Eagles 38

(10-4, 6-2 away)

Giants 31

(9-5, 5-3 home)

Coverage: FOX

1:00 PM ET, December 19, 2010

MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ 

1 2 3 4 T
PHI 0 3 7 2838
NYG 7 17 0 731

Top Performers

Passing: E. Manning (NYG) - 289 YDS, 4 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: M. Vick (PHI) - 10 CAR, 130 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: M. Manningham (NYG) - 8 REC, 113 YDS, 2 TD

DeSean Jackson's 65-yard punt return caps Eagles' 21-point comeback

Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- With 13 seconds left, DeSean Jackson never thought he'd get a chance to win the game. Matt Dodge was ordered by Giants coach Tom Coughlin to punt away from the Eagles' elusive return man.

The rookie punted all right, straight to Jackson, who fumbled the ball before taking off on one of the greatest plays in NFL history -- a breathtaking 65-yard punt return for the winning touchdown on the final play of the game.

The Eagles scored 28 points in the final 7:18 and beat the New York Giants 38-31 at the New Meadowlands Stadium on Sunday, a bitter loss that revived memories of "The Miracle at the Meadowlands" in 1978.

Call this one "The Miracle at the New Meadowlands."

"I was thinking to myself like 'they're not going to kick it to
me,' " Jackson said. "I was thinking he was going to kick it out of bounds. But it got to me. From there, I just used my instincts and my speed to get into the end zone."

The electrifying finish left the Eagles (10-4) alone in first place in the NFC East, one game ahead of the deflated Giants (9-5).

And it took the play of the season to make it happen.

"I've never been around anything like this in my life," Coughlin said. "It's about as empty as you get to feel in this business, right there."

The stunning turn of events brought back thoughts of Joe Pisarcik. In 1978, the Giants quarterback botched a handoff at the end of the game, allowing the Eagles' Herm Edwards to scoop up the loose ball and run in for the winning points.

This time, the showstopper was Jackson.

"Somebody told me that coach Coughlin ran on the field and tried to get his kicker because he was just so pissed that his kicker punted the ball to me," said Jackson, who was limited in practice this week with a foot injury. "That just shows how mad he was at that punter."

Coughlin tossed the papers in his hand to the ground and confronted Dodge after the play, clearly agitated.

"I'll take full responsibility for the last play," Coughlin said. "With him back there, you don't punt the ball to him."

They did, and the play will go down in NFL lore as the only game-winning punt return on the final play from scrimmage.

Edwards, now an NFL analyst with ESPN, said he knows Jackson, and that the two will be "linked together." When he saw Jackson hit the crease "I said to myself 'are you kidding me? Is this about to happen? Same two teams, same result, same site?' And what many people won't remember is that it was the same corner of the end zone from the Miracle. Different stadium, but it was that same corner that I finished in. Unbelievable."

The play unfolded when long snapper Zak DeOssie delivered a high snap, and Dodge was unable to do as instructed -- kick the ball out of bounds. Even after Jackson fumbled the line-drive punt, the Giants were unable to tackle him.

"I was definitely looking out of bounds the whole way," Dodge said. "I got the snap and tried to get it off quick. Not a good time to hit a line drive, that's for sure.

"You can't give the most explosive returner in the game a line drive in a situation like that."

The fumble allowed Jackson's blockers to create a seam, allowing him to run up the middle. At midfield, DeOssie had a chance to make up for his bad snap. He could have stopped Jackson. He could of surrounded him, allowing his teammates to converge. But Eagles receiver Jason Avant laid him out with a textbook block that could be used in a how-to film.

"When [he] first kicked, and I saw the low trajectory on the kick, I was saying to myself, 'why would he kick it to DeSean?' " Eagles quarterback Michael Vick said. "It was all the way home from there. It was a great opportunity for DeSean out there battling through the game and getting a W."

Once DeOssie was drilled, it was over. Jackson bolted toward the end zone. He slowed down at the 3, where he began to prance along the goal line into the left corner, before walking onto the blue painted turf and into the history books. For added measure, he threw the ball about 20 rows into the seats.

Dodge wasn't the only one surprised.

"I haven't had a big return or a return for a touchdown the whole season, so it was an honor to be in that situation," Jackson said. "It was a blessing."

When it was over, the Giants and their fans were in shock, and the Eagles were staring at a likely division title. The scene was surreal considering less than an hour before, they were down 31-10 with 8:17 left in the fourth quarter.

"By far, this is one of the greatest comebacks of my career, being down by such a huge deficit," said Vick, who threw for three touchdowns and ran for another. "We were able to come back in a short period of time. It's outstanding."

Vick threw for 242 yards and ran for a game-high 130 in the win, which gave the Eagles a sweep of the season series with New York. They need to either win one of their final two home games (Minnesota or Dallas) or have New York lose one of its two road games (Green Bay or Washington) to capture the division.

The Giants dominated the opening half, outgaining the Eagles' top-ranked offense 222-74. Vick was under constant pressure, sacked twice, hit about a half-dozen other times and limited to six completions for 33 yards. He also threw his fifth interception of the season.

Eli Manning was given time by his line and made the most of it early, leading New York on touchdown drives of 71, 73 and 8 yards, the last coming when receiver Jeremy Maclin lost a fumble late in the half and safety Kenny Phillips returned the ball to the Philadelphia 8 with :09 to go. Manning found Hakeem Nicks in the right corner 4 seconds later for a 24-3 halftime lead.

"This game is all about momentum. We had it in the first half. They had it in the second," Giants center Shaun O'Hara said. "I don't think there are enough words in the dictionary to describe how we feel right now."

Manning finished with 289 yards passing and four touchdowns. Mario Manningham had eight catches for 118 yards and two scores. But it was all for naught in the loss, which clinched a playoff spot for Atlanta (12-2).

"I like to do things for excitement," Jackson said of his outlandish celebration. "That's what the fans and all the crowd pay for. So I like to bring that out."

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

1st Downs1920
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
Total Plays5972
Total Yards418364
Yards per play7.15.1
Total Drives1714
Yards per pass
Interceptions thrown
Sacks-Yards Lost
Rushing Attempts
Yards per rush
Red Zone (Made-Att)3-42-3
Fumbles lost
Interceptions thrown
Defensive / Special Teams TDs10

Passing Leaders


Rushing Leaders


Receiving Leaders


Scoring Summary

nygTD3:46Mario Manningham 35 Yard Pass From Eli Manning (Lawrence Tynes Kick is Good)
Drive info: 9 plays, 71 yds, 4:17
phiFG13:09David Akers 34 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 5 plays, 29 yds, 2:12
nygTD8:28Mario Manningham 33 Yard Pass From Eli Manning (Lawrence Tynes Kick is Good)
Drive info: 8 plays, 73 yds, 4:45
nygFG0:52Lawrence Tynes 25 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 12 plays, 55 yds, 3:23
nygTD0:09Hakeem Nicks 8 Yard Pass From Eli Manning (Lawrence Tynes Kick is Good)
Drive info: 1 plays, 8 yds, 0:00
phiTD4:06Jeremy Maclin 8 Yard Pass From Michael Vick (David Akers Kick is Good)
Drive info: 3 plays, 25 yds, 1:04
nygTD8:23Kevin Boss 8 Yard Pass From Eli Manning (Lawrence Tynes Kick is Good)
Drive info: 7 plays, 47 yds, 4:17
phiTD7:43Brent Celek 65 Yard Pass From Michael Vick (David Akers Kick is Good)
Drive info: 2 plays, 75 yds, 0:49
phiTD5:32Michael Vick 4 Yard Run (David Akers Kick is Good)
Drive info: 5 plays, 57 yds, 2:00
phiTD1:24Jeremy Maclin 13 Yard Pass From Michael Vick (David Akers Kick is Good)
Drive info: 8 plays, 88 yds, 1:45
phiTD0:14Desean Jackson 65 Yard Punt Return (David Akers Kick is Good)
Drive info: 1 plays, 65 yds, 0:00

Research Notes

The 28 4th-quarter points allowed by the Giants was the 4th time since 1940 New York allowed 28 points in the 4th quarter and 6th time since 1940 it allowed 28 in ANY quarter (twice in 2nd quarter).
Entering Sunday's game, Eli Manning led the NFL with 10 touchdown passes along the left sideline. Manning's success continued Sunday, with three of his four touchdown passes coming along the left sideline, all in the direction of Eagles cornerback Dimitri Patterson.
NEXT-LEVEL: Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs averaged 5.5 yards per rush with 12 first downs and 3 touchdowns when rushing inside the tackles over the last three games. However, their interior running game failed them Sunday against the Eagles, as it did when the teams met in Week 11, a 27-17 Eagles victory.
-The Giants kept the Eagles QB on the run on Sunday. Vick had a season-high 8 scrambles and made the Giants pay with 122 yards on those plays. In the previous meeting, New York limited Vick to 28 yards on 6 scrambles. -Sunday's game continued the trend of Vick being pressured more as of late - the Eagles QB has been forced to scramble 40 times in the last 7 games compared to just 11 in his first 4. -Vick was under duress on nine of his dropbacks on Sunday. He went 0-8 with an interception and an 11-yard scramble on those plays. Duress is used if the quarterback has to throw early, off-balance, etc., because of pressure. It is also noted if the QB is hit while throwing. This is entirely different from the traditional QB Hit.
NEXT-LEVEL: Michael Vick completed just 3-9 passes in the second half when the Giants blitzed a member of the secondary, but all 3 of his completions were touchdowns. After blitzing on two-thirds of Vick's first-half dropbacks, New York dialed it down in the second half, blitzing just 42 percent of the time.
NEXT-LEVEL: In a failed attempt to contain Michael Vick, the Giants sent 7 or more pass rushers 6 times on Sunday. In the first half, the Giants sent seven or more once, a 5-yard completion to Jeremy Maclin. However, in the second half, Vick faced 7-or-more pass rushers 5 times, scrambling twice for 68 yards and throwing an 8-yard touchdown to Jeremy Maclin. Entering Sunday's game, Vick had faced 7-or-more pass rushers on just 10 dropbacks this season. He was 4-7 for 76 yards, sacked once and scrambled twice for 38 yards on those plays.
NEXT-LEVEL: The Giants defense used five or more defensive backs on 54 of the 59 snaps the Eagles had on Sunday, and for three quarters kept Eagles quarterback Michael Vick under control. However, in the 4th quarter, Vick dominated the Giants defense, improving on both his 99.3 passer rating (2nd in NFL) and his 483 rushing yards (1st among QB) entering the game against five or more defensive backs. The Eagles did not have a single called running play in the 4th quarter.
Michael Vick rushed 4 times for 94 yards in the fourth quarter Sunday when the Giants had 5 or more defensive backs on the field.
The Eagles overcame a 21-point halftime deficit to win 38-31. The last time the Eagles came back to win a game when they were down by at least 21 points at the half was on October 27, 1946 when they were down 24-0 at the Redskins. They would win the game 28-24 In the last 70 years, this is just the 3rd time the Giants lost a game in which they led by at least 21 points at halftime. The others were on November 26, 2006 at Tennessee and on December 21, 1996 at home to New England. Those two games also represent the only other times in the last 70 years in which the Giants blew a 14-point lead after three quarters and lost, which is what the Giants had Sunday against the Eagles. This is the 3rd time in the last 70 years in which the Eagles won a game when they trailed by 14 points after three quarters. The others were October 27, 1985 against the Bills and October 1, 1978 at the Baltimore Colts.

ESPN Stats & Information