EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- The Philadelphia Eagles wrapped up
a fourth consecutive NFC East title the same way they won the first
three -- with an awesome defense that made Eli Manning look like a
Brian Westbrook scored two touchdowns and the Eagles' defense
limited Manning to 14 yards passing in the second half and a woeful
16.9 quarterback rating in a 27-6 victory over the New York Giants
"We made a lot of big plays today," Eagles safety Quintin Mikell said. "That's what we do. We do whatever we have to do to
Mikell might have made the biggest play, intercepting Manning in
the end zone in the second quarter on a first-and-goal from the
3-yard line with Philadelphia (10-1) clinging to a 7-6 lead.
Manning and the Giants (5-6) never recovered in losing their fourth
straight and fifth in six games.
The Eagles blew the game open in the second half, scoring 20
points and limiting the Giants to 47 yards in reaching the playoffs
for the fifth consecutive year. The Eagles are the third team since
the 16-game schedule began in 1978 to win a division title by its
11th game, joining the Bears in 1985 and the 49ers in 1997. Chicago
won the Super Bowl after the 1985 season.
The Eagles have reached the conference final each of the last
three years, but they lost each time.
"It says a lot for our organization and our team as we continue
to fight after what happened to us three straight years," Eagles
quarterback Donovan McNabb said. "For us to continue to reload and
continue to battle and to come out here and win it so fast says a
David Akers kicked field goals of 47 and 42 yards early in the
second half to give Philadelphia a 13-7 lead before Westbrook iced
the game with a 1-yard touchdown run and a 34-yard touchdown
reception on a screen pass.
McNabb, who was 18-of-27 for 244 yards, also scored on a 1-yard
Steve Christie kicked field goals of 22 and 31 yards for the
Giants, who dominated the first half but were shut down in the
second by a defense that has not given up a touchdown in the last
"I have to play better than I did," Manning said. "I have to
go out and perform. I've got to make plays and I can't make
Manning finished 6-of-21 for 148 yards and two critical
interceptions. He was also sacked five times and seemed confused by
the Eagles' frequent blitzes.
"That's a tough situation; all rookies are going to struggle,"
Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson said. "The game is fast.
He had never gone against the Eagles."
On first down, Jeremy Shockey lined up wide to the left. As soon
as the ball was snapped, Mikell sprinted toward the corner in
anticipation of a fade pattern.
"I don't know where he was trying to throw it," Mikell said.
"I don't know if it was a fade. I just went up there and caught
Several Giants players stood at the line of scrimmage after the
play in disbelief.
"I just threw a bad ball, I didn't throw it," Manning said.
The second half belonged to the Eagles.
A 24-yard pass to Terrell Owens -- four catches for 61 yards --
set up Akers' 47-yard field goal.
Manning, under heavy pressure, was intercepted by Brian Dawkins
three plays later, setting up the second field goal.
Westbrook stretched the lead with his touchdowns, with the
1-yarder set up by Jevon Kearse's blocked punt.
Then came an ugly play near the New York bench in the fourth
Manning was hit running out of bounds by Eagles linebacker
Jeremiah Trotter and the officials threw a flag for a late hit.
Several Giants surrounded Trotter and linebacker Barrett Green
shoved the palm of his hand into Trotter's facemask. Green got a
penalty and was ejected.
"I wish he had stayed around, I wanted to talk to him,"
The Eagles moved the ball only once in the first half, but their
seven-play, 53-yard drive was enough for a 7-6 halftime lead.
McNabb ignited the drive by breaking two tackles in the
backfield en route to a 16-yard scramble. He capped it with a
4-yard TD run.
Giants halfback Tiki Barber rushed for 110 yards despite injuring his shin and getting stitches for a gash on his knee. ... The win was the 66th for coach Andy Reid, tying him with Greasy Neale for No. 1 among Eagles coaches. ... Giants defensive end Chuck Wiley tore ligaments in his left knee. ... Akers' 14 40-plus-yard field goals are a single-season team record, breaking Paul McFadden's mark of 13 in 1984.