On a night when Michael Vick was mortal and the Eagles kicked themselves in the rear with red-zone inefficiency, penalties, and dropped passes, LeSean McCoy came up with a winning touchdown run against the New York Giants that was every bit as dramatic as the one his predecessor produced seven years ago at the Meadowlands.

Brian Westbrook's 84-yard, game-winning punt return was later viewed as a turning point in the 2003 season, which ended with an appearance in the NFC championship game.

McCoy's 50-yard touchdown dash on fourth down with 4 minutes, 34 seconds left in the game Sunday night gave the Eagles their first comeback win of the season, a 27-17 triumph over the Giants at Lincoln Financial Field. And it could prove to be every bit as important as Westbrook's defining moment.

"McCoy - that son of a gun," Eagles coach Andy Reid said. "That was a good one."

With the victory, the Eagles stand alone atop the NFC East at 7-3, dropping the Giants, a team they have beaten five straight times, to 6-4. They further legitimized the claim that they are one of the NFC's contenders to go deep into the playoffs and possibly even to the Super Bowl.

It was not a performance anywhere as crisp as last week's 59-28 mashing of the Redskins, or even the wipe-the-brow win over Indianapolis a week earlier. But it was much more important.

And McCoy saved the day, with an assist from his two blockers, Jason Peters and Todd Herremans. The linemen kicked out and mauled defensive backs Deon Grant and Kenny Phillips, and McCoy did the rest, outracing the defense untouched into the end zone for a 22-17 lead after the Giants had rallied ahead, 17-16, in the fourth quarter.

A two-point conversion gave the Eagles a 24-17 cushion, and a 30-yard David Akers field goal with 25 seconds provided the final tally.

The second-year running back would have never had the opportunity to win the game if it hadn't been for the Eagles' defense. The unit had its best outing of the season, holding the No. 2-ranked Giants' offense to 208 total yards, forcing five turnovers, and holding them to the magic number of just 17 points.

"We knew it was going to be physical game," said linebacker Ernie Sims, who played in his first Eagles-Giants game. "That's what they were telling me all week - it was going to be a physical game. That's how it always is with the Giants."

The Giants had more than enough time to mount a comeback after McCoy's score, but a strange series of events eventually led to the Eagles' regaining possession.

With 4:18 left, Eli Manning tossed a pass to receiver Derek Hagan that bounced off cornerback Joselio Hanson and into the hands of Asante Samuel for his second interception of the game. But on the return, Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw forced Samuel to fumble the ball away.

Four plays later, though, Manning fumbled the ball back when, on fourth and 6, he ran for a first down to the Eagles' 40 but did not slide. The quarterback fell forward untouched, the ball popped out, and end Darryl Tapp was there to pick it up. The Giants challenged the call, but it stood.

On the Eagles' ensuing possession, McCoy put the finishing touch on the game with a 40-yard run. After spending most of the game stuck in his own backfield, the tailback finished with 111 yards on 14 carries. Vick has been the Eagles' MVP this season, and possibly the league's, but McCoy has been the unheralded hero.

His carry on fourth and 1 came close to not even happening. Vick almost bobbled away the snap, but he was able to pitch the ball to McCoy, who swung wide through a gaping hole.

"We practiced that this week - third-and-1, fourth-and-1 plays," McCoy said. "We guessed right, and we got to the perimeter, and [Peters and Herremans] did a great job of pulling."

Vick was solid, but was nowhere near as great as he was last week in Washington, when he set the NFL on fire. Still, he completed 24 of 38 passes for 258 yards, and ran 11 times for 34 yards and a first-quarter score.

"This was an important game for him," Reid said. "He battled his way through."

Vick was harassed all day by the Giants' front seven, taking a number of hits.

"I spent a lot of the game on the ground," Vick said. "This game is going to give me a heart attack one day."

Although the Giants lost the late challenge, they had won one earlier in the quarter when a Bradshaw fumble was reversed. The original call was that the running back lost possession when Sims knocked the ball loose and defensive tackle Broderick Bunkley recovered on the Giants' 38.

But New York coach Tom Coughlin pulled his red hankie out of his sock to challenge. It was the best red thing to come out of a sock since Curt Schilling pitched the Red Sox to a World Series title.

The Eagles still held and forced the Giants to punt. They regained possession on their own 10-yard line with 7:52 remaining and drove 90 yards on seven plays, culminating with McCoy's touchdown burst.

From about the midway point of the third quarter to the early minutes of the fourth, the Eagles did almost everything wrong and the Giants did everything right. The result: A 16-3 Eagles lead turned into a 17-16 deficit.

First there was a long New York drive culminated by a Manning-to-Travis Beckum 2-yard touchdown pass. Then the Eagles got the ball back and the offense floundered, but this time it wasn't in the red zone.

There was another costly holding penalty, and Vick turned the ball over with a fumble. He's yet to throw an interception this season, but it was his first turnover on the season. And it couldn't have come at a worse time.

Defensive end Justin Tuck forced the fumble, defensive tackle Barry Cofield recovered the ball, and New York was in business on the Eagles' 27. On their first play, Manning connected with Brandon Jacobs for a 22-yard reception when linebacker Sims bit on a play fake and couldn't get back in time to cover the running back.

A play later, Manning hit Hagan for a 5-yard touchdown and the lead.

Earlier, the game was marred by another serious injury. The Eagles have had their share this season, with DeSean Jackson, Stewart Bradley, and Kevin Kolb suffering ghastly concussions.

Ellis Hobbs, who missed the previous two games with a hip flexor injury, was returning the second-half kickoff when a helmet hit from Dave Tollefson apparently knocked the cornerback out cold.

Read The Inquirer's Eagles blog, "Bird's Eye View," by Jeff McLane and Jonathan Tamari, at http://go.philly