After a review of the game tape, here is a look at three key Eagles in Sunday's 10-6 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.

Brent Celek

The rookie tight end went into the game with eight catches for 75 yards this season, but he got his first real chance to show what he might be able to do as a starter when Matt Schobel was sidelined with a concussion.

Celek finished with three catches for 50 yards, including the most critical reception of the game when he got wide open on a third-and-9 play in the fourth quarter and caught a 29-yard pass from quarterback Donovan McNabb, forcing the Cowboys to burn their final time-out.

His second biggest catch of the game came late in the third quarter when McNabb found him over the middle for a 14-yard gain on the first play of a 60-yard drive that resulted in a 21-yard field goal by David Akers. The Eagles should thank umpire Carl Paganelli for that completion because he screened linebacker Akin Ayodele on the play.

Celek's only other catch came on a first-and-20 play in the second quarter, when he picked up 7 yards. He also was open for a first down on a third-and-5 play, but McNabb misfired low, and the Eagles were forced to punt.

His work as a blocker was solid. His best block came on Greg Ellis on the 24-yard run by Brian Westbrook that allowed the Eagles to run out the clock. His second-biggest contribution after his fourth-quarter catch came on the Eagles' only touchdown late in the first half. Celek, by running a straight-ahead pattern into the end zone, picked off safety Roy Williams, allowing Reggie Brown to get wide open for a 1-yard touchdown catch.

It should be interesting to watch what Celek does over the final two games. There is a chance he could return next season as the team's top tight end.

Max Jean-Gilles

One week after using Nick Cole to replace Todd Herremans and Shawn Andrews for a few series at both guard positions, the Eagles opted to use Jean-Gilles, their 2006 fourth-round draft choice, at right guard when Andrews left with a knee injury after three series against Dallas.

This was Jean-Gilles' first extended playing time of his career, and the kid played well after a shaky start.

The Cowboys' second sack of McNabb was the result of Jean-Gilles' being beaten by underrated nose tackle Jay Ratliff, who made a quick move to get around the second-year guard. Defensive end Marcus Spears spun off Jean-Gilles to stop Westbrook for a 2-yard gain a little while later, but as the game progressed the second-year guard improved.

Jean-Gilles did some outstanding run blocking on the Eagles' only touchdown drive of the game. His first-down block of Ratliff opened a lane for Westbrook to pick up 9 yards, and he made another good block on the nose tackle on second down, leading to a 3-yard gain for a first down by Westbrook.

On McNabb's 28-yard scramble, Jean-Gilles did a good job of driving Ratliff inside, and the middle of the field opened for the quarterback. Jean-Gilles had a great block on Marcus Spears two plays later when McNabb picked up 5 yards and a first down at the 1.

A block on linebacker Bradie James by Jean-Gilles led to a 29-yard run by Westbrook in the fourth quarter, and the guard immediately followed it up with a good block on Ayodele on the next play, helping Westbrook pick up 4 more yards.

He's not Andrews, but Jean-Gilles showed he has some potential, given his first real chance to play in the NFL.

Brian Dawkins

This is the first time all season the Eagles' six-time Pro Bowl safety has been under the microscope, and that's mostly because of the neck injury that forced him to sit out five games. Although he is still bothered by back spasms and not playing at the same level as he was a year ago, Dawkins made his biggest contribution of the season.

The play that received the most attention was his fourth-quarter interception of quarterback Tony Romo that ended the Cowboys' final series. It was Dawkins' 33d career interception but his first this season. He was exactly where he was supposed to be on the play, but it would not have happened unless Terrell Owens slipped and fell along the Dallas sideline.

Dawkins' bigger contribution came in the second quarter. After Quintin Mikell fumbled away the first interception by an Eagles safety this season and gave the Cowboys another chance to score in the red zone, Dawkins set the tone to make sure Dallas got no more than three points.

On first down from the 14-yard line, Dawkins blitzed and closed fast to pull down running back Marion Barber for a 1-yard loss. On second down, Romo overthrew Barber in the right flat, but even if the running back had caught the ball, Dawkins was in a position to plant a big hit on him.

Dawkins still doesn't have a sack this season, but defensive coordinator Jim Johnson is starting to blitz his veteran safety a little bit more, and he at least forced some quick throws by Romo.

Dawkins got away with pass interference on tight end Jason Witten midway through the second quarter when field judge Eddy Powers ran into A.J. Feeley on the Eagles' sideline, resulting in the official's taking his eye off the play. Feeley received a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. That penalty actually saved the Eagles' 22 yards because a pass-interference call would have been a 37-yard penalty to the Eagles' 45-yard line.

Dawkins also missed a tackle on the incredibly talented Witten, which allowed the tight end to pick up an additional 10 yards and a first down in the fourth quarter. Witten was able to discard Dawkins with a stiff-arm to the helmet.

Contact staff writer Bob Brookover
at 215-854-2577 or bbrookover@phillynews.com.