Monday, December 12, 2005

Feely Redeems Himself Against Eagles

Call it redemption. Jay Feely's 36-yard field goal hooked just inside the left post, allowing the Giants (9-4) to escape with a 26-23 overtime win over the Eagles (5-8).

Having missed three potential winners in an OT loss at Seattle two weeks ago and four of his last five field goals entering Sunday, Feely was a perfect four-for-four (24, 21, 27, 36). Feely's big kick took the heat off Eli Manning, who threw three interceptions late in the game, which allowed Eagles kicker David Akers to force OT with a 50-yard FG.

After Manning was picked off by Brian Dawkins with 8:03 left in OT, the Giant defense forced a turnover to setup Feely's winner. With Mike McMahon flushed out of the pocket on a third-and-20, Osi Umenyiora's NFL-leading 12th sack forced a fumble, which Kenderick Allen recovered at the Philadelphia 27. Four plays later, Feely connected to give Big Blue a big victory- keeping them a game ahead of Dallas, who cameback to beat Kansas City 31-28.

Six days removed from an embarrassing 42-0 Monday night thrashing at the hands of Seattle, the Eagles played much better against their NFC East rivals. After a Manning four-yard touchdown pass to Tiki Barber five minutes in, Philadelphia rookie back Ryan Moats responded with a 40-yard dash down the sidelines to tie the score.

But the Giants retook the lead on a fourth down QB sneak from Manning at the goal line. Before that, Brandon Jacobs was stopped twice as was Tiki Barber.

Feely increased the lead to 17-7 with his first kick of the day with 5:41 left in the half. But just when New York seemed comfortably ahead, the Eagles struck twice in the final two minutes to tie the game at the half.

First, Moats ran for his second TD of the game- this time from 18 yards out to cut it to 17-14. After two Giants penalties prevented them from moving the chains, the Eagles got the ball back near midfield with over a minute left. Six plays later, Akers hit from 42 yards out to tie it at 17.

Philadelphia had a chance to take their only lead in the second half but Akers' 49-yard FG hit the crossbar, falling short. Taking over from their own 39, Manning led the Giants on a 14-play 58-yard drive which chewed up 7:37. When it stalled at the Eagles' 3, Feely was good from 21 to put them up 20-17 with 3:24 left in the third quarter.

New York increased its lead to six early in the fourth quarter. On the strength of a 32-yard Barber run, they drove down to the Philly 9 to setup Feely's third kick of the day. Barber had another big game, finishing with 195 total yards including 124 on the ground.

An Akers 36-yard FG cut it to 23-20 with 6:36 remaining to setup the dramatic finish. Unfortunately for the Eagles, they fell short- becoming the fifth consecutive to miss the playoffs after losing in the Super Bowl.

Notes: In his first start for Philadelphia, Moats finished with 114 rushing yards on 11 carries. ... Despite tossing three picks, Manning was 28-of-44 for 312 yards. ... Giants lost Kareem McKenzie (hamstring), Luke Petitgout (ankle), William Joseph (leg) and Antonio Pierce (back) all to injuries in the first half. ... Giants swept the season series against the Eagles for the first time since 2000. One team has taken both games in 19 of the last 21 years.

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