The Philadelphia Eagles claimed the outright lead in the NFC East after a record-equalling performance from DeSean Jackson.
Jackson the Giant-killer
The Philadelphia Eagles claimed the outright lead in the NFC East after a record-equalling performance from DeSean Jackson helped them to a 45-38 victory over the New York Giants on Sunday. The Giants (7-6), who could have forged a three-way tie at the top of the NFC with a win, came back from a 30-17 half-time deficit to lead 31-30 with 5:12 left in the third quarter.
On Philadelphia's next play from scrimmage, big-play weapon Jackson caught a 60-yard touchdown pass from Donovan McNabb, back pedalling untouched into the end zone to put the Eagles into a lead they never relinquished. The wide receiver and return man, who had earlier scored on a 72-yard punt return, tied an NFL record with his eighth touchdown of the season of 50 yards or more. "DeSean was feeling it," the Eagles coach Andy Reid said. "He was bugging me the whole time on the sidelines that he wanted the ball, in a good way. So we gave him the ball."
The lightning-quick Jackson, a second-round draft pick in 2008 from little known Long Beach Polytechnic, missed last week's game because of a concussion. "Sitting home last week was terrible," he said. "I told everybody I'm going to come out strong." Jackson, who set up Michael Vick's one-yard touchdown run at the end of the first half with a 44-yard catch on third and 20, said competing on Sunday night was special.
"The world's watching," he said. "We know what rode on this game - a chance to take over the division." The victory lifted the Eagles to 9-4, one game ahead of the Dallas Cowboys (8-5), who were beaten 20-17 at home by the AFC West-leading San Diego Chargers. The game, which gave the Eagles a fourth win in a row over the Giants, was full of big plays, missed tackles and turnovers. McNabb completed 17 of 26 passes for 275 yards and two touchdowns. The Giants' Eli Manning was 27 of 38 for 391 yards and three scores.
Elsewhere in the NFL, Peyton Manning threw three touchdown passes in the first 23 minutes but was then picked off three times before the Indianapolis Colts beat the Denver Broncos 28-16 to set a league record with their 22nd consecutive regular-season win and assure themselves of home-field advantage in the AFC play-offs. Their victory broke the mark set by the New England Patriots from 2006 to 2008.
"It does feel good," the Colts' linebacker Clint Session said. "I'm a part of history right now, so it feels real good. It's something we can tell our kids and grandkids that we did something no one else had done. It's definitely a great accomplishment." Denver's Brandon Marshall also had a record day, breaking the league's single-game mark with 21 receptions, albeit in a losing cause. Drew Brees was 31 for 40 and threw for 296 yards and three touchdowns, and Jonathan Vilma came up with two huge defensive plays as the New Orleans Saints also remained unbeaten with a 26-23 win over the Atlanta Falcons. Garrett Hartley won it on a 38-yard field goal with a 4:42 remaining.
Adrian Peterson ran for 97 yards and two touchdowns, pushing the Minnesota Vikings past the mistake-prone Cincinnati Bengals 30-10. Brett Favre completed 17 of 30 passes for 192 yards and a single touchdown for the Vikings (11-2), who clinched a spot in the play-offs and need only one more win for a second consecutive NFC North title. The Houston Texans ended their a slump to hammer the Seattle Seahawks 34-7, the Green Bay Packers beat the Chicago Bears 21-14, and the Baltimore Ravens routed the Detroit Lions 48-3.
* With agencies