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Monday, December 20, 2010

Miracle at the Meadowlands, Part II

Herman Edwards.

Clyde Simmons.

Brian Westbrook.

And now, DeSean Jackson.

For New York, Philadelphia miracle finishes must feel like a bad movie that just keeps coming out with sequels. And they’re forced to watch them all. If they thought a new Meadowlands would end the nightmare, they were very wrong.

I’ve actually been taking notes during games to write something for the blog, and it was just a waste of time this week. Three-and-a-half quarters of notes are virtually worthless – at least for now.

By the time Jackson mimicked Eli Manning in the first matchup of the season between the Giants and the Eagles by fumbling away the football without being touched, my eyes had wandered to the Red Zone channel. Technically, Jackson was touched on his way to the ground, and Andy Reid’s lack of a challenge would have been a huge topic of conversation had the unimaginable not happened after the Giants converted the turnover into 7 more points.

The G-men were up 31-10 with just over 8 minutes to play, and I scribbled “Game” – as in, Game Over.

Apparently, the Giants felt the same way.

The strange part – ok, part of the strangeness – was that what happened next wasn’t all that fluky. It’s just unbelievable that it happened so quickly at the end of a game.

Within minutes, and two plays from scrimmage, I saw Brent Celek score on a 65-yard touchdown on the Red Zone. Ok, that might qualify as flukish, but it wasn’t some crazy play where two defenders collide or something. According to the box score, the previous play started with 8:17 left in the game.

I flipped back to the game more out of curiosity than any thought of a comeback. Inexplicably, the Giants were not prepared for the ensuing onside kick, which Riley Cooper recovered for the Eagles.

They key play of the next series was a 35-yard run by Michael Vick. After an offside penalty by the Giants and a short pass to Jeremy Maclin, Vick ran for a touchdown from the Giants’ 4.

It was suddenly – very suddenly – a 7-point game! And there was still 5:28 left to play by the time New York snapped their next play from scrimmage.

The Giants actually got two first downs on the next series, but the Eagles actually had timeouts left late in the game – a rarity under Reid. Philadelphia got the ball back with 3:01 to play.

And Donovan McNabb was nowhere in sight. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

Vick drove the Eagles down field, a drive highlighted by 55 yards rushing by quarterback. He eventually found Maclin for a touchdown.

It was unbelievably 31-31 with 1:16 left to play at the next snap. And the Giants completed their collapse.

Two incomplete passes and a sack later, they were forced to punt.

To DeSean Jackson with the 14 seconds left.

A high snap forced the Giants’ rookie punter, Matt Dodge, to panic. He kicked a line drive right to Jackson.

When Jackson fumbled the ball on the catch and picked it up, the thought raced through my mind. Is that the hesitation that so often throws off a punt coverage? Whether it was or not, Jackson completed the first Miracle at the new Meadowlands with a 65-yard punt return for a touchdown to win the game as time expired – reportedly a first NFL history.

Eagles win.

Fans will even forgive Jackson for the extra heart palpitations as he took his time crossing the goal line in order to kill time that had already expired as a Giant player looked to be coming up on him from inside the end zone as Jackson seemed to be looking away at the clock.

Eagles win.

Eagles win.

Eagles win.

(And Tom Coughlin seemingly wanted to kill Dodge. He was supposedly on the field before Jackson scored.)

Enjoy the video until Fox or the NFL yank it off YouTube.

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