ARLINGTON, Texas - Eagles linebacker Casey Matthews called it something that should have happened much sooner. Defensive end Trent Cole called it a very satisfying day. William Shakespeare might have called it much ado about nothing, but Michael Vick sure wasn't looking at it that way.

"Absolutely," he replied when asked if the Eagles' 20-7 win over the Cowboys was something the team could build on for next season.

"I've watched this team grow as the weeks have went on," Vick said. "The last three or four weeks, we're come together as a team. It's a family environment, a family atmosphere, and that translates to winning. That's why you see a different team. I think we are well put together and well fit.

"We're playing together, and that's what it's all about. But it takes time to build that chemistry, build that unity, that togetherness. Doing it now, it's exciting for me, and there's not a place that I'd rather be each and every day."

Vick, who finished 18 of 32 passing for 293 yards and two touchdowns, found out about the New York Giants' victory at the start of the second quarter.

"I played the whole first quarter still motivated, not to say that changed once I found out the outcome. But I admit, it was a bit of a letdown, and that's because we're human, and I have emotions. The objective was to finish strong."

But once the Giants result was known, the Eagles didn't need to hire a motivational speaker for anything.

"Nobody had to say anything," Vick said. "We stayed motivated. We knew those guys on defense were playing tough. [The Cowboys] didn't want to get embarrassed like what happened last time. They gave 110 percent, and we did the same."

It has been said that if ifs and buts were candy and nuts, every day would be Christmas. And while it is unknown if Vick, on Christmas Eve, was aware of that saying, he sure appeared to be aware of the spirit behind it.

"If we had gotten into the playoffs, I feel we would have definitely done some damage," he said. "It's unfortunate that we didn't, and that's the game of football. If you make some mistakes early and you get behind in the count in the win-loss column, you sell yourself short at the end and you're in the position we are in. We're just happy that we are finishing strong. We have one more game to play, and we're going to give it everything we've got."