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Eagles win NFC East; Boykin's INT saves season
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- Brandon Boykin didn’t get too technical when describing the biggest play of his life.

“He threw it a little bit to me,” he said. “It was awesome.”

Boykin, the Eagles’ playmaking 23-year-old slot cornerback, made the Eagles’ biggest defensive play in three years Sunday night when he intercepted Kyle Orton with 1:49 left to preserve a 24-22 Eagles win over the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium and propel the Eagles into the playoffs (see Instant Replay).

The Cowboys, needing only a field goal to win the game and the NFC East title and end the Eagles' season, were on their own 32-yard line. They needed only about 32 yards to get into Dan Bailey's range.

Dallas had just gotten within two points a moment earlier on Orton’s 32-yard TD pass to Dez Bryant, and the Cowboys had a ton of momentum.

The Eagles desperately needed a play.

Then Boykin saved the season.

Orton, who threw for 358 yards, dropped back on 1st-and-10 and locked in on slot receiver Miles Austin at the Dallas 40.

“I kind of figured by [Austin’s] first couple steps it wasn’t going to be an out route,” Boykin said. “Typically in those situations -- when it’s two minutes [left] and they don’t have a lot of timeouts -- they’ll run a slant and try to get to the sideline.

“So I pretty much figured out it would be a slant after a couple steps. I saw the quarterback about to release it and tried to undercut it at the last second.”

The interception was Boykin’s sixth this year. The last time a cornerback the Eagles drafted had more was 1989, when Eric Allen picked off eight passes.

That was 24 years ago.

Boykin has made big plays all year. But he said he’s never made a game-saving interception on any level.

“Not in the closing part of a game like that with so much on the line,” he said. “Awesome to finish the game like that, but we’ve got to shift our focus quick. We don’t have a lot of time to celebrate.”

The Saints come to the Linc on Saturday night for a wild-card round playoff game, the Eagles’ first since 2010 (see story).

Last time the Eagles won a playoff game at home was 2006, when Boykin was 15.

Boykin has become such a playmaker, and he’s only 23 years old. The last Eagle with six picks in a season before his 24th birthday was Herm Edwards in 1977.

"I think he’s a guy that works hard, man, and it’s just showing up on Sundays,” Cary Williams said. “Whether he’s in the right position or he’s using great technique, he’s playing with tremendous confidence.

“I think it’s a testament to how well he prepares throughout the week and how much he puts into this thing. He takes the game seriously and he doesn’t want to go out there and look stupid on Sunday. He’s just reaping the benefits of hard work, man, and that’s just what it takes.”

What’s remarkable about Boykin’s season is that he’s not a starter, and he’s played only 52 percent of the Eagles’ defensive snaps.

But he still finished tied for second in the NFL in interceptions, behind only Richard Sherman of the Seahawks, who had eight.

“I’m just embracing whatever time I get on the field,” Boykin said.

“Most of the time when I get on the field, it’s second or third down and I know they’re coming my way. Third down’s a crucial down and most of the time they’re throwing it to that guy, and you just have to be ready, be ready whenever you’re called on to make the play.”