December 20, 2010 in Sports

Return on final play gives Eagles win

Tom Canavan Associated Press
Associated Press photo

Philadelphia’s DeSean Jackson celebrates as he returns a punt for the winning touchdown.
(Full-size photo)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – With 13 seconds left, DeSean Jackson never thought he’d get a chance to win the game. Matt Dodge was ordered by Giants coach Tom Coughlin to punt away from the Eagles’ elusive return man.

The rookie punted all right, straight to Jackson, who fumbled the ball before taking off on a breathtaking 65-yard punt return for the winning touchdown on the final play of the game.

The Eagles scored 28 points in the final 7:18 and beat the New York Giants 38-31 on Sunday.

“I was thinking to myself like, ‘They’re not going to kick it to me,’ ” Jackson said. “I was thinking he was going to kick it out of bounds. But it got to me. From there, I just used my instincts and my speed to get into the end zone.”

The electrifying finish left the Eagles (10-4) alone in first place in the NFC East, one game ahead of the deflated Giants (9-5).

“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.”

Coughlin tossed the papers in his hand to the ground and confronted Dodge after the play.

“I’ll take full responsibility for the last play,” Coughlin said. “With him back there, you don’t punt the ball to him.”

They did, and the play will go down in NFL lore as the only game-winning punt return on the final play from scrimmage.

Long snapper Zak DeOssie delivered a high snap, and Dodge was unable to do as instructed – kick the ball out of bounds.

“I was definitely looking out of bounds the whole way,” Dodge said. “I got the snap and tried to get it off quick. Not a good time to hit a line drive, that’s for sure.”

Eagles 38, Giants 31

N.Y. Giants7170731

 NYG—Manningham 35 pass from Manning (Tynes kick), 3:36.

Phi—FG Akers 34, 13:02.

NYG—Manningham 33 pass from Manning (Tynes kick), 8:17.

NYG—FG Tynes 25, :48.

NYG—Nicks 8 pass from Manning (Tynes kick), :05.

Phi—Maclin 8 pass from Vick (Akers kick), 3:56.

NYG—Boss 8 pass from Manning (Tynes kick), 8:17.

Phi—Celek 65 pass from Vick (Akers kick), 7:28.

Phi—Vick 4 run (Akers kick), 5:28.

Phi—Maclin 13 pass from Vick (Akers kick), 1:16.

Phi—D.Jackson 65 punt return (Akers kick), :00.


First downs1920
Total Net Yards418364
Punt Returns3-755-35
Kickoff Returns6-1025-113
Interceptions Ret.1-01-13
Sacked-Yrds Lost3-212-25
Time of Poss.26:3133:29


RUSHING—Philadelphia, Vick 10-130, McCoy 10-64, Harrison 1-3. N.Y. Giants, Bradshaw 19-66, Jacobs 12-34.

PASSING—Philadelphia, Vick 21-35-1-242. N.Y. Giants, Manning 23-39-1-289.

RECEIVING—Philadelphia, Maclin 7-59, McCoy 4-13, D.Jackson 3-52, Avant 3-35, Celek 2-72, Harrison 1-7, Harbor 1-4. N.Y. Giants, Manningham 8-113, Nicks 6-63, Boss 3-59, Hagan 3-36, Bradshaw 2-14, Beckum 1-4.


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