This time, Andy Reid's undermanned team used the slow and excruciating method to hurt the Giants once again and tighten the NFC East race.
Using a quarterback whose only pass this season had been intercepted to replace Michael Vick and a receiver who did not have a catch all season, Philadelphia marched 80 yards in a roughly nine minutes and defeated the Giants 17-10 on Sunday night on an 8-yard go-ahead touchdown pass from Vince Young to Riley Cooper with 2:45 to play.
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"We knew we had to dig deep," said Cooper who had his first five catches of the season for 75 yards, with the final 8 being the difference in breathing life into the Eagles (4-6).
"Everybody contributed," Cooper said. "It was not just one player, not just one long play. We pieced that last drive together piece by piece."
What was so surprising was that the "Dream Team" did it in the fourth quarter, a period that had seen them lose five games earlier this season.
The Eagles found the solution this time with an 18-play march over 8:51 that sent the Giants (6-4) to their second straight loss.
"It's definitely a big win," said Young, who was 23 of 36 for 258 yards, two touchdown and three interceptions. "You see the excitement and the smiles on the guys and that's what we need, what we have to have."
Philadelphia converted six third-down plays with DeSean Jackson setting up the first-and-goal with a 10-yard catch to the 10, and Young capping it with his second touchdown pass of the game to a wide-open Cooper.
"We were taking our time, making plays and the guys came up with big plays on third down," Young said.
Jackson, who was benched for last week's game for missing a team meeting, finished with six catches for 88 yards and set up a touchdown pass to former Giant Steve Smith with a 51-yard punt return. LeSean McCoy added 113 yards rushing, with 60 coming on a late run that iced the game.
|The defense came to life and finally held a fourth-quarter lead. QB Vince Young wasn't perfect (23 for 36, 258 yards, two TDs, three interceptions), but played his best at the end of the game and helped his team convert nine of 17 third down opportunities. Perhaps most importantly, WR Steve Smith finally contributed as an Eagle, making a 14-yard TD reception.|
|New York Giants|
|Not much went right for the Giants, who turned the ball over twice, produced only 29 yards on the ground and sacked QB Vince Young just one time. New York was only 5 for 14 on third down and committed five crucial penalties for 39 yards. Afterward coach Tom Coughlin put it best, saying, "That's as big a disappointment as we've had around here in a long time."|
|By Alex Raskin |
"Vince, stepping in for the great Michael Vick, that's a tough thing to do and he did it and the guys rallied around him," Reid said. "The offensive line and defensive line played well, the offensive line had a huge challenge when it counted and they were able to put some things together."
The Eagles, of course, made Reid sweat out the final minutes.
Eli Manning, who tied it with a 24-yard TD pass to Victor Cruz earlier in the quarter, drove the Giants from their own 10 to the Eagles 21 with the final 47 yards coming on a catch-and-run by Cruz with 1:25 to play.
However, Manning stepped out of the pocket on the next play and was hit from behind by Jason Babin and fumbled. Derek Landi recovered at the 26, sending the Giants to their second straight tough loss, coming on the heels of a 7-point loss to San Francisco, a game that ended with New York at the Niners 2.
"It was important because it keeps us alive," linebacker Jamar Chaney said. "We had faith coming in. We really did. We might have been banged up, but we had faith. I feel good about our defensive effort. We came up big. It was time for the defense to make a play and we have a lot of playmakers out there. Jason got the sack and Landri got the ball."
It dropped New York into a tie for first place with Dallas in the NFC East with six games to play and left the Eagles two games behind. The Cowboys beat the Redskins in overtime after Washington missed a game-winning field-goal attempt.
"This is as big a disappointment as we have had around here in a long time," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said in ripping his team for a no-show effort.
It also marked the second successive year the Eagles rallied late to beat New York at the Meadowlands with last year's 38-31 decision coming in a game that Philadelphia rallied from 21 points down late.
While Young made several big plays to spark the Eagles' offense, he also threw three interceptions, the most costly being one that Aaron Ross picked off in the end zone on a second-and-9 from the New York 16 with Philadelphia ahead 10-3 with 5 minutes left in the third quarter.
New York eventually tied it early in the fourth quarter on a 24-yard TD pass from Manning to Cruz. It was set up two plays earlier when Manning rolled out of the pocket and found Hakeem Nicks for a 47-yard gain on third down to the Eagles 24.
Manning was 18 of 35 for 264 yards, and Cruz had six catches for 128 yards. The Giants' running game failed to get going, rushing for just 29 yards.
"We can't always afford to be in those positions," Manning said of the recent late rallies. "I think we still feel confident when we get in there that we're going to move the ball and we're going to give ourselves a chance to win. It is just a matter of you don't always want to be in that position."
The first half was typical of an Eagles-Giants meeting: chippy, intense, hard-fought and, not surprisingly, ugly.
If there was a surprise, it was that the defenses dominated. The norm was Jackson taunting the Giants in more ways than one, including one that cost the Eagles a 50-yard pass completion.
Jackson set up both of the Eagles' scores in the first half. He caught a 32-yard pass early in the second quarter to set up a 33-yard field goal by Alex Henery and then brought back excruciating memories from last season with a 51-yard punt return that was a carbon copy of his winning 65-yard punt return on the final play of the Eagles' 38-31 Meadowlands Miracle, a game Philadelphia rallied from a 21-point deficit in the final seven-plus minutes.
What made the return so eerie was that Jackson fielded Steve Weatherford's punt at his own 35, circled right and then ran down the sideline in front of the Giants' bench -- the same thing he did last season. The only difference was Weatherford pushed him out of bounds at the 14; Matt Dodge was the Giants' punter last season.
It was enough time for Manning to get the Giants on the board. A 21-yard pass to Cruz on the first play got the ball the 41 and a late 10-catch by running back D.J. Ware on a play in which he suffered a concussion set up Lawrence Tynes' 48-yard field goal.
- The game was Coughlin's 250th regular-season game, making him the 19th head coach in NFL history to reach the mark. He is 139-111, including 71-51 with the Giants.
- Reid said the Eagles had no major injuries.
- Giants rookie LB Mark Herzlich started his first game and the cancer survivor had four tackles.
- The Eagles sacked Manning three times. The Giants only got Young once.
- Giants Pro Bowl G Chris Snee played sick and said he threw up several times during the game.
- Philadelphia was 9 of 17 on third down.