Eagles Slow Down Cowboys’ Playoff Drive, 17-3 : NFC: Byars leads Philadelphia attack, passing for one touchdown and setting up a field goal with an inadvertent kick of a fumble.

<i> From Associated Press</i>

Keith Byars of the Philadelphia Eagles continues to make a case for himself as the NFL’s most versatile player.

Byars, who is listed as a running back, played tight end, wide receiver, blocking back and also did some passing Sunday during the Eagles’ 17-3 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.

Byars threw his fourth touchdown pass in as many attempts this season to give the Eagles a 7-0 first-quarter lead. He also gained 27 yards in six carries, caught three passes for 21 yards, led the blocking as the Eagles rushed for 178 yards and inadvertently kicked a fumbled ball 45 yards to set up a 29-yard field goal by Roger Ruzek.

The Eagles (9-6) can lock up the home-field advantage for the NFC wild-card playoff game against Washington with a win at Phoenix on Saturday. Despite their first loss in five games, the Cowboys (7-8) can claim the NFC’s final playoff spot with a victory next week at Atlanta.


Byars, who throws left-handed, fooled the Cowboys on his option pass in the first quarter by rolling right, instead of left, as he had on his other three attempts. He connected with Calvin Williams on an 18-yard scoring play.

“We knew it would catch them off guard throwing to my right,” said Byars, who is in his fifth season out of Ohio State.

Eagle quarterback Randall Cunningham completed 16 of 28 passes for 144 yards and rushed for 54 yards on four carries. Cunningham is 87 yards short of Bobby Douglass’ NFL single-season record of 969 rushing yards by a quarterback.

Troy Aikman became the sixth quarterback to be knocked out by the Eagles’ defense this season.

Aikman was taken down by defensive end Clyde Simmons and left the game with 10:07 remaining in the first quarter with a dislocated right shoulder.

Aikman was replaced by Babe Laufenberg, who had one completion this season. Laufenberg completed 13 of 36 passes for 140 yards and had four passes intercepted, including one in the fourth quarter that Eric Allen returned 35 yards for a touchdown.

In addition to the four interceptions, the Eagles also had a pair of sacks and held the Cowboys to 199 total yards.