EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Jeff Garcia's fiery temper could
easily have cost the Eagles the season.
His subsequent play Sunday has Philadelphia somewhere no one
expected -- on the verge of a playoff berth and possibly the NFC
Minutes after being whistled for a taunting penalty and then
throwing an interception to set up New York's go-ahead
fourth-quarter score, Garcia threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to
Reggie Brown and a 2-point conversion, lifting the Eagles to a
"I'm very disappointed in myself for those actions," said
Garcia, who was 19-of-28 for 237 yards. "I let some other things
get the best of me. Those things were out of character. I'm just
glad I'm not up here apologizing for my actions costing us a chance
Defensive end Trent Cole made sure the Eagles stayed in front
just 10 seconds after Garcia's big throws by returning an
interception 19 yards for a touchdown in the error-plagued game
unworthy of two playoff contenders.
The win was the third straight for the Eagles (8-6) and left
them in control of their playoff destiny. If they win at Dallas
(9-5) next week and over Atlanta at home two weeks later, they take
What has made their run so unusual is the Eagles have found a
way to win after losing Donovan McNabb for the season with a knee
injury. The 36-year-old Garcia is 3-1 since taking over.
"I think we all internally had a lot of confidence in Jeff,"
Eagles owner Jeff Lurie said. "It's a team we felt, with our
offensive line and our defense coming together and being
opportunistic, if you have a high character group that likes to
play together, you have a chance."
The Giants (7-7) still have a shot at the playoffs despite
losing for the fifth time in six games. They face New Orleans here
next weekend and then close at Washington. However, they hold a
tiebreaker with Atlanta (7-7) for the sixth and final playoff berth
in the conference.
"You know any team that makes the playoffs deserves to be
there," Giants halfback Tiki Barber said. "Right now we are not
playing like a playoff-caliber team, especially with the mistakes
we made, the turnovers and penalties."
Brian Westbrook scored on runs of 1 and 28 yards and Correll
Buckhalter scored on a 2-yard run for Philadelphia.
Barber scored on an 11-yard run, Jay Feely kicked three field
goals and Brandon Jacobs scored from 1 yard with 6:59 left in the
fourth quarter. New York led 22-21 after a 2-point conversion run
by Barber was stopped.
Garcia, who committed one of the dumbest plays of his eight-year
career to set up Jacobs' go-ahead run, then led the Eagles on a
winning eight-play, 80-yard drive.
Westbrook, who rushed for 97 yards and caught five passes for
40, started the drive with a 9-yard run. Garcia hit tight end L.J.
Smith for 27 yards to the Giants 36 three plays later. On the TD,
Garcia pump-faked and found a wide-open Brown for a 27-22 lead. A
2-point pass to Smith was successful.
Then Sheldon Brown blitzed on New York's next play and hit Eli
Manning as he was throwing. The ball popped in the air and Cole
caught it and strutted into end zone.
It was sweet revenge for Brown, who was beaten on an overtime
touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress in Week 2 in Philadelphia, a game
in which the Eagles blew a 24-7 fourth-quarter lead.
Garcia seemed to be the goat by drawing a taunting penalty after
a 10-yard run to the Giants 22 with 10:13 left and the Eagles ahead
Two plays later, Will Demps intercepted a deep pass at the 12
and returned it to the 41, where he lateraled to R.W. McQuarters,
who brought the ball to the Eagles 35. A questionable pass
interference penalty against Brown gave New York a first down at
the 2 and Jacobs scored.
"He's a competitive little son of a gun," Eagles coach Andy
Reid said of Garcia. "Slamming the ball at the guy's face, you
can't do that. I'm glad he still has that much energy at 36 years
old. That can be trouble, but he bounced back and came back with a
The Giants took a 16-14 lead on field goals 23 and 24 yards by
Feely, the second coming after Demps sacked Garcia, who fumbled.
Philadelphia came right back. A 64-yard kickoff return by Reno
Mahe set up Westbrook's 28-yard run for a 21-16 lead.
Brian Dawkins, who forced two fumbles and intercepted a pass,
helped the Eagles take a 14-10 halftime lead. His first forced
fumble on Jacobs ended a New York drive in Eagles territory, and
his interception on a pass that hit off the helmet of Eagles tackle
Mike Patterson set up Westbrook's first touchdown.
Barber's 11-yard run gave New York a 7-0 lead.
Garcia drove Philadelphia 80 yards in 12 plays and Buckhalter
scored from the 2 through a huge hole up the middle to tie the
game. Westbrook's TD put the Eagles ahead 14-7 before Feely kicked
a 47-yard field goal in the closing seconds of the half.
Dawkins' interception was his 31st with the Eagles, fourth
in team history and three behind co-leaders Eric Allen and Bill
Bradley. ... Rich Seubert started at center for Shaun O'Hara, who
was out with an ankle injury. Seubert had a mild knee sprain in the
fourth quarter ... Westbrook has more than 1,000 yards rushing for
the first time. ... Eagles S Michael Lewis suffered an MCL sprain.
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