Philadelphia Eagles News

Crossing The Line

On third-and-10 from the Eagles' 20-yard line with just over six minutes remaining in the third quarter and the Giants trailing by four, quarterback Eli Manning dropped back, dodged the Eagles' pass rush and darted up the middle of the field.

Linebacker Akeem Jordan, who was covering New York tight end Kevin Boss, saw Manning scramble and began to move toward him to make the tackle.

At the last second – the very last possible second - Manning saw Jordan leave Boss and threw a laser that was complete inside the Eagles' 5-yard line.

One of the referees, however, ruled that Manning had crossed the line of scrimmage and threw his flag. The penalty would have forced the Giants to attempt a field goal and Philadelphia would have still held a slim lead.

"I just went over (to the sideline) and I thought it would be worth the risk at that time because we would have the ball down there at the two-yard line," Manning said. "I didn't want to have to settle for another field goal and just the way the rule is written, I thought it was worth it to take a shot and look at it and see if we had a shot to get seven points out of that situation."

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin challenged the play and it was overturned. The referees ruled that, upon further review, Manning's back foot was still on the correct side of the line of scrimmage, so the play would stand and the Giants would have the ball first-and-goal from the three.

Two plays later, the Giants scored the go-ahead touchdown and never relinquished the lead.

It was a play Eagles fans won't soon forget.

"I thought it was going to be a turnover for sure, but I guess not," defensive tackle Mike Patterson said. "I don't know what they were looking at. You saw it clearly; he had the ball in his hands (as he crossed the line of scrimmage) before he threw it. It's just one of those things, you know? It didn't go your way."

According to Jordan, he should have stayed on Boss. He took full responsibility for the mistake.

"To me, it was pretty close, but I was in man (coverage) so I shouldn't have come off in the first place," Jordan said. "It looked close to me. It was a mistake on me. I had good coverage, I was jamming him and I looked around and saw Eli scrambling and I came off him."

That was exactly what Manning saw.

"I just saw the player who was guarding Kevin Boss kind of had his eyes back at me, so I figured if I ran, (the defender) would have to come off and eventually he did and that's why Kevin was open," Manning said. "I was able to get the throw, but I was close to running. I could've run and I would've had to probably try to make (the defender) miss, which is not really my forte."

Linebacker Chris Gocong thought Manning had certainly crossed the line.

"It looked to me like he was past the line but I guess on their sideline the refs called it," Gocong said. "You can't control what they do; you can only control what we do."

Manning said he wasn't sure how the referees would rule, but he did know it was going to be really, really close.

"I didn't know for sure," Manning said. "I just know that rule, where your entire body has to be across the line of scrimmage. If you have one toe on the line of scrimmage, then it's a legal pass and so I thought it was just worth the risk. I knew I was going to be close to the line of scrimmage."

The Eagles still had an opportunity to keep New York out of the end zone, but the defense had difficulty stopping the Giants' rushing attack, Brandon Jacobs in particular, most of the night and Jacobs punched it in on second down for the go-ahead score.

Momentum had clearly swung to the Giants' side.

"It's tough, but regardless of the situation, they just shouldn't be in that situation to get a touchdown off us," Patterson said. "But they just worked hard at that, so that's something we really need to key in on and make sure that not too many teams can do that on us.

"We're still going to go out there and keep fighting. Anything can happen still. We're going to keep on fighting and we have to go in there, watch this film, learn from it and keep on going."

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