Give the Giants credit. They continue to lose must-win games yet still insist they're a playoff…
Game Story: Eagles @ Giants
Giants record: 7-7
This time last year: 10-4
Time of game: 3:06
Stat worth noting: The Giants converted only two third downs all game out of nine tries. Their lousy 22 percent success rate was one of the major factors in the loss.
Stat worth noting II: The Eagles rolled up 161 rushing yards, averaging a gaudy 5.4 yards per carry.
Turning point: The Giants had just taken a 16-14 lead early in the fourth quarter when they handed the momentum right back to Philadelphia. Jay Feely's kick was returned 64 yards by Reno Mahe, who fielded the kick and immediately headed right up the right sideline before Frank Walker dragged him down from behind at the New York 36-yard line. That saved a touchdown, but only for three plays.
Play to remember: With the Giants struggling mightily to get a handle on elusive Philly QB Jeff Garcia, Carlos Emmons was in the right place at the right time in the third quarter. Garcia turned away from the rush and right into the waiting arms of Emmons, who dropped the Philly signal-caller for a 10-yard loss and New York's first sack of the game.
Play to forget: Trailing by seven with less than three minutes to play, the Giants needed some last-minute heroics from Eli Manning. Fat chance. On the Giants' first play of their most important possession of the game, Manning had his pass tipped by Sheldon Brown, intercepted by Trent Cole and returned 19 yards for the game-sealing touchdown.
4 – Number of Giants turnovers that directly led to 14 Eagles points.
10 – Number of seconds that elapsed between Philly's final two touchdowns.
52 – Yards Plaxico Burress gained on his clutch third-quarter reception, which set up a Jay Feely field goal. Burress ran right by Eagles CB Roderick Hood for the big gain.
"This was a character win against a good football team. It really came right down to the end there." – Eagles coach Andy Reid
"I was surprised they ran the ball as well as they did." – Giants coach Tom Coughlin
What went right
Will Demps finally played a solid defensive game. He's been beaten up lately – and deservedly so – for a lack of playmaking. That all changed against the Eagles. Demps blitzed and sacked Jeff Garcia, forcing a fumble, which the Giants converted into a go-ahead field goal. Then he picked Garcia off and returned it 29 yards before he threw a lateral to R.W. McQuarters, who gained an extra 24 yards. That set up New York's go-ahead TD.
Chad Morton posted his longest punt return of the season – a 38-yarder – to set New York up for its first touchdown. Morton returned Dirk Johnson's punt all the way to the Eagles 21. Two plays later, Tiki Barber ran it in from the 11.
While their third-down offense was its usual atrocious self, New York did convert both of its fourth-down opportunities.
Jeremy Shockey was a force in the passing game, catching a game-high eight passes for 70 yards.
Because of how lousy the entire NFC is the Giants are still very much in the thick of the playoff race and would clinch a postseason spot with victories in their final two games.
What went wrong
Twice in the second half, the Giants were unable to punch it into the end zone when they were deep in Philly territory. First, after Burress' 52-yard catch, they had to settle for a field goal after they only gained five yards in three plays. Then, following Jeff Garcia's fumble, they only gained one yard in three plays, settling for three once again.
After posting his first back-to-back games without an interception this season, Brian Dawkins picked off Eli Manning in the second quarter on a pass that was deflected by Mike Patterson. That set up Philly taking a 14-7 lead. Manning's second INT, which was also tipped, sealed the deal.
The Giants could not stop the Eagles' ground game. The Birds averaged 5.4 yards per carry and seemingly ripped off eight- and 10-yard gains at will. Most shocking of all was how Philly was able to run right through the middle of New York's defense.
While he did score a touchdown, Brandon Jacobs had his second consecutive poor outing. He only received three carries and gained 13 yards. His only good run – a 12-yard rumble – ended when he was hit by Brian Dawkins and fumbled.
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