ARLINGTON, TX --It ended as it should, as far as linebacker DeMeco Ryans is concerned: The Eagles made the big stop on defense, a Brandon Boykin interception, to preserve Philadelphia's 24-22 win over Dallas on Sunday night that clinched the NFC East Division title for the Eagles and sent them into Saturday's playoff game against New Orleans at Lincoln Financial Field.
"It was great to be a part of and it was great that the defense ended it," said Ryans, who had seven tackles, six solos and one for a loss, in the victory. "It's a great accomplishment with this team. It's huge for us. It's a new beginning -- a new year with new players, new staff -- and for everybody to come together like this is a great accomplishment.
"For us, it's the beginning. Winning together was the ticket to get in and now that we're in, we have a lot more work to do."
Ryans felt the "high energy" from head coach Chip Kelly and his staff the instant the team gathered in the spring, and that energy carried the Eagles to a 10-6 record, including seven wins in the final eight games of the regular season.
The defense was better than many anticipated and, with Brandon Boykin's last-minute interception on Sunday night, closed out another victory.
"We were in the huddle saying, 'This is the game, Our team is counting on us to make a play for us to win this game.' Fortunately, it was the first play of that drive. Boykin came up wiith a huge interception to win us the game. It's great being on a defense that rises to the occasion when we need it."
Dallas, with Kyle Orton at quarterback, kept it simple with short passes and the running game and had some success. But the Eagles had three takeaways that led to 10 points and, at the very end, the close of the game.
"It's a great feeling to be part of this," said Ryans. "We have a lot of confidence. It feels good and we know there's a lot more we want to accomplish."