A game full of exciting plays and just as many questionable coaching decisions (including one major officiating blunder) ended with a stirring, stunning, and thoroughly exhilarating punt return for a touchdown from receiver DeSean Jackson.
Somehow, the Eagles have beaten the Giants, 38-31.
After Eagles coach Andy Reid inexplicably failed to throw a challenge flag after Jackson fumbled the ball when he clearly was down, the Giants scored a touchdown to put New York up by 21, 31-10.
A 65-yard touchdown pass from Mike Vick to Brent Celek, fueled by a great downfield block by receiver Jeremy Maclin, cut the Giants’ lead to 31-17.
Then came an onside kick that was bungled by the Giants, who hadn’t inserted its “hands” team and whose front wall was dropping back to set up the return once the ball was kicked. Philly easily recovered, and six plays later Vick ran four yards for a score.
The Eagles then kicked away, since they were down only seven with 5:28 to play. The Giants managed to burn a couple minutes off the clock, punting back to the Eagles with 3:09 to go. Eight plays later, Vick found Jeremy Maclin for a touchdown that, with the extra point, tied the score at 31.
The game seemed to be destined for overtime, but the Giants weren’t able to burn up the 1:14 that remained. After two incomplete passes, quarterback Eli Manning was sacked.
The Giants then punted. Jackson initially mishandled the ball, but once he got it under control he found an opening and exploded to the end zone. When Jackson arrived, he ran across the front of the goal line without scoring, either to run the last couple seconds off the clock or (more likely) to showboat.
FOX cameras then showed Giants coach Tom Coughlin berating erratic rookie punter Matt Dodge for not kicking the ball out of bounds. Dodge could lose his job for the gaffe, and the outcome of the Miracle in the New Meadowlands (which comes 32 years and one month to the day after Herman Edwards took a Joe Pisarcik fumble in garbage time to the end zone) could cost Coughlin his, too, if the Giants don’t make it to the playoffs.
Elsewhere in New York, Bill Cowher was smiling a little.