Plaxico Burress had seven catches for 136 yards and a touchdown, leading the New York Giants to a 16-13 victory over the host Eagles today that likely ended the Birds' faint playoff hopes.
Burress scored on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Eli Manning, and made another long catch to set up a third-quarter field goal that proved to be the difference in the game. On a day when both teams stuggled to establish momentum, Burress gave the Giants just enough.
David Akers attempted a 57-yard field goal that would have forced overtime, but the kick bounced off the right upright with one second left in the game.
The Giants improved to 9-4 on the season, while the Eagles fell to 5-8 and lost at home for the fifth time this season.
Donovan McNabb was 20-of-30 with a touchdown and no interceptions, but he threw for just 179 yards in his first start after missing the previous two games with a sprained ankle and an injured thumb on his throwing hand.
Brian Westbrook rushed for 116 yards on 20 carries and caught five passes for 38 yards and a score.
Manning was 17-of-31 for 219 yards. Brandon Jacobs rand for 70 yards on 22 carries, but also lost two fumbles.
Burress scored New York's only touchdown one play after teammate Amani Toomer nearly lost a fumble after catching another pass from Manning. Officials ruled Toomer was down before the ball came loose, and that call was upheld after Eagles head coach Andy Reid challenged the call.
Burress then broke open on a slant pattern, scoring easily with 5:59 left in the third quarter.
The score was set up by a rare Westbrook fumble. It was the first time Westbrook lost a fumble in the last 557 times he had touched the ball.
Burress gained 41 yards on a catch on New York's next possession. Lawrence Tynes followed with a 23-yard field goal that put New York up 16-10 with 59 seconds left in the third quarter.
Akers kicked a 39-yard field goal with 8:26 left in the fourth quarter to bring the Eagles within 16-13.
The Eagles took advantage of a New York Giants turnover early in the second half, with Akers kicking a 29-yard field goal to extend the host Eagles' lead to 10-6.
Linebacker Omar Gaither forced a fumble by Jacobs that Mike Patterson recovered and returned 12 yards to the Giants 8-yard line with 14:02 left in the third quarter.
A false start penalty pushed the ball back to the 13 before Osi Umenyiora sacked McNabb for a six-yard loss. A third-down pass intended for tight end L.J. Smith fell incomplete, bringing on Akers. His kick with 12:49 left in the third quarter gave Philadelphia a four-point lead.
Westbrook accounted for 48 yards on the game-opening, 68-yard drive today, including an 18-yard touchdown catch that gave the Eagles a 7-6 halftime lead over the visiting Giants.
Westbrook had three carries for 30 yards before taking a short pass from McNabb and scoring easily with 11:47 left in the first quarter.
McNabb was 3-of-3 passing for 38 yards on the Eagles' first possession but the Eagles struggled to move the ball for much of the game.
The Giants got on the scoreboard when Tynes kicked a 19-yard field goal with 11:06 to play in the second quarter.
Rueben Droughns had a 35-yard run on a third-and-one play, before Eagles safety Brian Dawkins tackled Droughns at the Philadelphia 1-yard line. The Giants could not score a touchdown from there and had to settle for the short field goal by Tynes.
The Giants closed to within 7-6 when Tynes added a 23-yard field goal on the final play of the first half.
Eagles all-pro offensive guard Shawn Andrews left the game with an apparent knee injury late in the first quarter. Smith left, also with a knee injury, late in the third quarter.
McNabb was 9-of-13 passing in the first half for just 75 yards. Westbrook had eight carries for 44 yards and caught four passes for 36 more, but the Eagles were just 1-of-6 on third-down conversions before the intermission.
The Eagles held a retirement ceremony for former running back Duce Staley at halftime. Staley left the Eagles to sign with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2005, but signed a one-day contract to officially retire as an Eagle.