IRVING, Texas - Missed calls, dropped balls, and endless excitement for all.

That best describes the insanity that ensued last night in the Eagles' final regular-season visit to Texas Stadium.

If you got up for a snack, a beer or a bathroom break, you probably missed a score, a turnover, or some other amazing play.

And we also got the answer to a question Eagles running back Brian Westbrook was asked earlier in the week.

"I think we can [win], yes," Westbrook said. "I think that we have the guys on this team that can make the plays."

They do, but one costly turnover in the final quarter allowed Dallas to claim a 41-37 victory that, in the long run, proved nothing other than that these teams have a lot of talent.

With the Eagles clinging to a three-point lead and in Dallas territory midway through the fourth quarter, quarterback Donovan McNabb botched an exchange with Westbrook, and the Cowboys' Jay Ratliff came out of the pile with the football.

"I think he got the snap a little bit earlier than he expected," Westbrook said of McNabb. "He put the ball in there and I have to do a better job of handling the ball."

"That definitely was totally my fault," McNabb said. "I put the ball on his hip. That's not the way you're supposed to do it."

Tony Romo and the Cowboys didn't waste the gift.

Dallas went 67 yards in seven plays, with the biggest play coming on a 32-yard completion to tight end Jason Witten, who gave the Eagles' secondary fits all evening. Witten, who finished with seven catches for 110 yards, gave the Cowboys a first and goal at the Eagles' 5. After Asante Samuel was called for pass interference on Terrell Owens in the end zone, Marion Barber scored the game-winning touchdown from 1 yard out with 4 minutes, 37 seconds remaining.

The Eagles' offense had two more possessions after that, but their final play of the night - a couple of flips to nowhere on a fourth-and-17 play - left you wondering what that was all about. A couple of sacks earlier in their final possession had made the situation dire.

"It's tough," Westbrook said. "We had some opportunities in the two-minute drill and we didn't take advantage. We had a couple negative plays that put us in second and long and third and long, and you put yourself in a bad situation."

"It's nothing to cry about," offensive tackle Tra Thomas said. "We played hard and we battled. We just made a few too many mistakes and they capitalized. We put up a lot of points. It was a big shoot-out."

By halftime, the teams had combined for 54 points, the second most for a single half in a Monday Night Football game.

The Eagles scored on five of their six possessions in the first half and also got a defensive touchdown.

The Cowboys countered with scores on four of their seven possessions and got a 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown from rookie Felix Jones. Two costly turnovers by Romo, however, left Dallas trailing by 30-24 at the half.

If you're one of those people who were sick of the hype leading into the game, it all seemed worthwhile once it started.

T.O. was a star with a star on his helmet in the first half, catching three balls for 89 yards and two touchdowns. McNabb was equal to him in the opening half, completing 14 of 19 passes for 191 yards and a touchdown.

It was the kid from Cal, however, who made the play that left everyone scratching their heads and talking at the end of the electric evening. Jackson, using that speed that makes him so dangerous, got behind the Cowboys' secondary and pulled in a perfectly thrown pass from McNabb for what was initially ruled a 61-yard touchdown.

It wasn't a touchdown, however, because Jackson made the first huge rookie mistake of his career when he discarded the football behind him a yard before he crossed the goal line, a snafu that could be seen clearly by everyone on the stadium's replay screens.

"He just needs to learn from that and make sure he gets across the goal line," Eagles coach Andy Reid said. "You can't do that."

Cowboys coach Wade Phillips won his challenge, but all that did was delay the Eagles' touchdown by one play as Westbrook hurdled into the end zone on the next snap.

Yes, it was a stupid play, but before becoming too critical, you should know this: Jackson also became just the second rookie in NFL history to have consecutive 100-yard receiving games in his first two NFL games. The other was former Eagle Don Looney in 1940, and there is somebody out there who remembers it. Jackson finished with six catches and 110 yards, but still doesn't have his first career touchdown.

That touchdown gave the Eagles a 27-21 lead with 7:38 left in the first half, and after the defense came through with a stop, McNabb and company responded with an 11-play drive that ended with a 22-yard field goal by David Akers.

The Eagles had a 30-21 lead and only 45 seconds remained until halftime.

On this night, that was more than enough time for a score, and the Cowboys responded to regain some momentum going into the locker room.

Nick Folk hit a 51-yard field goal with just three seconds left that was set up by a 42-yard pass from Romo to Witten after the tight end had run past safety Brian Dawkins.

By the end of the third quarter, the Cowboys had regained the lead that they had relinquished in the first half because of Romo's turnovers, one of which resulted in second-year linebacker Chris Gocong falling on the football for a touchdown. That came just 14 seconds after the first of Westbrook's two scores. It was the fastest two TDs in franchise history.

Yes, it was a historic night, and it had more to do with the tilting scoreboard than the closing of this stadium with the giant hole in the roof that was no bigger than the giant holes in both these teams' defenses.

"We're a tough-minded football team, and that's important," Reid said. "That's going to take us a long way in this thing, and I'm proud of the guys, man. We'll be all right."