To call it miraculous almost doesn't do it justice.
Down by 21 points with 7:43 left to play at the New Meadowlands Stadium, the Eagles were set to relinquish first place in the NFC East, and make their playoff push a whole lot more difficult. And then, in what seemed like the blink of an eye, we were all reminded why there's nothing in the world quite like sports.
The Eagles scored 28 straight points, the last seven on a punt return by a hobbled DeSean Jackson with no time left on the clock. Head coach Andy Reid called it a special win, and gave the credit to a special group of players.
"I'm proud of them," Reid said postgame. "I'm proud of the coaches. Nobody was down. They were frustrated, but they weren't down. They were supporting each other. When we didn't come out and do much in the first series with the ball, and then I thought the defense tightened up. We finally got a couple things going on offense…we were able to hang in there."
DeSean Jackson had been limited all week with a sprained foot, but said as early as Wednesday that he wouldn't let his teammates take the field without him.
They're sure glad he didn't.
With 14 seconds on the clock, and after a quick three-and-out forced by a suddenly resurgent Eagles defense, Giants punter Matt Dodge did the absolute unthinkable: he punted the ball straight to Jackson. After the Pro Bowl returner muffed the punt, he maintained his composure and found a crease on the right side -- the rest, as they say, was history.
"I wanted to make sure he was there in the end," Reid said of the injured Jackson, "and that in a crazy situation we had him (to return a punt)."
When asked if he was surprised the Giants risked a big return by actually punting the ball to Jackson, Reid responded, "I was happy they did, man. I was happy they did."
For the third time this season (all in the last four games), the Eagles were behind in the final frame and fought their way back to victory. As long as there's time on the game clock, there is a belief on the Eagles sideline that the game can be won. Of course, that task becomes more difficult when you're down 21 points with less than eight minutes to play. But Reid told his troops to keep on pushing, in hopes that a few breaks would fall their way.
"Just keep fighting, you take it one at a time," Reid said. "You can't get caught up in the score at that time. Listen, that's easier said than done. This is a rarity right here. But you have to keep battling and take one series and one play at a time, and the guys did that. The players and the coaches did a great job, that's a special win right there."
And one that won't soon be forgotten.
-- Posted by Josh Goldman, 8:05 p.m., December 19