On the second play of the next drive, Vick had plenty of time and connected with Brent Celek at the Giants’ 40-yardline. The tight end side-stepped a tackle, picked up a huge de-cleating block from Jeremy Maclin on Terrell Thomas, and took it to the house for a 65-yard touchdown, leaving the Birds down two scores at 31-17.
Seizing the momentum, Andy Reid called for a surprise onside kick. David Akers kicked it perfectly, and without the Giants hands team on the field, the Eagles had a 5-on-2 advantage in manpower to the left side. Riley Cooper went up uncontested and hauled the ball in, stealing away all of the momentum.
On the second play of the drive, Vick scrambled 35 yards down to the Giants’ nine-yardline. Four plays later, Vick took a quarterback draw in for a score from four yards out. Suddenly, the Eagles were only down 31-24.
This time, the Birds kicked it away and the Giants took over at their own 35-yardline with 5:21 remaining. Manning hit Mario Manningham for 12 yards and a first down, then Ahmad Bradshaw ran four times in a row for 15 yards and a first down, leaving the Eagles without timeouts with 3:56 remaining. It was second-and-six for the Giants, but a false start by David Diehl put them back in a long yardage situation. Bradshaw was stuffed after three yards on second down, and Manning threw an incomplete pass on third down.
Philadelphia got the ball back with 3:01 left at its own 12-yardline. At that point, Jeremy Maclin said the offense knew it was going to tie the game.
“All the confidence in the world man,” Maclin said “With the way things are going, definitely.”
After a pair of incompletions, the Eagles faced third-and-10 and Vick took it upon himself to make a play. Facing pressure, he scrambled to his left and cut upfield for a 33-yard gain. Then Vick hit Jason Avant for 13 yards. Two plays later, Vick ran for 22 yards down to the Giants’ 20. Then he found Brent Celek for seven more before connecting with Jeremy Maclin on a hitch route at the five-yardline. Maclin side stepped Terrell Thomas and darted into the end zone, leaving Philadelphia an extra point away from a tie with 1:10 remaining. The receiver said he had a lot on his mind as he crossed the goal line.
“This is the ballgame, we’re in it ‘til the end,” Maclin said. “I was also thinking, I looked at the clock to see how much time was left, that we might get the ball back again.”
Sure enough, the Eagles defense forced a punt with 14 seconds left and DeSean Jackson did the rest. Despite trailing 24-3 in the first half and 31-10 in the fourth quarter, despite seeing Eli Manning throw for 289 yards and four touchdowns, despite Mario Manningham’s eight catches for 113 yards and two scores, the Eagles found a way back.
While Maclin had a lot on his mind as he scored the game-tying touchdown, Andy Reid’s thought was simple as he saw DeSean Jackson break into the open on his punt return.
“I was thinking, ‘This is a beautiful thing,’” Reid said.
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