Giants
Eagles
20 - 23 Final
  for this game

Akers kicks winning field goal on final play

Jan 8, 2007 - 2:41 AM PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) -- David Akers kicked the Philadelphia Eagles into the next round of the playoffs and Tiki Barber into retirement.

Akers' 38-yard field goal as time expired lifted the Eagles to a 23-20 victory over the New York Giants in a wild card game matching NFC East rivals.

The third-seeded Eagles (11-6), who closed the regular season with five straight wins to earn their fifth division title in six years under coach Andy Reid, will face the second-seeded New Orleans Saints in the divisional playoffs on Saturday night.

"This was a typical game for us against a division rival," Reid said. "We had two great regular-season games against the Giants so it would figure that this game would come down to the last play."

The teams split the regular-season meetings with the Giants winning here, 30-24, in overtime in Week Two and the Eagles winning at New York, 36-22, three weeks ago.

The rubber game in the playoffs turned out to be the last one for Barber, the Giants' all-time leading rusher who was second in the NFC with 1,662 yards in 2006. The three-time Pro Bowler announced last month that he would retire after the season.

Barber rushed for 137 yards on 26 carries, but did not have the storybook ending that running back Jerome Bettis enjoyed last season when he won a Super Bowl title with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"It was fitting to end like this in a lot of ways," Barber said. "This is one of the hardest places I've played in in my career against great players like Jeremiah Trotter and Brian Dawkins. For those guys to call me a warrior after the game meant a lot to me."

The Giants (8-9), who closed the regular season with six losses in their last eight games, showed some fight against the Eagles, rallying from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to tie the game.

Jay Feely kicked a 24-yard field goal 10 seconds into the fourth quarter to pull New York within 20-13.

The Giants tied the game when Eli Manning connected with Plaxico Burress on an 11-yard scoring pass with 5:04 left. Burress caught a 17-yard touchdown in the first quarter.

But the day belonged to Philadelphia's Brian Westbrook, who rushed for 141 yards on 20 carries, including a 49-yard touchdown. He also had a 65-yard punt return for an apparent score in the third quarter negated by a penalty on rookie Torrance Daniels.

"We have a lot of character on this team and we fought all the way through," Westbrook said. "We fought when people counted us out during the season and today we showed our character again."

On the game-winning drive, Westbrook rushed for 33 yards with most of them coming behind Pro Bowl guard Shawn Andrews and tackle Jon Runyan on the right side of the line and Jeff Garcia completed two passes for 13 yards on rollouts to the right.

"We did what we needed to do when it counted the most," said Garcia, who threw for 153 yards and a touchdown. "Brian Westbrook and the offensive line took control on that final drive."

Just after the two-minute warning, Westbrook raced around right end for a 13-yard gain to the New York 32. Four plays later, Akers drilled his 10th career game-winning field goal, including two in the playoffs.

"I was fired up to end the game that way," Akers said. "Our guys have worked so hard with our backs to the wall for most of the last part of the season and then to follow up with a playoff win is exciting."

Akers' kick came in wet conditions since most of the fourth quarter was played in a steady rain. The snap was perfect by Jon Dorenbos, the hold was executed by Koy Detmer and Akers delivered his third field goal of the game.

Snaps and holds have not been so routine for other teams. On Saturday night, Tony Romo flubbed a hold on a potential game-winning field goal in the Dallas Cowboys' 21-20 loss at Seattle in the other NFC wild card game.

Two weeks ago, the Cincinnati Bengals botched the snap on an extra-point attempt in the final minute of a 24-23 loss at Denver.

Manning looked like he was determined to erase the memory of his playoff debut last January when he was intercepted three times and completed just 10 passes for 113 yards in a 23-0 loss to Carolina.

On New York's first possession, Manning completed 3-of-3 passes for 55 yards, including a 17-yard touchdown to Burress 3:16 into the game.

The Eagles went three-and-out on their first three possessions before Westbrook dazzled the crowd with a 49-yard touchdown run around right end, tying the game 49 seconds into the second quarter.

On the Giants' next possession, cornerback Sheldon Brown cut in front of Burress to intercept a pass by Manning and returned it seven yards to the New York 37. Westbrook then broke off a 22-yard run around right end to set up a 19-yard field goal by Akers with 9:34 left in the second quarter.

Perhaps feeling upstaged by Westbrook, Barber busted loose for a 41-yard run to help set up a 20-yard field goal by Jay Feely with 4:45 left in the second quarter, tying the game.

Garcia, who improved to 6-1 since taking over as the starter for the injured Donovan McNabb (torn ACL), completed 6-of-7 passes for 78 yards on Philadelphia's next possession. Reggie Brown caught three passes for 33 yards on the drive before Garcia capped it with a 28-yard touchdown pass to Donte' Stallworth, giving the Eagles a 17-10 lead with 1:01 left in the first half.

Brown caught two passes for 24 yards and gained 13 yards on a reverse to set up a 48-yard field goal by Akers with 2:37 remaining in the third quarter.

Feeley's 24-yard field goal 10 seconds into the fourth quarter came after Brown was penalized 47 yards for interfering with Burress.

Burress caught passes of 18 yards and 14 yards from Manning on the final drive to bail the Giants out of a 2nd-and-30 hole before his game-tying 11-yard touchdown catch.

"I was proud of the way we hung together as a team and fought back," said Giants coach Tom Coughlin, who has one year left on his contract. "But I also told the guys that we didn't come over here to lose."

With Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi set to step down on January 15, Coughlin's future with the team is uncertain.








  • WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    NFL WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    NY GIANTS 7 3 0 10 20
    PHILADELPHIA 0 17 3 3 23 FINAL
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: NYG - TD, PLAXICO BURRESS 17 YD PASS FROM ELI
    MANNING (JAY FEELY KICK), 13:16.
    Drive: 7 plays, 67 yards in 3:16.
    Key plays: Manning 29-yard pass to
    Bur

    Jan 7 7:57 PM


  • WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    NFL WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    FG PHI
    DAVID AKERS 38 YD
    NY GIANTS 20
    PHILADELPHIA 23 0:00 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Jan 7 7:56 PM


  • WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    NFL WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    FG PHI
    DAVID AKERS 38 YD
    NY GIANTS 20
    PHILADELPHIA 23 0:00 LEFT, 4TH QTR

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  • WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    NFL WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    TD NYG
    PLAXICO BURRESS 11 YD PASS FROM ELI MANNING
    (JAY FEELY KICK)
    NY GIANTS 20
    PHILADELPHIA 20 5:04 LEFT, 4TH QTR

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  • WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    NFL WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    FG NYG
    JAY FEELY 24 YD
    NY GIANTS 13
    PHILADELPHIA 20 14:50 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Giants vs. EaglesJan 7 7:11 PM


  • WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    NFL WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    END, 3RD QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    NY GIANTS 7 3 0 10
    PHILADELPHIA 0 17 3 20 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: NYG - TD, PLAXICO BURRESS 17 YD PASS FROM ELI
    MANNING (JAY FEELY KICK), 13:16.
    Drive: 7 plays, 67 yards in 3:16.
    Key plays: Manning 29-yard pass

    Jan 7 7:08 PM


  • WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    NFL WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    FG PHI
    DAVID AKERS 48 YD
    NY GIANTS 10
    PHILADELPHIA 20 2:37 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Giants vs. EaglesJan 7 7:01 PM


  • WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    NFL WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    HALFTIME 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    NY GIANTS 7 3 10
    PHILADELPHIA 0 17 17 HALFTIME
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: NYG - TD, PLAXICO BURRESS 17 YD PASS FROM ELI
    MANNING (JAY FEELY KICK), 13:16.
    Drive: 7 plays, 67 yards in 3:16.
    Key plays: Manning 29-yard pass to


    Jan 7 6:14 PM


  • WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    NFL WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    TD PHI
    DONTE' STALLWORTH 28 YD PASS FROM JEFF GARCIA
    (DAVID AKERS KICK)
    NY GIANTS 10
    PHILADELPHIA 17 1:01 LEFT, 2ND QTR

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    NFL WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    FG NYG
    JAY FEELY 20 YD
    NY GIANTS 10
    PHILADELPHIA 10 4:45 LEFT, 2ND QTR

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    NFL WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    FG PHI
    DAVID AKERS 19 YD
    NY GIANTS 7
    PHILADELPHIA 10 9:34 LEFT, 2ND QTR

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  • WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    NFL WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    TD PHI
    BRIAN WESTBROOK 49 YD RUN
    (DAVID AKERS KICK)
    NY GIANTS 7
    PHILADELPHIA 7 14:11 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Giants vs. EaglesJan 7 5:28 PM


  • WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    NFL WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    END, 1ST QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    NY GIANTS 7 7
    PHILADELPHIA 0 0 END, 1ST QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: NYG - TD, PLAXICO BURRESS 17 YD PASS FROM ELI
    MANNING (JAY FEELY KICK), 13:16.
    Drive: 7 plays, 67 yards in 3:16.
    Key plays: Manning 29-yard pass

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  • WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    NFL WILD CARD PLAYOFFS
    TD NYG
    PLAXICO BURRESS 17 YD PASS FROM ELI MANNING
    (JAY FEELY KICK)
    NY GIANTS 7
    PHILADELPHIA 0 1:44 LEFT, 1ST QTR

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