It was like the San Diego game two weeks ago, except the Eagles were home and they actually scored from 1 yard out.

But on their first two goal-line plays in the fourth quarter before tying the Redskins during yesterday's 27-24 win, the Eagles matched their ineptitude against the Chargers in almost every manner.

On first down, a run up the middle gained nothing, but Washington had 12 men on the field. The Eagles tried to run on first down again, and again got nothing.

On second down, Donovan McNabb overthrew a play-action pass to tight end Brent Celek, and the boos at Lincoln Financial Field grew louder.

But on third down, the Eagles - even though they went back to Eldra Buckley, who had failed on the first two tries - did something different. They ran Buckley off left tackle instead of up the middle, and, go figure, he scored.

"It meant a lot," Buckley said. "If the coaches believe in you enough to keep you down in on the goal line . . . I had to look up and help them out and get it in there."

The touchdown, with 7 minutes, 27 seconds left in the game, and two-point conversion tied the score, 24-24. As important as Buckley's run was to the game, it could prove a momentum-builder for an offense that has struggled near the goal line in the past and for a run game that's peaking.

"Sometimes Coach can get a little frustrated with the running game if it's not really clicking," center Jamaal Jackson said. "But the last couple of weeks, he's been having faith in us."

Had Eagles fans known before the season that running back Brian Westbrook would miss five of the first 11 games, and possibly the final five, they may have had suicidal thoughts. But backup LeSean McCoy has been a revelation. In his five starts, the rookie has run 81 times for 395 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Yesterday, McCoy gained 76 yards on 17 totes, including the tying conversion. He caught a shovel pass from McNabb, broke out of a hit that dropped him to a hand, and somehow remained upright while crossing the goal line.

"I just found a way," McCoy said. "I couldn't tell you how I did it. It's just one of those things you just kind of do."

As tough a runner as McCoy is, the Eagles have deemed Buckley, a first-year back from Tennessee-Chattanooga, their goal-line runner.

"He hits it. He hits it hard and aggressive," coach Andy Reid said of why he uses Buckley in that situation. "There's a time and place for that. He's got a good eye for it and good knack for it."

The Eagles first used Buckley near the goal line against the Chargers, but he was stuffed on third down that day, and Reid settled for a field goal.

The Eagles faced third and goal from the 1 in the first quarter yesterday, but McNabb threw over the head of tight end Alex Smith and out of bounds. Reid elected to go for it on fourth down, and McNabb found DeSean Jackson in the back of the end zone, but an offensive pass-interference penalty on Celek negated the play.

When the Eagles faced the same scenario in the fourth quarter, they went to Buckley on first down (twice), with no gain on either run.

"We didn't do a very good job there," offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said. "You've got to give them a little credit on that one."

But the Eagles stuck with Buckley, and he stuck it to déjà vu, scoring his first NFL touchdown and tying the game.