Sanchez, special teams lead Eagles over Giants
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- The Philadelphia Eagles can only wonder what might have been this season. The New York Giants head into the offseason wondering what's going to happen after missing the playoffs for the third straight year.
Mark Sanchez threw two touchdowns and the Eagles' special teams scored their seventh touchdown of this otherwise frustrating season in a 34-26 victory over the Giants on Sunday, in what could have been Tom Coughlin's final game as New York's coach.
Backup tight end Trey Burton returned a blocked punt 27 yards for a score in the third quarter, and Nate Allen iced the game with a late interception. The Eagles (10-6) snapped a three-game losing streak that knocked them out of playoff contention last week. The 10 wins matched their total last season when they won the NFC East, and they had the division lead with four games to go this year after knocking off Dallas on Thanksgiving.
Rookie Odell Beckham Jr. had 12 catches for a career-best 185 yards, including a 63-yard fourth-quarter touchdown that got the Giants within 31-26. New York (6-10) had won three straight.
Now the question is what happens to Coughlin, who's led the Giants to two Super Bowl titles in his 11 seasons. If he stays, which players and coaches go?
Sanchez was 23 of 36 for 292 yards, including touchdowns of 44 yards to rookie Jordan Matthews and 1 yard to tight end Brent Celek on the Eagles' first two possessions. Cody Parkay made two field goals, with the last giving the Eagles an eight-point lead after Beckham's latest dazzling play got New York within five.
Allen then sealed the game with less than three minutes to play with his interception and return deep into Giants territory.
Eli Manning finished 28 of 53 for 429 yards, with Rueben Randle also having a big day, catching six passes for 158 yards.
Rookie Andre Williams scored on a 1-yard run on New York's first possession, but the Giants struggled in the red zone after that, settling for four field goals by Josh Brown, the longest from 53 yards. They couldn't capitalize on another big play from Beckham, the team's star of the future.
A main reason was the block early in the third quarter by tight end James Casey that Burton picked up and returned down the sideline. The Eagles have scored TDs on three returns of blocked punts, two kickoff returns and two punt returns.
That score gave Philadelphia a 24-16 lead.
Brown's long field goal got New York within 24-19, but the Giants could have pulled closer because tackle Will Beatty was called for holding on a 34-yard TD pass to Randle, nullifying the score.
The Eagles' Chris Polk scored on a 1-yard run early in the fourth quarter, and then Beckham caught a pass on the sideline, sidestepped a defender and went the distance, slamming the ball against the wall of the end zone to celebrate.
New York moved the ball in the first half but settled for three field goals by Brown.