Late score helps Eagles take giant step
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - 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 last 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.
“It’s definitely a big win,’’ said Young, who was 23 of 36 passing for 258 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. “You see the excitement and the smiles on the guys and that’s what we need.’’
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 TD pass of the game to a wide-open Cooper, who came in without a catch this season.
Jackson, who was benched last week for missing a team meeting, finished with six catches for 88 yards. Cooper had five receptions for 75 yards, while LeSean McCoy added 113 yards rushing, with 60 coming on a late run that iced the game.
“Vince, stepping in for the great Michael Vick, that’s a tough thing to do and he did it and the guys rallied around him,’’ Reid said. “The offensive line and defensive line played well, the offensive line had a huge challenge when it counted and they were able to put some things together.’’
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 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, with Derek Landi recovering at the 26.
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. It also marked the second straight year the Eagles rallied late to beat New York, with last year’s 38-31 decision coming in a game that Philadelphia rallied from 21 points down.
While Young made several big plays, 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 five minutes left in the third quarter.
Cancer survivor and former Boston College star Mark Herzlich made his first NFL start for the Giants, filling in at middle linebacker for the injured Michael Boley. Herzlich finished with four tackles, two solo.