Rapid Reaction: Eagles 23, Giants 11

January, 11, 2009
1/11/09
4:19
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- There will be no repeat for the New York Giants. For the second time in a little more than a month, the Eagles walked into the Meadowlands and pushed the Giants around. But this victory had a lot more meaning than the 20-14 win Dec. 7.

The Eagles, a team that needed a miracle to make the playoffs, will play in their fifth NFC Championship Game this decade after a 23-11 win over the Giants. New York, considered to be the best team in the league for much of the season, will face an offseason full of questions.

For instance, why did head coach Tom Coughlin not insist that bruising tailback Brandon Jacobs hammer away at the middle of the Eagles' defense? By bouncing runs outside, Jacobs played right into the Eagles' hands. Linebackers Chris Gocong and Stewart Bradley joined defensive end Trent Cole in stretching everything outside.

  Eagles-Giants Highlights
  NFL.com Video
  Highlights of the Eagles' 23-11 win over New York.

And the Eagles didn't even need a big day from their most potent offensive weapon, Brian Westbrook. For one afternoon, reigning Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning looked like the guy who's been criticized much of his career. He threw off his back foot deep inside his own territory, and Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel had the seventh postseason interception of his career.

The Giants also lost the field goal battle with Eagles kicker David Akers. Pro Bowl kicker John Carney missed 46- and 47-yard field goals on a day when last year's NFC Championship Game hero, Lawrence Tynes, was on the active roster.

Sunday's outcome also supports a recent trend in which teams with first-round byes don't necessarily see any benefit. The Cowboys lost to the Giants in a divisional playoff game last year, and now the Giants have done the same.

I'm heading down to spend some time in the losing locker room. Jeff Chadiha will take care of the winning locker room. See you back here in three hours or so.

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