Eagles survive wild ending to upend rival Giants

Kevin Noonan, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Eagles have won three games this season and in each one they had to put on a scoring drive in the final minutes, including Sunday night's 19-17 victory over the New York Giants at Lincoln Financial Field.
"We talk all the time about playing all four quarters and never letting up, no matter what the circumstances," said Eagles cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who had a key fourth-quarter interception in the end zone.
"If you have that mentality, that you're going to give everything you have for all 60 minutes, then good things will happen for you. I've been around these guys long enough to know that this team has that mentality and games like this just feed that."
The Eagles scored the game-winning points on a 26-yard field goal by Alex Henery, his fourth field goal of the night, with 1:49 remaining on the clock and then had to hold off a furious last-minute charge by the Giants that included two defensive and one offensive pass interference penalties. Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes missed a 54-yard field-goal attempt with 10 seconds left to play, but Eagles coach Andy Reid called a timeout right before the snap, giving Tynes another chance. But he missed that one, too, and the Eagles (3-1) had sole possession of first place in NFC East, at least until when the Dallas Cowboys (2-1) play the Chicago Bears on Monday night.
"It's a kick I've hit before to win a game," Tynes said.
Reid dodged a bullet when Tynes missed the second attempt, and he was asked later if he regretted calling that timeout.
"When you're surrounded by 66,000 people and they want to tear your throat out - yeah," Reid said.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin also made a controversial decision when he elected not to try another pass play before Tynes' failed attempts - his second one fell just a little short -- but he said the Giants were out of timeouts and that was the deciding factor.
"I was worried we'd make some kind of play in bounds and not have enough time to clock the ball," Coughlin said.
The victory was also a vindication for Eagles quarterback Mike Vick, who came into the game with an NFL-worst nine turnovers, but didn't turn the ball over once against the Giants. He also threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver DeSean Jackson to give the Eagles a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.
"He found himself tonight," Reid said. "This is what I expect of him."
Vick also led the Eagles to Henery's game-winner, orchestrating a 75-yard, 12-play drive. The Giants had just taken the lead on quarterback Eli Manning's 8-yard touchdown pass to tight end Bear Pascoe, one series after Rodgers-Cromartie intercepted Manning in the end zone.
"It's something you have to do," Vick said. "Every game is not going to be perfect and it's not always going to come easy. You have to persevere in this game. It's a tough game."
The Eagles also found their running game, after they were criticized following last week's loss to Arizona when they only ran the ball five times in the first half. Running back LeSean McCoy rushed for 123 yards on 23 carries - the Eagles are now 10-1 when he gets 20-plus carries - and McCoy carried the ball and the load in the Eagles' final drive.
"We had good balance in our offense tonight and everyone saw the results," McCoy said. "I'm willing to do whatever it takes to win the game, but I think we have a better chance of doing that when we mix things up and keep defenses off balance. I know that helps (Vick) when we can take some of the pressure off of him by running the ball."
GAME NOTES: Vick limped off the field on the Eagles' final offensive play in the fourth quarter but said in the on-field postgame he wasn't injured. ... Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara made his first NFL start. ... The Giants were without wide receiver Hakeem Nicks (knee, ankle), and the Eagles played without two starters, left tackle King Dunlap (hamstring) and linebacker Akeem Jordan (hamstring). ... At halftime, the Eagles retired the No. 20 of retired safety Brian Dawkins. Dawkins played 13 seasons with the Eagles and went to seven Pro Bowls. ... Giants safety Kenny Phillips left in first quarter with knee sprain and did not return.

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