IRVING, Texas (AP) – Move over, Tony Romo. Jeff Garcia is taking a run at being the backup quarterback of the year.

After all, he led the Philadelphia Eagles past Romo and the Dallas Cowboys and into first place in the NFC East with a week to go in the season.

Garcia took the Eagles to scores on four of their first five drives and the Philadelphia defense humbled Romo in a 23-7 victory Monday that secured at least a wild-card berth.

The Eagles (9-6) can win the division for the fifth time in six years by beating Atlanta at home Sunday. Philadelphia also could clinch if Dallas loses its finale to Detroit.

“It’s not about looking too far in the future, it’s about playing today,” Garcia said. “Hey, Philadelphia – Merry Christmas!”

The only way the Cowboys (9-6) can win the NFC East is by beating the Lions and by the Falcons knocking off the Eagles.

One thing settled by this game is that New Orleans clinches the No. 2 seed in the NFC and a first-round bye.

Philadelphia is enjoying a stunning turnaround for a club that was 5-6 going into December after Garcia lost his first start in place of an injured Donovan McNabb.

Now Garcia and the Eagles have won four straight. The last three have come on the road against division foes, the exact patch of the schedule that was supposed to bury Philadelphia.

“Last year, we had a lot of injuries and we had other things going on. This year, we stuck together through all those things, through all the naysayers,” veteran safety Brian Dawkins said. “We knew what we could do, continued to push each other. We’re doing what people didn’t expect, but everyone in the locker room expected it.”

The Cowboys were the ones steamrolled Monday. They never led and hardly threatened, setting a season-low for points by 10 and yards by 119, which was set in a 38-24 loss at Philadelphia.

It also was their second straight falling-on-their-face performance in a high-profile game. Dallas was stomped 42-17 by New Orleans two weeks ago in a game for the second-best record in the NFC.

The Eagles went 89 yards in 13 plays on their first drive, converting four third-down tries before Garcia lobbed a 25-yard touchdown pass to a barely covered Matt Schobel.

And the defense made three straight goal-line stands against NFC rushing TD leader Marion Barber, capped by a 3-yard loss on fourth down. Then Garcia took Philadelphia from its 4-yard line to the Dallas 2, settling for a 25-yard field goal by David Akers. Akers also nailed a 45-yarder as the first half ended and made a 21-yarder on the opening series of the third quarter.

Down 16-7, Romo looked more like a guy who spent 3 years on the bench than one who earned a Pro Bowl invitation for a half-season’s work.

He short-circuited the next four drives with two sacks, then two interceptions. Dallas also was hurt by Terrell Owens dropping a perfectly thrown deep pass on the series right after Philadelphia’s final field goal.

“We had a couple chances there and just didn’t get the job done,” Romo said.

The Eagles stretched the lead to 23-7 midway through the fourth quarter, grinding out most of their 80 yards on the ground and burning plenty of clock.

When Romo’s next pass was picked off, fans began hurrying to the exits even through there was still 6:39 left. Romo-mentum was dead, at least not worth waiting for on a chilly Christmas evening.

Garcia was 15-of-23 for 238 yards with a touchdown and an interception, and ran for 43 yards. Brian Westbrook ran for 118 yards and Correll Buckhalter had 38 yards and a touchdown.

The Eagles’ 205 yards rushing were easily the most Dallas has given up this season and the most by an opponent at Texas Stadium since 2000.

Romo was 14-of-29 for a season-low 142 yards, with a touchdown and the two interceptions. Owens caught only two passes for 23 yards, but one was a 14-yard touchdown.

“I had to throw the ball away a lot,” Romo said. “I definitely had to move around a bunch. They covered well.”

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