EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — The Philadelphia Eagles finally got it right in the fourth quarter, and it’s no surprise they did it against the New York Giants.
Subbing for the injured Michael Vick, Vince Young threw a go-ahead 8-yard touchdown pass to Riley Cooper with 2:45 to play and the undermanned Eagles posted a 17-10 victory over the Giants in what was a must-win game for Andy Reid’s struggling team Sunday night.
The Eagles (4-6) had lost five games in the fourth quarter this season but found the solution this time with an 80-yard, 18-play march over 8:51 that sent the Giants (6-4) to their second straight loss.
Philadelphia converted six third-down plays with DeSean Jackson setting up the first-and-goal with a 10-yard catch to the 10, and Young capping it with his second touchdown pass of the game to a wide-open Cooper, who came in without a catch this season.
Jackson, who was benched for last week’s game for missing a team meeting, finished with six catches for 88 yards. Cooper had five receptions for 75 yards.
The Eagles, of course, made Reid sweat out the final minutes. Eli Manning, who tied it with a 24-yard TD pass to Victor Cruz earlier in the quarter, drove the Giants from their own 10 to the Eagles 21 with the final 47 yards coming on a catch-and-run by Cruz with 1:25 to play.
However, Manning stepped out of the pocket on the next play and was hit from behind by Jason Babin and fumbled. Derek Landi recovered at the 26, sending the Giants to their second straight excruciating loss to the Eagles and second consecutive tough loss overall.
It dropped New York into a tie for first place with Dallas in the NFC East with six games to play and left the Eagles two games behind. The Cowboys beat the Redskins in overtime after Washington missed a game-winning field-goal attempt.
It also marked the second straight year the Eagles rallied late to beat New York at the Meadowlands with last year’s 38-31 decision coming in a game that Philadelphia rallied from 21 points down late.
Young was 23 of 36 for 258 yards and two touchdowns, and LeSean McCoy had 113 yards rushing — with 60 coming on a game-sealing scamper in the closing moments.
While Young made several big plays to spark the Eagles’ offense, he also threw three interceptions, the most costly being one that Aaron Ross picked off in the end zone on a second and 9 from the New York 16 with Philadelphia ahead 10-3 with 5 minutes left in the third quarter.
New York eventually tied it early in the fourth quarter on a 24-yard TD pass from Manning to Cruz. It was set up two plays earlier when Manning rolled out of the pocket and found Hakeem Nicks for a 47-yard gain on third down to the Eagles 24.
Manning was 18 of 35 for 264 yards, and Cruz had six catches for 128 yards. The Giants’ running game failed to get going, rushing for just 29 yards.
The first half was typical of an Eagles-Giants meeting: chippy, intense, hard-fought and, not surprisingly, ugly.
If there was a surprise, it was that the defenses dominated. The norm was Jackson taunting the Giants in more ways than one, including one that cost the Eagles a 50-yard pass completion.
Jackson set up both of the Eagles’ scores in the first half. He caught a 32-yard pass early in the second quarter to set up a 33-yard field goal by Alex Henery and then brought back excruciating memories from last season with a 51-yard punt return that was a carbon copy of his winning 65-yard punt return on the final play of the Eagles’ 38-31 Meadowlands Miracle, a game Philadelphia rallied from a 21-point deficit in the final seven-plus minutes.
What made the return so eerie was that Jackson fielded Steve Weatherford’s punt at his own 35, circled right and then ran down the sideline in front of the Giants’ bench — the same thing he did last season. The only difference was Weatherford pushed him out of bounds at the 14; Matt Dodge was the Giants’ punter last season.
It didn’t matter. One play later, Young found former Giants receiver Steve Smith cutting under the zone and he easily outran linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka into the end zone with 1:22 left in the half.
It was enough time for Manning to get the Giants on the board. A 21-yard pass to Cruz on the first play got the ball the 41 and a late 10-catch by running back D.J. Ware on a play in which he suffered a concussion set up Lawrence Tynes’ 48-yard field goal.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.