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Romo sets TD mark as Cowboys beat Eagles, 38-33

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Romo sets TD mark as Cowboys beat Eagles, 38-33

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Tony Romo will look back someday and see he had more touchdown passes than Troy Aikman. Right now he just wants to win games and get back to the playoffs, where his predecessor in Dallas made his mark by winning three Super Bowls.

Romo threw three second-half touchdown passes to answer a strong game by Philadelphia's rookie duo of Bryce Brown and Nick Foles, and the Cowboys sent the Eagles to their eighth straight loss with a 38-33 victory Sunday night.

Romo broke Aikman's franchise record with his 166th touchdown on a third-quarter pass to Dez Bryant that tied the game. The Cowboys (6-6) needed more to keep their postseason hopes alive, and Romo came through in the fourth quarter with another tying toss and a go-ahead score.

``That kind of gets put aside, obviously, when you're playing and right in the middle of where we are at with the playoff picture,'' Romo said. ``Saying all of that, it's a neat thing when you look at the other guys. Troy, obviously, being a guy if you're in any discussion with him in anything, you're doing something right.''

The record-breaker was vintage Romo. He scrambled to his right and threw back across the field to Bryant, who weaved through the Philadelphia defense to tie the score at 17.

Romo tied it again at 24 on a throw to Miles Austin, and had one more answer after Brown and Foles led the Eagles to a go-ahead field goal. He threw deep to Bryant for 35 yards on third down, and Bryant found his way into the end zone again by taking a screen pass 6 yards just inside the pylon for a 31-27 lead with 5:40 remaining in the game.

Romo was 10 of 10 in the second half, completing his last 12 passes to finish 22 of 27 for 303 yards with no interceptions and a 150.5 passer rating. Bryant had six catches for 98 yards.

``To me, I can still picture him when he would walk out there when he first got on the Cowboys,'' owner Jerry Jones said. ``Defensive coaches would just pull their hair out with frustration because they couldn't stop him on the field. They would say, `Well, he has to play right. He can't throw across the defense. He can't be shoving that ball in the middle of these defensive players. That won't win in the NFL.'''

The Eagles' slide continued despite 169 yards rushing and two touchdowns from Brown a week after he set a team rookie record with 178 yards on the ground.

After Romo's go-ahead touchdown pass, Dallas went up by 11 when Morris Claiborne returned Brown's fumble 50 yards for a touchdown.

``The offense was compensating for us all night long,'' Claiborne said. ``Whenever we gave up a touchdown, they came back with a touchdown to keep us in the game.''

Brown's fumble snapped a streak of eight straight scoring drives by both teams. It was the second straight week that he mixed big runs with critical fumbles after losing the ball twice in last week's loss to Carolina.

``Up until that fumble, he had done a heck of a job,'' Eagles coach Andy Reid said. ``He was trying to get every stinking yard he possibly could.''

Philadelphia (3-9) had a chance for an improbable rally when Damaris Johnson returned a punt 98 yards with 31 seconds left. After a failed 2-point conversion, the Cowboys recovered the onside kick, ran out the clock and improved to 126-126 since the start of the 1997 season.

Foles, who was 22 of 34 in his third start in place of Michael Vick, led the Eagles to a 27-24 lead early in the fourth quarter on a 43-yard field goal by Alex Henery, who now has the longest current field goal streak at 21 after Cleveland's Phil Dawson had a kick blocked Sunday.

``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.''

Dallas running back DeMarco Murray, who started after missing six games with a sprained right foot, finished with 83 yards and a touchdown.

The Cowboys welcomed Murray back by running him three straight times to start the game after calling 52 straight pass plays from the second quarter to the end of a Thanksgiving loss to Washington. He finished with 23 carries.

``I knew once I got out there I wasn't going to want to come out,'' Murray said. ``I wasn't expecting to get that much work.''

Brown, who started his first game since high school when he filled in for LeSean McCoy last week, went in untouched on both of his scoring plays in the first half. He scooted around the left side for a 7-0 lead and trotted through a big hole up the middle to make it 14-3 midway through the second quarter.

Vick and McCoy are sidelined by concussions.

Philadelphia was in front after the first quarter for the first time all season, but Dan Bailey got the Cowboys on the board with a 39-yard field goal early in the second. Murray's 1-yard touchdown run trimmed the Eagles' lead to 14-10 with 41 seconds left in the half.

The Eagles answered by driving 52 yards in 35 seconds to a 43-yard field goal by Henery on the last play of the half. Foles completed a 29-yard pass to Jason Avant to get the Eagles in scoring range.

Brown got Philadelphia's first scoring drive going with a 42-yard run up the middle and finished it with a 10-yard run.

Trailing 7-3 early the second quarter, the Cowboys went three and out after a third-down completion from Romo to Jason Witten was overturned on a challenge by Reid. Replays showed the ball hitting the turf as Witten grabbed it.

Two plays later, Brown went 39 yards down the sideline and later scored from 5 yards out.

NOTES: The Cowboys snapped an eight-game losing streak on Sunday night. ... Foles' first two career TD passes were against Dallas, and both were to Riley Cooper. ... Heisman Trophy contender Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M watched the game from a suite. His next game will be at Cowboys Stadium, against Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 4.

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5 reasons the Caps beat the Lightning in Game 6

5 reasons the Caps beat the Lightning in Game 6

After losing three straight, the Capitals battled back in Game 6 on Monday. With their 3-0 win, Washington forced the Eastern Conference Final into a decisive Game 7 on Wednesday.

Here is how the Caps did it.

1. Braden Holtby matched Andrei Vasilevskiy save for save

Andrei Vasilevskiy was just as great in this game as he was in the three previous, but one of the major differences in this one was that Holtby was just as good. He may not have been tested as much (Vasilevskiy made 32 saves, Holtby 24), but he was big when the team needed.

In the second period with the scored tied at 0, Holtby made one of the most critical saves perhaps of the entire season when he denied Anthony Cirelli with the toe on a 2-on-1. When the Caps took the lead, Holtby really shut the door in the third period with 10 saves to cap off what was his fifth career playoff shutout and first shutout of the entire season.

2. T.J. Oshie’s timely goal

Over halfway into the game, it looked like it was just going to be one of those nights. Caps fans know it well by now. Washington outplays their opponent, they get chance after chance and develop a whopping advantage in shots, but they run into a hot goalie and a random play suddenly turns into a goal for the other team, game and season over.

Vasilevskiy was on his way to having perhaps his best performance of the series. Considering how he played in the three games prior to Game 6, that’s saying something. The Caps were doing everything right, but he continued to make save after save. Then on the power play in the second period, John Carlson struck the inside of the post, the horn went off and the roar of the crowd gave way to dismay as the referee waved his arms to indicate there was no goal and play continued. Just seconds later, T.J. Oshie gave the Caps the 1-0 lead.

You have to wonder if doubt was starting to creep into the back of the minds of the players when that puck struck the post as they wondered what else they had to do to beat Vasilevskiy. Luckily, that feeling didn’t last long.

3. Special teams

Braydon Coburn’s tripping penalty in the second period gave Washington its only power play of the night and its first since the second period of Game 4. They had to make it count given how well Vasilveskiy was playing and they did.

Washington now has a power play goal in each of their three wins against the Lightning and no power play goals in their three losses. So yeah, it’s significant.

Tampa Bay had two opportunities of their own, but Washington managed to kill off both power plays in the penalty kill’s best performance of the series.

4. Washington’s physical game plan

On paper, the Lightning are better than the Caps in most categories. One area in which Washington has the edge, however, is physical play and it was clear very early that they intended to use that to their advantage in Game 6. Tampa Bay was pushed around and they seemed to struggle to recover.

Ovechkin was a one-man wrecking ball out there hitting everything that moved. The energy he brought with every hit was palpable and both the team and the crowd fed on it.

Washington was credited with 39 hits on the night compared to Tampa Bay’s 19. Ovechkin had four of those as did Nicklas Backstrom while Devante Smith-Pelly contributed five and Tom Wilson and Brooks Orpik each led the team with six.

5. Fourth line dagger

Tampa Bay’s fourth line was the story of Game 5, but Washington’s fourth line sealed the deal on Monday with its third period goal.

Chandler Stephenson beat out an icing call, forcing Braydon Coburn to play the puck along the wall. Jay Beagle picked it up, fed back to Stephenson who backhanded a pass for the perfect setup for Devante Smith-Pelly.

Smith-Pelly scored seven goals in the regular season. He now has four in the playoffs.

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Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

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Soto, Harper homer in Nats' win over Padres

WASHINGTON -- Juan Soto, the youngest player in the majors at 19, hit a three-run homer in his first career start as the Washington Nationals defeated the San Diego Padres 10-2 on Monday.

Mark Reynolds had two solo home runs for the Nationals, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Bryce Harper had a homer and an RBI double.

Soto's drive highlighted a five-run second inning for Washington. The promising outfielder, who played for three minor league teams this season, hit the first pitch from Robbie Erlin (1-3) over the Nationals bullpen in left-center field. Soto also singled.

Soto's homer traveled an estimated 442 feet at Nationals Park. He earned a standing ovation from the crowd and the teenager responded by taking a curtain call. Per Baseball-Reference.com, Soto became the first teenager to hit a home run in a major league game since Harper on Sept. 30, 2012.

Called up to Washington on Sunday, Soto became the first 19-year-old to make his major league debut since Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias in 2016. He entered that game in the eighth inning as a pinch-hitter and struck out.

Washington's starting left fielder began the season at Class A Hagerstown. He hit a combined .362 with 14 homers and 52 RBIs in his three minor league stops.

Gio Gonzalez (5-2) allowed two runs and two hits in seven innings.

San Diego's Franmil Reyes, playing in his seventh career game, also hit his first career home run.

Trea Turner hit a pair of RBI doubles for Washington. Reynolds had three hits.

Erlin surrendered six runs and seven hits over four innings in his third start of the season. San Diego had won three in a row.

Reyes connected for a two-run homer in the fourth inning, but the Padres' lineup generated little else against Gonzalez, who allowed one run over six innings in a no-decision at San Diego on May 9.

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