Some major credit must be given on this Monday to Andy Reid, Jeff Garcia, and the Philadelphia Eagles, who by all means looked as if they were going to pack in the season five weeks ago, but now look like a wild card team in the NFC. Philadelphia, lead by Garcia, overcame the New York Giants Sunday 36-22 at Giants Stadium and now control their own destiny when it comes to making the playoffs in the NFC.
Garcia could have cost the Eagles the game in the 4th quarter when he was given a taunting penalty for a stupid out of bounce spike after a run for a first down. Then he threw a pick which lead to a Giants score that put them ahead. Instead of folding, the veteran QB came back with a big drive that lead to a TD pass then a two-point conversion that gave the Eagles a 7-point lead with just over two minutes left.
The Eagles defense did the rest, as defensive end Trent Cole picked off a Eli Manning pass on the next offensive play and went 19 yards for the game-clinching score to make it 36-22. The win puts the Eagles at 8-6, a full game up on the Giants in the East, and one game back of the Cowboys, who won in Atlanta on Saturday night.
The amazing thing about the Eagles is that they lost their MVP Quarterback, and with Garica, a guy that many thought was through after a blah year in Detroit in 2005, they may actually be a better team than what they were with McNabb as the starter. Before McNabb was hurt, the team had gone from a 4-1 start to 4-4 after three straight losses. Then after a win over Washington, the team was getting beat bad at home by the Titans before McNabb left the game and his season ended.
Enter Garica, who at first was playing okay, but not even good enough to be declared the overall starter to coach Andy Reid. Then after a loss to the Colts, Garcia started playing like an MVP, helping the Eagles win on a Monday night over Carolina, on the road at Washington, and now at the Giants to put them back on the radar screen in the NFC Playoff picture.
Garcia was 19-for-28 for 237 yards on Sunday vs the Giants, and despite some iffy throws, played well enough to lead his team to a huge road win. “I think we all internally had a lot of confidence in Jeff,” Eagles owner Jeff Lurie said. “It’s a team we felt, with our offensive line and our defense coming together and being opportunistic, if you have a high character group that likes to play together, you have a chance.”
A chance the Eagles now have. With the Cowboys on the road on Christmas and then a home game vs the Falcons, the Eagles look like a team that can be a force in the playoffs. With Garcia at the helm, there is no reason to think his play will be the reason they won’t be there the first week in January.