With 3:13 left in the fourth quarter of Sunday's battle for the NFC East lead, Eli Manning scrambled up the middle for 16 yards on fourth-and-6 to put the Giants in striking distance for the game-tying touchdown.
That is, if Manning executed his slide.
Instead, an awkward head-first fall to the ground resulted in a fumble that was recovered by defensive end Darryl Tapp. The heads-up play by Tapp to jump on the ball (the call was challenged by the Giants and upheld by the referees) ultimately sealed the Giants' fate and sent the Eagles to the top of the NFC East.
"They always taught us when we were younger, run to the ball and good things happen," Tapp said. "No one touched him and the ball came out. I picked it up and let the referees decide."
Lost in a wild fourth quarter of football was yet another dominating performance by the defense, especially against the run. Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw entered the game Sunday night tied for third in the NFL with 838 yards rushing. Bradshaw had three games with 100-plus rushing yards and five touchdowns. The Eagles defense held Bradshaw to 29 yards on 12 carries – by far his lowest output of the season.
"He's a shifty runner," Tapp said. "I played against him in college (Tapp went to Virginia Tech; Bradshaw to Marshall) so I knew what he was all about. He's a strong runner. He makes a lot of plays, and that's someone that we really had to focus on."
After the Eagles' first fourth-quarter, come-from-behind victory of the 2010 season, it's off to Chicago for yet another pivotal NFC matchup against the 7-3 Bears. And with each victory, this Eagles team gains more and more confidence.
"Each win builds character," Tapp said. "The Colts game built character. Last week, we were able to get the best of Washington. This week was a test of how we would respond to (adversity). So each win we get, or each loss – hopefully no more this year, is something that we can look back on and continue to move forward."
-- Posted by Josh Goldman, 11:15 p.m., November 22