Birds Knock Giants Out Of Their Way

The Eagles mission was to march through the toughest part of their schedule and come out the other side unscathed. With a win last week in Washington, the Eagles took another step toward the post-season with a hard fought 36-22 win against the Giants.

"Two teams that have had up and down seasons and it was an up and down game," said Andy Reid in describing his team's eighth win of the season. The game was a definite roller coaster ride that started with an impressive Giants' drive capped by a Tiki Barber touchdown run and ended with the Birds' defense picking off Eli Manning to give themselves a 14 point lead.

While the Eagles' defense isn't known for stopping the run, they did an admirable job in holding down Barber, who finished the day with 75 yards on 19 carries. They also had two interceptions against Manning, who had been playing impressive football over the past few weeks. The final interception came on a tipped ball that fell into Trent Cole's hands. Cole rumbled 19 yards to put an exclamation point on the game and give the Eagles a 36-22 lead with just under three-minutes to play.

Speaking of ups and downs, Eagles' quarterback Jeff Garcia was on the same roller coaster. He hit a rough streak and lost his composure, resulting in a 15 yard penalty and then threw his first interception of the season on the next play. The good news is that he settled down to lead the Eagles into the end zone when he hit Reggie Brown with a 19 yard strike to give the Eagles a 27-22 lead with just over four-minutes left in the game. The Eagles picked up a two-point conversion to extend their lead to seven. The drive covered 80 yards and consisted of eight plays. "He is a competitive little son of a gun," joked Reid after the game. "He had the slamming the ball in the guy's face there and you can't do that. He bounced back though and came back with a nice series." Garcia finished the day 19-of-28 passes for 238 yards and one touchdown.

The Eagles had answered a Giants drive early in the game by 80 yards on 12 plays with Correll Buckhalter rushing the final two yards for his first touchdown of the season to tie the game 7-7. Brian Westbrook capped a 41 yard drive with a one-yard touchdown leap over the line in the second quarter as the Eagles took their first lead of the day. Westbrook finished the day with 97 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries.

After the game, Reid had kudos for both of his running backs. "It was good to get Buck (halter) in there and give him some carries. We probably could have gotten him more in the second half," admitted Reid. "He ran hard and Brian (Westbrook) does so many things well. He is just an all-around fine player; you have to put him right up there with the best in the league."

Jay Feely, who is kicking with a broken bone in his foot, booted three field goals to keep the Giants in the game.

New York went up 22-21 on a one-yard run by Brandon Jacobs with 6:59 left in the game. Their attempt at a two-point conversion failed, keeping their lead at just one. The 35 yard drive was set up by Will Demps' interception of a Jeff Garcia pass.

The Eagles end their string of three consecutive road games against division rivals Christmas night in Dallas. The Cowboys beat Atlanta Saturday night and hold a one-game lead over the Eagles in the NFC East. If the Eagles beat Dallas and finish out their season with a win at home against Atlanta, they would win the division. Sunday's win put them in a comfortable driver's seat for at least a wild-card berth in the NFC.


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