Sun, Dec. 19, 2010 11:10 PM
Call it “The Great Escape.”
Michael Vick engineered it. DeSean Jackson capped it. And the Philadelphia Eagles have control of the NFC East firmly in their hands because of it.
Jackson scored on a 65-yard punt return on the last play of the game, and the Eagles scored a team-record 28 points in the final 7:28, stunning the New York Giants 38-31 and taking over first place in the NFC East.
“By far, this is one of the greatest comebacks of my career, being down by such a huge deficit,” said Vick, who threw for 242 yards and three touchdowns overall and ran for a game-high 130 yards.
The win gave the Eagles, 10-4, a sweep of the season series with New York, 9-5. They need to either win one of their final two home games (Minnesota or Dallas) or have New York lose one of its two road games (Green Bay or Washington).
For Giants fans, it brought back memories of “The Fumble” by Joe Pisarcik, the giveaway that allowed another group of Eagles to steal a late win in 1978 when all New York had to do was take a knee.
The loss left Giants coach Tom Coughlin so angry he threw his notes as Jackson backed into the end zone on his only punt return of the game.
“I’ve never been around anything like this in my life,” Coughlin said.
“It’s about as empty as you get to feel in this business, right there.”
Eagles punter Matt Dodge said his assignment had been made clear: Kick the ball out of bounds. Yet, he didn’t. The snap was high, but he insisted that had no effect on his punt.
“I think everyone on that sideline did, and I knew it,” he said of Coughlin’s orders. “He didn’t have to tell me. It wasn’t rocket science not to kick it to him with (14) seconds left.”