Final

Eagles 23

(9-6-1, 3-4-1 away)

Giants 11

(12-4, 7-1 home)

Coverage: FOX

1:00 PM ET, January 11, 2009

Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ 

1 2 3 4 T
PHI 7 3 3 1023
NYG 3 5 3 011

Top Performers

Passing: D. McNabb (PHI) - 217 YDS, 1 TD, 2 INT

Rushing: B. Jacobs (NYG) - 19 CAR, 92 YDS

Receiving: D. Jackson (PHI) - 4 REC, 81 YDS

Eagles win, will face Cards in NFC title game

Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Donovan McNabb will get another chance to chase that elusive Super Bowl title. Eli Manning threw away his opportunity to defend it.

McNabb made all the big plays that Manning did not, and the Eagles eliminated the New York Giants 23-11 Sunday to reach the NFC title game for the fifth time in eight seasons.

Fast Facts

• The Eagles advanced to the NFC Championship Game, where they will play the Cardinals, the first No. 4 seed to ever host a conference championship.

• The Eagles' Asante Samuel had his seventh career postseason interception, tied with Rodney Harrison for most among active players and tied for fifth most in NFL postseason history.

• The Giants are the first No. 1 seeded defending Super Bowl champion to lose their first playoff game.

• The Giants were 3-for-13 on third downs and 1-for-3 on fourth downs in the game. They also failed to score on their three red zone trips.

• The Eagles-Cardinals NFC Championship will be the first conference championship game in a non-strike season to feature two teams who won fewer than 10 games in the regular season.

-- ESPN research

"He is the best quarterback in the NFL," Eagles coach Andy Reid praised his guy. "I don't think I have to say anything more than that."

Manning, meanwhile, never resembled the poised quarterback who won last year's Super Bowl MVP award with that one perfect spiral to Plaxico Burress.

Five times New York got inside the Eagles 20. The result? A mere three field goals.

"When we needed to get something done, get a spark to make a big play, that's when we didn't do our best," Manning said.

Credit Philadelphia's hard-hitting, ball-hawking defense, and maybe blame the wind gusts a bit. Either way, these NFL playoffs are now for the Birds -- the underdog Eagles, Cardinals and Ravens all won on the road this weekend.

Can't Go Home

Giants QB Eli Manning has played two home playoff games in his career. Both were forgettable.

'05 vs. Carolina '09 vs. Philly
Comp-Att 10-18 15-29
Pass yds. 113 169
TD-INT 0-3 0-2
Rating 35.0 40.7
Team result L, 23-0 L, 23-11

McNabb lunged for one touchdown, threw for another and converted several key third downs to move the sixth-seeded Eagles (11-6-1) into next Sunday's title game at Arizona (11-7). Philadelphia beat the Cardinals 48-20 on Thanksgiving night.

McNabb also drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty late in the game when he was pushed out of bounds on the Giants sideline, picked up a phone there and had a brief, fake conversation.

David Akers added three field goals -- extending his NFL record to 18 straight in the postseason -- to fend off the top-seeded Giants (12-5).

"I am very, very disappointed," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "I am sorry to see the season come to an end. There is remorse for opportunities lost."

The swirling winds played havoc with any ball in the air, and also helped skew the score: This was the first game in NFL history to finish 23-11, the Elias Sports Bureau said.

A year after road success fueled the Giants' route, the Eagles are taking the same path. They opened the postseason by winning at Minnesota and, after their sixth victory in seven tries, look nothing like a team that needed several breaks on the final day simply to make the playoffs.

Benched by Reid in late November for half a game, McNabb never has acknowledged that the slight hurt him. He has, however, seemed to play with a huge chip on his shoulder, to the Eagles' benefit.

McNabb converted a third-and-20 set up Akers' 34-yard kick for a 13-11 lead in the third quarter. On the first play of the fourth quarter, he made a perfect play-action fake for a 1-yard TD toss to Brent Celek.

More from ESPN.com

Anything is possible. You've got your Miracle On Ice, your Lyle Lovett marrying Julia Roberts, and your Three 6 Mafia winning an Oscar. But the Cardinals over the Eagles in the NFC Championship Game? No way, Gene Wojciechowski writes. Column


Nobody saw this NFC Championship Game matchup coming. On one side are the Eagles, a team that only made the playoffs because everything broke their way in Week 17. On the other side are the Cardinals, a team that went 9-7 in what was arguably the weakest division in football, Jeffri Chadiha writes. Column


The Eagles took a page out of the Giants' 2007 playbook and rode a wave of momentum into the NFC Championship Game, Matt Mosley writes. Blog

"The players executed like crazy," Reid said. "They never wavered one bit. That's tough to find in this league."

Manning was in trouble from the start. His first pass wobbled out of his hand, got caught in the wind and missed a wide-open receiver.

Manning ended up 15-for-29 with two interceptions, often overthrowing his targets. The Giants did not score a touchdown and lost for the fourth time in five games.

"It all comes down to what you do in the playoffs. That makes your season a good one or a disappointment," Manning said. "This is a disappointment.

"We felt this was a special team that could go far. The defense played outstanding today and gave us opportunities. Offensively, we didn't do our job. We didn't score enough points."

By the final two minutes, more than half the crowd had left; Big Blue hasn't won a playoff game at Giants Stadium since 2000. Philly fans headed down the New Jersey Turnpike after another big win for their city -- the Phillies won the World Series in October.

"In the locker room, there was so much energy in there. We were ready to play early in the week," McNabb said. "The city of Philadelphia is buzzing; this team is buzzing."

Three road teams won on the same weekend in the NFL playoffs for the first time since 1971. Also for the first time, none of the top three seeds in NFC made it to the conference championship.

With Arizona and Philadelphia advancing, it guaranteed the NFC will send a team with no more than nine wins in a full, regular season to the Super Bowl for the first time since the Los Angeles Rams in 1979. Those Rams lost to the Steelers.

The Eagles won for the second time this season at the Meadowlands, and were the only team to win on Giants' turf.

"Last year we were the road warriors. This year, I thought we would be the warriors at home. It just didn't come to pass," Coughlin said.

Overall, McNabb's stats were not overwhelming: 22-for-40 for 217 yards and two touchdowns. He also got called for intentional grounding in the end zone for a safety.

Eagles-Giants Highlights

NFL.com Video

Watch highlights of the Eagles 23-11 win vs. the Giants

Yet on a day where the conditions weren't ideal, McNabb kept his composure.

Once Ahmad Bradshaw returned the opening kickoff 65 yards, little went right for the Giants. John Carney missed two of five field-goal tries, New York missed open-field tackles and the team did not demonstrate last season's resolve.

Then again, Coughlin's team has changed: Michael Strahan retired, Osi Umenyiora and Super Bowl hero David Tyree were injured, and Burress was suspended after accidentally shooting himself in the thigh. New York went 1-4 since that banishment.

Moments after Manning missed his first throw, he made a much more costly pass.

Flushed from the pocket deep in his territory, Manning slung a pass that badly sailed -- right into the hands of cornerback Asante Samuel. It was Samuel's seventh career postseason pick, and he brought it back to the 2.

McNabb made it count, stretching the ball over the goal line on a sneak for a 7-3 lead.

Unable to sack McNabb in two games this season, the Giants did even better early in the second quarter. The elusive QB dropped into his end zone and, facing pressure from the front and Justin Tuck's rush from the back, McNabb simply got rid of the ball into open space.

A penalty flag flew a split-second later and McNabb was called for intentional grounding, resulting in a safety that cut Philly's lead to 7-5. Tuck celebrated by walking toward the seats and flexing for the fans.

Akers' 25-yard kick on the final play of the first half gave the Eagles a 10-8 lead.

Carney made a 36-yard field goal for an 11-10 edge, but the Giants didn't score again.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
PHI
NYG
1st Downs2016
Passing 1st downs
128
Rushing 1st downs
47
1st downs from penalties
41
3rd down efficiency
7-143-13
4th down efficiency
0-01-3
Total Plays6861
Total Yards276307
Yards per play4.15.0
Total Drives1412
Passing217169
Comp-Att
22-4015-29
Yards per pass
5.45.8
Interceptions thrown
22
Sacks-Yards Lost
0-00-0
Rushing59138
Rushing Attempts
2832
Yards per rush
2.14.3
Red Zone (Made-Att)2-50-3
Penalties8-616-49
Turnovers23
Fumbles lost
01
Interceptions thrown
22
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00
Possession29:4530:15

Passing Leaders

PHIC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
McNabb22/402175.4120-0
NYGC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Manning15/291695.8020-0

Rushing Leaders

PHICARYDSAVGTDLG
Westbrook18362.008
McNabb5163.219
NYGCARYDSAVGTDLG
Jacobs19924.8024
Ward12463.8014

Receiving Leaders

PHIRECYDSAVGTDLG
Jackson48120.3048
Avant44310.8021
NYGRECYDSAVGTDLG
Boss35217.3025
Hixon23718.5034

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERPHINYG
nygFG10:05John Carney 22 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 9 plays, 31 yds, 5:01
03
phiTD6:05Donovan Mcnabb 1 Yard Run (David Akers Kick is Good)
Drive info: 3 plays, 2 yds, 1:32
73
SECOND QUARTERPHINYG
nygSF12:45Penalty on Donovan Mcnabb, Intentional Grounding In Own End Zone
Drive info: 2 plays, -2 yds, 0:33
75
nygFG1:38John Carney 34 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 7 plays, 63 yds, 2:25
78
phiFG0:04David Akers 25 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 12 plays, 68 yds, 1:33
108
THIRD QUARTERPHINYG
nygFG12:37John Carney 36 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 5 plays, 16 yds, 1:35
1011
phiFG7:53David Akers 35 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 12 plays, 58 yds, 4:48
1311
FOURTH QUARTERPHINYG
phiTD15:00Brent Celek 1 Yard Pass From Donovan Mcnabb (David Akers Kick is Good)
Drive info: 10 plays, 63 yds, 4:24
2011
phiFG4:02David Akers 20 Yard Field Goal is Good
Drive info: 6 plays, 46 yds, 2:30
2311