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McNabb-to-Thrash saves day for Eagles

10/23/2001

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- The Philadelphia Eagles couldn't do
much against New York's defense. So they took advantage of the
Giants' stodgy offense instead.

Donovan McNabb threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to James Thrash
with 1:52 left in the game to give Philadelphia a 10-9 victory over
the Giants on Monday night. It was a game New York controlled for
three quarters but couldn't put away because it settled for field
goals.

"It came to the point where we weren't getting it done, we
weren't getting it done, we weren't getting it done," Eagles
offensive tackle Jon Runyan said. "So we did it."

It was Philadelphia's first win over the Giants in 10 games and
gave the Eagles (3-2) a one-half game lead over New York (3-3) in
an NFC East where no other team seems likely to challenge.

"We knew we had to continue to keep them out of the end zone,"
Philadelphia linebacker Ike Reese. "Everyone was yelling in the
locker room at halftime that we had taken their best punch and we
were only down by nine. We just continued to stick together and
keep fighting and made plays."

The game's only touchdown followed a 27-yard punt by Rodney
Williams after his first punt to the Philadelphia 38 was negated by
a holding penalty on New York's Thabiti Davis. So Philadelphia had
a first down at the New York 40 with 5:52 left. Six plays later,
McNabb rolled to his right, bought time and found Thrash in the
left corner of the end zone with Will Peterson chasing in futility.

"I saw Donovan scrambling. As a receiver, you have to stay
alive, especially with him running around," Thrash said. "I was
in the right place at the right time."

Much of the credit goes to the Philadelphia defense, which held
New York to four straight series of three downs and out and just
three first downs in the second half. After the TD, it forced a
fumble by Giants quarterback Kerry Collins when Jeremiah Trotter
stripped the ball and Brandon Whiting managed to recover before it
went out of bounds.

"They kept fighting and we played stupid and they grabbed the
game," said New York coach Jim Fassel, whose team took a 9-0 lead
on three long first-half drives none of which found the Giants in
the end zone.

New York controlled the ball for 24:35 of the first 30 minutes.
But it settled for field goals of 24, 21, and 24 yards by Morten
Andersen.

The defense, meanwhile, sacked McNabb six times, two by Michael
Strahan, who now has 10 1/2 in his last four games. It was the second
one-point loss for the Giants, who lost 15-14 in St. Louis last
week in a game in which the Rams forced a fumble as New York was
driving for the winning field goal.

It was the first time since 1930 the Giants lost consecutive
one-point games.

"It was a little disconcerting. We should have won both
games," Collins said. "We could have put the game away in the
first half but we didn't."

New York had 13 first downs in the first half to two for the
Eagles.

The Giants took a 3-0 lead on Andersen's 24-yard field goal at
the end of a 64 yard, 15-play drive that consumed 8:17 on the
clock. It was helped by three offside penalties on the Eagles.

New York made it 6-0 on Andersen's 21-yarder 2:04 into the
second period. It was set up by Shaun Williams' interception and
20-yard return.

Then it was 9-0 on Andersen's second 24-yarder that followed
another plodding drive. That march covered 61 yards on 13 plays and
ate up another 8:28.

Late in the third quarter, the Eagles reached the New York 7
with the help of two penalties against the Giants. But McNabb's
third-down pass was out of the end zone and David Akers' 25-yard
field goal cut it to 9-3.

But the defense held and the Eagles finally beat the Giants
after losing to them nine straight times, including the game that
knocked them from the playoffs last season.

"People talked about the streak so much," McNabb said. "We
didn't think about it. We just wanted to win the game."

Game notes
Strahan, who leads the NFL in sacks, now has one more than
he had in 16 games last season. ... Philadelphia defensive tackle
Corey Simon left the game in third quarter with a head injury. ...
In two games against the Giants last season with the Redskins
Thrash had five receptions for 119 yards, including catches of 46
and 45 yards. That was one reason why Philadelphia signed him. ...
This is the first time Fassel has lost a game when his team led
going to the fourth quarter. He had been 31-0 in the regular season
although his team lost to Minnesota in the 1997 playoffs after
leading by nine points with two minutes left.

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