Philadelphia Eagles news and stories from around the web…
“Andy Reid was surprised the Giants punted to DeSean Jackson late in a tie game, even if there were just 14 seconds left.
Jackson was thinking, “They’re really not going to kick it to me.”
The idea, Giants coach Tom Coughlin confirmed, was, in fact, not to punt to Jackson.
“Why would they kick it to DeSean?” Michael Vick wondered afterward. “They was on their own from there.”
Matt Dodge was supposed to boot the ball out of bounds. But the snap was high and Dodge was worried about a block, and he laid it out there on a straight line, 36 yards. Almost before you could blink, that Jackson fellow himself – after dropping the ball – was blazing up the right side, sore foot and all, past midfield now, in front of the Giants’ bench, nobody in front of him.
“Oh, my God. That was crazy,” Eagles corner Asante Samuel said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen to [Dodge], but I’m sure Tom Coughlin is pretty upset.”
The New Meadowlands Stadium, at that point, sounded very much like the old Meadowlands stadium did, on Oct. 19, 2003. That was the day the Giants spent more than 58 minutes beating the Eagles, only to see the whole thing vanish when punter Jeff Feagles couldn’t get the ball out of bounds, and Brian Westbrook ran a punt back 84 yards for a game-winning TD. We’re not sure what the old Meadowlands stadium sounded like on Nov. 19, 1978, when Herman Edwards picked up a botched handoff in the days before kneeldowns and did the same thing to the Giants, but we will go out on a limb and guess that sound was much like the sound in 2003, and yesterday, when the Eagles miraculously won their sixth in a row over New York, including one in the postseason.
December 20 Camden Courier-Post columnist Martin Frank:
“Where do you begin?
The Eagles were dead, finished, last rites, the whole nine yards. Everything was falling apart — their chance to take over first place in the NFC East, even their chance to make the playoffs.
They were down by three touchdowns to the Giants with eight minutes left in the fourth quarter.
They had no chance.
Then Michael Vick started running up and down the field over the last 7 1/2 minutes as if he was possessed.
Then DeSean Jackson returned the punt that broke the Giants’ hearts. He stuck the proverbial knife in a little farther as he ran along the 1-yard line for a few seconds to make sure the clock had wound down to zero before finally going into the end zone.
A stunned crowd at the New Meadowlands went silent when the scoreboard read Eagles 38, Giants 31.
The only noise was from the Eagles jumping up and down and shouting into the night in disbelief.
“This is the greatest for me,” Eagles safety Quintin Mikell said. “To have so much bad stuff happen, injuries, and for us to keep fighting, come back from so far down in a playoff-type game — it was crazy.”
December 20 Philadelphia Daily News columnist Sam Donnellon:
“He was out of breath. Blood oozed from his right hand. Streams of water ran down both sides of Andy Reid’s reddened face, as if he, not Michael Vick, had scrambled for 94 yards over the last quarter, as if he finished off this deliciously indescribable comeback himself – as if it was he, not DeSean Jackson, who cemented the most unbelievable chapter yet of this incredible rivalry with a game-winning 65-yard punt return as time expired.
“I’ll tell you what,” Reid said, still puffing and huffing in the bowels of the New Meadowlands. “My heart is a little weaker after this one.”
They rescued him yesterday, his two big stars did, in a way that previous Eagles stars were unable. They flipped a 31-10 fourth-quarter no-doubt-about-it loss into a 38-31 victory with an improvised script that left their coach sounding like a fan . . .
A relieved fan.
“This is a special one,” Reid said. “I mean this is exciting. This was exciting for you guys. I mean this is exciting. It’s a great day to be a Philadelphia writer.”
It was a great day to be the head coach of a team that includes Vick and Jackson. As most days are. But this time it was as much about their heads as it was their hearts.
There are things that bother you about how Reid coaches. At times it seems he goes against the grain just to go against the grain, like at the end of the first half yesterday. Forty eight seconds to play, your team down 17-3, backed up to its own 17 yard line – this would seem to be a good time to take a knee and regroup.
December 20 Philadelphia Daily News columnist Paul Domowitch:
“With his team trailing 24-3, with his defense seemingly incapable of stopping Eli Manning and the Giants’ passing game, Andy Reid had a simple message for his players at halftime yesterday.
“He said, ‘Let’s go do something great,’ ” safety Quintin Mikell said after the Eagles completed one of the most remarkable comebacks in franchise history.
“He was cool and calm. We all knew what we needed to do. Basically, we were killing ourselves, especially on defense.”
That they were. Four weeks after intercepting Manning three times and holding him to a puny 4.5 yards per attempt in a 27-17 win at the Linc, they seemed incapable of stopping Peyton’s kid brother.
The key to this game was supposed to be the Eagles‘ ability to shut down the Giants’ white-hot ground game, which they did effectively, holding Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw to 3.2 yards per carry.
But Manning and the Giants’ passing game picked up the slack in the first half. Eli completed 16 of 25 passes for 188 yards and three touchdowns. He was 6-for-10 for 109 yards on third down as the Giants converted six third downs of 6 yards or more.
Asante Samuel returned after missing three games with a knee injury, but it mattered little. Manning went after the Eagles‘ other starting corner, Dimitri Patterson. Mario Manningham beat Patterson with a double move for a 35-yard touchdown to give the Giants a 7-0 lead. Then Manning and Manningham went after him again midway through the second quarter for a 33-yard touchdown catch-and-run.
December 20 Newark Star-Ledger:
“Last month, it was Chris Canty saying Eagles guard Todd Herremans plays “dirty.” Sunday, after the Giants’ collapse in a 38-31 last-second loss to the Eagles, it was another defensive tackle crying foul against the entire Philly offensive line.
“It’s just that team, they like to play dirty. Same (stuff) they did in the first game and the refs don’t do (anything) about it,” Rocky Bernard told The Star-Ledger. “Just taking cheap shots, after the whistle, tackling, holding, whatever. It’s ridiculous.”
Bernard, who sacked Michael Vick once Sunday, was grappling with Eagles players a few times. He was battling guard Max Jean-Gilles after one play and also mixed it up with tight end Clay Harbor after the whistle. Neither he nor any Eagles players were flagged.
“I’m usually a pretty cool guy, but when they start doing stuff like that, taking cheap shots, that’s when I have a problem with it,” Bernard said. “You try to complain about it to the ref, and they don’t call it.”
Asked what the officials told him after he complained, Bernard replied, ” ‘Oh well, we didn’t see it.’ How could you not see somebody 360 pounds tackling another man or punching somebody in the face? It’s unbelievable.”
But if his case isn’t being heard, should these teams meet again, Bernard realizes there’s only one solution.
“Just take it, I guess,” he said.”
December 20 Philadelphia Daily News:
“The halftime score was every bit as bad as Giants 24, Eagles 3 would suggest. The game of the year seemed to be over before it started. And while speechifying can be overrated in sports, more about story line than about reality, someone felt the need to get up and say something.
It was Asante Samuel, playing in his first game in a month after suffering a sprained knee.
“Everybody, come show your heart,” is what he remembers saying. “Let your heart show this second half. When you come out of here, everybody play with your heart. I don’t want anybody coming out of here unless they left it all on the line.”
Why make a speech? Why him?
“We were getting our ass kicked – what do you mean?” Samuel said. “We were losing, 24-3. It wasn’t going right. Everybody was on vacation. Somebody had to do something to get everybody fired up. So that’s what happened.”
The rest is history – so long and tortured that it should have been written by Tolstoy. The final score – Eagles 38, Giants 31, ending on a 65-yard DeSean Jackson punt return at the gun – will be discussed for as long as people discuss these things. Samuel spoke for everyone when he said, “Anything is possible with that guy – one of the most amazing athletes I’ve ever seen, with the speed, the agility, he’s an incredible athlete. Anything is possible with that kid . . . He’s a big-play guy.””
December 20 Philadelphia Daily News:
“The Eagles‘ Jason Avant was down and briefly out on the Giants’ 40-yard line, struggling to recover from his huge collision with Giants long snapper Zak DeOssie.
Avant couldn’t see DeSean Jackson high-stepping to the end zone for the 65-yard, final-play-from-scrimmage punt return that stunned the New York Giants yesterday, 38-31. Unofficially, it was the first NFL game to end on a final-play punt return.
But Avant knew, he said later, that DeOssie was the last Giant with an angle, and he knew he had taken out DeOssie, so he could infer the rest, even if he was a little shaken up.
“When I saw [Jackson] break the initial wave, and I saw a lane to the right, I knew if I got [DeOssie], he was gonna score. So I just threw it in there. I knew he scored. Me being knocked out just reminded me of a dream I had of us winning on the last play, but I didn’t know who it was against,” Avant said.
“I thought I had a great angle. I thought I was going to stop him. I don’t have eyes in the back of my head,” DeOssie said, though actually, he was facing Avant when he was hit.
As chronicled elsewhere today, Giants punter Matt Dodge was supposed to kick out of bounds. But the snap was high and Dodge was worried about a blocked punt – realistically, with 14 seconds left, that’s the bigger danger, not a TD return. Eagles special-teams coordinator Bobby April said the Eagles had been coming after Dodge, but not this time.
PhillySportsCentral.com – Philadelphia sports news, rumors, blogs, & message board discussion forums