(Reuters) - Tony Romo threw three touchdown passes to surpass Troy Aikman’s franchise record as the Dallas Cowboys beat the crumbling Philadelphia Eagles 38-33 on Sunday to keep their playoff hopes intact.
Romo tossed all three of his touchdown passes in the final two quarters, where both teams traded scores, finding Dez Bryant on a six-yard score with 5:35 remaining to give the Cowboys a 31-27 lead and their first advantage of the game.
It was Romo’s 168th career touchdown pass, putting him three ahead of Aikman.
“To be mentioned in the same breath as those guys is something I’ll look back on one day,” Romo told reporters after the Cowboys (6-6) moved one game out of a post season spot.
“At this point, it’s hard to think that way when we’re in the middle of a playoff race (and) we desperately had to have this game.”
The result was all but sealed when Philadelphia running back Bryce Brown then fumbled and Dallas’ Morris Claiborne returned it 50 yards to make it 38-27.
The Eagles (3-9) made it a nervy finish after Damaris Johnson’s 98-yard punt return touchdown in the final minute, but their onside kickoff attempt failed and they dropped their eighth consecutive game.
That is their longest losing streak since an 11 game slide in 1968 and came despite an early 14-3 lead and strong performances from rookie QB Nick Foles and Brown.
Brown ended the night with 169 yards rushing and two scores in place of starter LeSean McCoy (concussion), but he made his third fumble in two games.
Foles made his third consecutive start for the concussed Michael Vick and he threw for 251 yards, one score and no interceptions. Still, he was unable to snap the slide in what has been a most tumultuous season for Philadelphia.
“It was a tough loss,” Foles said. “I‘m proud of our team with the way they fought. We have to keep working and stick together.”
The roller coaster season for Dallas continued as they climbed out of their deficit and caught fire in the second half behind Romo, who finished with 303 yards passing.
The Cowboys also got a boost from DeMarco Murray, who returned from a foot injury that had sidelined him for six consecutive games and finished with 83 yards rushing and a score.
“I knew I had to come out here, run hard and give us a spark,” Murray said. “I feel great. In order to win in this league you have to run the ball, you can’t be one-dimensional.”
Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles. Editing by Patrick Johnston