eagles were shut out Sunday for the first time since a 24-0 loss at Dallas on Jan. 3, 2010. It was the first time they were held scoreless at the Linc since a 42-0 defeat to Seattle on Dec. 5, 2005.
Coach Doug Pederson started Foles hoping he would get into a rhythm and establish some confidence for the playoffs.
It didn’t happen. Foles played the first quarter and completed only 4 of 11 passes for 39 yards with an interception in four series.
“It’s tough to get anything going in those situations,” Pederson said. “It’s a tough situation when you know you’re only going to play a couple of series.”
Foles and the Eagles moved the ball fairly well on their opening drive. Completions to wide receivers Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor and a 15-yarder to tight end Zach Ertz helped them get to the Cowboys’ 39.
They had a chance to pick up more yards, but wide receiver Torrey Smith dropped an easy pass on third down.
“I dropped the ball,” Smith said. “That wasn’t Nick.”
Pederson made it clear he wasn’t placing much emphasis on the game by deactivating running back Jay Ajayi, linebacker Nigel Bradham and other key players. Foles and most of the other starters were on the heated benches by the end of the first quarter, leaving it to backup quarterback Nate Sudfeld and others to try to pull out a win.
Sudfeld made his NFL regular-season debut and was 19 for 23 for 138 yards.
“You’re never happy when you don’t win,” Sudfeld said.
“But getting out there and stacking some reps together was awesome.”
Now, the Eagles can start preparing for the playoffs.
They haven’t won a playoff game since the 2008 season, when they eventually lost at Arizona in the NFC championship game. The last time the Eagles had home-field advantage, in 2004, they made it to the Super Bowl.
“We know what this team is capable of,” Foles said. “We know we can do special things.”