ARLINGTON, TX -- A year ago, the Eagles went 4-12. On Sunday night, they completed a reversal of fortune to finish 10-6 and go from worst-to-first in the NFC East.
Last year, linebacker Connor Barwin was a member of the AFC South champion Houston Texans team that went 12-4. Cornerback Cary Williams was a starter for the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens.
Both left to come to the Eagles as part of the overhaul on defense. Today, both players continue towards the Super Bowl, while their former teams failed to make it back to the playoffs.
"We didn't think this was going to be any kind of rebuilding year," Barwin said. "We knew we had the talent here. Congrats to the guys here. Congrats to Chip and the coaches, but we're not done. There's a lot more football to be played. My goal is not just to be a division champion, but a Super Bowl champion."
Barwin made a crucial pass deflection on a fourth-and-1 with 11:53 left in the game and the ball at the Eagles' 40-yard line.
"We thought that they were going to run," Barwin said. "They had a triple wing and I crashed that C-gap. I saw Orton pull it and I got my hands up."
The Cowboys pulled within two after a 32-yard touchdown pass from Orton to wide receiver Dez Bryant. Dallas lined up to go for the 2-point conversion. Williams lined up across from Bryant to the left side of the offensive formatiom.
Williams knew what play was coming. He said all of AT&T Stadium knew the play call - a stop-and-fade to Bryant.
"It was mano-a-mano. It was the biggest play of the game," Williams said. "It was short and low and I made a great play on the ball."
Dallas had one last opportunity to come back and get the win. They took over at their own 32-yard line with 1:49 left. It took only one play for cornerback Brandon Boykin to steal a pass intended for wide receiver Miles Austin to seal the win.
"We were excited to be out there at the end of the game," Barwin said. "We wanted to win it on defense and Boykin made a hell of a play."
Williams said he knew something good happened because the crowd erupted, but there were only a few cheers. In his eyes, Boykin's interception is the culmination of the year's worth of work.
"From the time I got in here, the work we put in, people's work ethics, the dedication to this organization showed up and 17 weeks later you're looking at where we are," Williams said. "We have to keep pressing towards our mark, the Super Bowl.
"We still have work to do. We did what we were supposed to do. Now, we have to move on, it's playoff time. It just gets that much more intense."