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(Reuters) - Fired-up receiver Dez Bryant scored three touchdowns to ignite Dallas’s 38-27 win over the rival Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday as the Cowboys regained control of the NFC East.
Bryant got into a pre-game shouting match with Philadelphia’s Malcolm Jenkins and carried his rage onto the field where his 114 receiving yards gave the Cowboys their biggest win of the season.
“I was focused,” Bryant told reporters after his first career three-touchdown effort.
“We knew this game was going to be big. From here on out there’s big games. We have to block everyone else out.”
Dallas (10-4) moved one game in front of the Eagles (9-5) for first place in the division after they had relinquished the top spot on Thanksgiving when Philadelphia handed them a 33-10 blowout defeat.
In the rematch, the Cowboys raced out to a 21-0 lead before the Eagles responded with 24 straight points to seize the lead.
Dallas responded with a long drive and a two-yard TD run from DeMarco Murray, and Bryant caught his third score to give the visiting Cowboys a 35-24 lead.
Both teams added late field goals, and Philadelphia’s chances were hurt by a fourth-quarter Brent Celek fumble – one of their four turnovers on the night.
Philadelphia trailed by eight points with about eight minutes left when Celek caught a pass and lost the ball on a play that had to be reviewed.
“It’s the same broken record we talk about each week -- we can’t turn the football over and expect to win,” said Eagles coach Chip Kelly. “We put ourselves in too big a hole to start.”
Philadelphia quarterback Mark Sanchez continued his up and down performance since taking over for injured starter Nick Foles. Sanchez completed 17 of 28 passes, tossed two interceptions and no scores.
Little-used running back Chris Polk had two touchdowns for the Eagles.
Dallas has been known for their late-season collapses in past seasons but this time around they are shedding the reputation, recovering from the early blown lead to overcome the Eagles.
“You just stay in the moment, try to forget about the score,” said Dallas QB Tony Romo, finishing with 265 yards and the three TDs.
“Having a guy like Dez makes it easy to throw to spots that he can go get it. We’re lucky to have him.”
Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles. Editing by Patrick Johnston/Ian Ransom