The Philadelphia Eagles will face their NFC East foe, the New York Giants, in Saturday’s NFC divisional round game with a trip to the conference championship on the line.
Philly is coming off a first-round bye, while the G-Men look to continue their playoff run after beating the Minnesota Vikings in the wild-card round. Heading into Saturday’s contest, the Eagles lead the series 89-85-2. Philadelphia has had the upper hand recently, sweeping New York in this year’s series.
Before these squads battle on the gridiron, let’s look at some memorable moments these teams have shared over the years, selected by ESPN reporters Tim McManus and Jordan Raanan.
Nov. 20, 1960
The Eagles’ 17-10 victory over the Giants at Yankee Stadium is remembered because of Philadelphia linebacker Chuck Bednarik’s vicious hit on Giants running back Frank Gifford.
In the fourth quarter, New York quarterback George Shaw threw a pass to Gifford. After Gifford caught the pass, Bednarik delivered a blow that knocked him unconscious and forced a fumble. Eagles linebacker Chuck Weber recovered the loose ball, which helped Philly secure the win.
“Chuck knocked him right out of his shoes,” Eagles defensive back Tom Brookshier said.
Gifford suffered a concussion from Bednarik’s hit, which sidelined him for the rest of the season and the year after. But he didn’t believe Bednarik’s tackle broke any rules.
“It was perfectly legal,” Gifford said later about Bednarik’s hit. “If I’d had the chance, I’d have done the same thing Chuck did.”
Miracle at the Meadowlands
Nov. 19, 1978
The Giants had the ball and a 17-12 lead against the Eagles with under two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Philly had no timeouts, which meant New York could run out the clock and secure a late-season victory. All the Giants had to do was get in victory formation and take a couple of knee-downs.
But they didn’t, and it was a costly decision.
Instead, New York called a run play for fullback Larry Csonka. Giants quarterback Joe Pisarcik fumbled the handoff, which bounced into the hands of Eagles cornerback Herman Edwards, who returned it for the game-winning touchdown. Philadelphia’s wondrous play, nicknamed the “Miracle at the Meadowlands,” earned it the 19-17 victory.
#tbt to 1978, the original Miracle at the Meadowlands.#FlyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/bHsz96p7Db
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) December 14, 2017
Jason Sehorn’s acrobatic interception
January 7, 2001
With under two minutes left in the second quarter of the 2000 NFC divisional round, Giants cornerback Sehorn deflected a pass thrown by Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb into the air. Sehorn kept his concentration, rolled over, caught the ball and returned it 32 yards for a pick-six.
Sehorn’s interception return was the final touchdown New York scored in that game. The Giants’ defense held the Eagles’ offense in check. New York held Philly to 186 yards of total offense and forced three turnovers. The Giants won the game 20-10.
New York made it to the Super Bowl that year but lost 34-7 against the Baltimore Ravens.
Brian Westbrook’s game-winning punt return
October 19, 2003
The Giants held a 10-7 lead over the Eagles late in the fourth quarter. Despite Philly’s tough day offensively, the Eagles still had a chance to win.
New York had to punt the ball away with under two minutes remaining, and Eagles running back Brian Westbrook awaited the kick. If New York could keep the ball away from Westbrook or quickly tackle him, it would put its defense — which had contained Philly’s offense for most of that day — in a great position to win the game.
But Westbrook had other plans.
Westbrook fielded the punt at the Eagles’ 16-yard line and eluded defenders en route to an 84-yard, game-winning punt return touchdown. Westbrook’s heroics gave Philadelphia the 14-10 win and stunned New York.
“I thought, ‘No way! No way! Someone is going to get him,'” Giants quarterback Kerry Collins said of Westbrook’s punt return.
Where were you when Brian Westbrook housed this punt return in ’03?#TBT | #FlyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/M8onPu91nj
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) May 23, 2019
Osi Umenyiora’s six-sack game
September 30, 2007
Umenyiora’s historic performance against the Eagles was something to behold. With Philadelphia starting tackle William Thomas out due to injury, the Giants and Umenyiora took advantage of Thomas’ backup, Winston Justice.
Umenyiora dominated the Eagles’ offensive line, finishing the game with six sacks, a Giants record. New York sacked Donovan McNabb 12 times that night, which tied an NFL record. The Giants went on to win the contest 16-3.
“It was like a video game out there,” Umenyiora said. “Winston Justice is a very good football player. Tonight was just one of those nights.”
Miracle at the New Meadowlands
December 19, 2010
The Giants were all over the Eagles in this game, building a 24-3 lead by halftime. Fast-forward to just over eight minutes left in the fourth quarter, New York had a 31-10 lead, and it looked like the Giants would run away with the victory.
Then the Eagles orchestrated an epic comeback.
Philly outscored New York 21-0 over the next seven minutes to tie the game at 31. With 14 seconds left in the game, the Giants had to punt the ball to Philadelphia. All New York had to do was prevent wide receiver and punt returner DeSean Jackson from running it back for a touchdown.
For Giants fans, it felt like déjà vu in the worst way.
After Jackson initially fumbled the punt, he channeled his inner Westbrook and broke through the Giants’ punt coverage, returning the ball 65 yards for the game-winning touchdown. The score capped off a thrilling 38-31 comeback win for the Eagles. As for the Giants and their fans, memories from Westbrook’s 2003 punt return and the original “Miracle at the Meadowlands” reared their ugly heads.
“I was thinking he was going to kick it out of bounds. But it got to me. From there, I just used my instincts and my speed to get into the end zone,” Jackson said after the game.
“It’s about as empty as you get to feel in this business, right there,” Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. “With him [Jackson] back there, you don’t punt the ball to him.”
The Miracle at the New Meadowlands.
11 years ago today, DeSean Jackson walked it off with a punt return TD! (Dec. 19, 2010) pic.twitter.com/tcQOG44Dm3
— NFL Legacy (@NFLLegacy) December 19, 2021