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The Miracles at the Meadowlands

By Ryan Shute, Sports Talk Philly staff writer 

The 168th overall meeting between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Giants will take place at MetLife Stadium Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. The Giants hold the series lead with a record of 81-85-2.

The Birds have won three consecutive games at MetLife Stadium including the previous two season finales, where the Eagles were victorious 34-26 in 2014 and 35-30 in 2015.

A handful of Eagles and Giants battles that have taken place in New York territory have ended in miraculous fashion with the Eagles coming out on top.

In recent history, the Eagles appeared to be headed to a 2-4 record in Week 7 of 2003 as they trailed the Giants 10-7 late in the game. Brian Westbrook was able to save the game and the season as he returned a Jeff Feagles punt 84 yards to the end zone with just 1:16 left and the Birds were able to escape 14-10 and get back to .500 at 3-3.

In 2010, Giants tight end Kevin Boss scored on a touchdown pass from quarterback Eli Manning to put New York up 31-10, but the Eagles would go on to rally off 28 unanswered points in the final 8:17.

The deficit was erased by the arm and legs of Michael Vick, as he threw one touchdown to Brent Celek, ran one in from four yards out, and then threw another one to Jeremy Maclin knotting the score at 31-31.

The comeback was completed when Giants punter Matt Dodge kicked the ball to a dangerous return man in DeSean Jackson. Jackson initially muffed the punt but was able to pick it back up and return it for a 65 yard touchdown with no time left on the clock, giving the Eagles a 38-31 walk off win.

Of course, let’s not forget when New York quarterback Joe Pisarcik had a bad hand off exchange with his full back Larry Czonka resulting in a fumble, which led to the loose football being scooped up by Birds defender Herman Edwards for an Eagles game winning touchdown with 31 seconds left. This game will forever be called the Miracle at the Meadowlands.

The latter events can be considered sequels to the Miracle at the Meadowlands, which took place on Nov. 19, 1978. But one lesser known game to the others should be considered the first sequel in the series, which took place 10 years and one day to the date of the original.

On Nov. 20, 1988, the Birds met the Giants, trailing them by one game in the standings in a crucial Week 12 matchup.

The Eagles opened the scoring with a first quarter touchdown run by Randall Cunningham, but his score would be answered back as Giants quarterback Phil Simms threw a touchdown pass to receiver Stacy Robinson, closing the quarter tied, 7-7.

The teams would alternate field goals in the second quarter, as Luis Zendejas hit his kick of 37 yards for the Birds and New York’s Paul McFadden nailed a 21-yard shot, sending the game into halftime at 10-10.

The Giants would break the scoring pattern in the third as Simms threw his second touchdown of the game, this time to Stephen Baker to put New York up by seven points.

New York’s would carry their 17-10 lead into the final quarter of regulation, where during that period, a bizarre play would occur and go the Eagles way.

The Birds were knocking on the door in the red zone when Cunningham completed a pass to tight end Keith Jackson just inside the ten yard-line. As Jackson got to the five, he was hit by two Giants defenders, linebacker Pepper Johnson and safety Terry Kinard, and the ball was dislodged into the end zone. Cris Carter was at the right place at the right time as the ball rolled directly to him, enabling an easy recovery of the ball for the game-tying touchdown.

They would need overtime to finish this battle and the Eagles got themselves in a nice position for Zendejas to kick the game winning field goal. But the ending of this game wasn't meant to end so simply.

Zendejas’ kicking attempt was blocked, appearing as if New York avoided defat on the play. They did not as the live ball ended up in the hands of Eagle Clyde Simmons at the Giants 15 yard-line. Simmons went on to run the ball in for the game-winning touchdown to give the Eagles a 23-17 overtime victory.

There is nothing like the original Miracle in the Meadowlands, but it truly has become a series similar to a movie franchise. There is no real way to tell when the next miracle is coming, but any Eagles-Giants game that takes place in the Meadowlands means there is a chance. 

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