NFL roundup: Jackson's punt return pushes Eagles past Giants

Cowboys knock off Grossman, Redskins

December 20, 2010

Philadelphia 38, NY Giants 31

East Rutherford, NJ (Sports Network) - The Philadelphia Eagles have found several ways to deal the New York Giants heartbreaking defeats over the years, and they added another one to the list on Sunday. There was "The Fumble" in 1978, and there was Brian Westbrook's punt return in 2003. On Sunday, with these teams tied for the NFC East lead, it was the electric DeSean Jackson, whose 65-yard punt return on the game's final play lifted Philadelphia to a 38-31 victory over New York in one of the most memorable games in the NFL this season. It was much more than just Jackson's return, though. The Eagles (10-4) trailed 24-3 at halftime and by 31-10 with 8:17 to play, but Michael Vick spearheaded a remarkable comeback to once again make his case for league MVP. Vick led three touchdown drives totaling 220 yards in only 4:39 of time to tie the game, and he resembled the Vick of old, totaling a season-high 130 yards on the ground with a rushing touchdown. He also threw for 242 yards and three touchdowns while leading Philadelphia to 344 second-half yards. The Eagles now have a one-game lead over the Giants (9-5) in the division and hold the tiebreaker by virtue of their two victories over New York this season. Eli Manning threw for 289 yards and tied a career-high with four touchdown passes, but New York scored only seven second-half points to have their three-game win streak snapped. Mario Manningham had two touchdown catches and finished with 113 yards on eight receptions, but it wasn't enough to help the Giants avoid their sixth straight loss -- including playoffs -- to their bitter divisional rival.

New England 31, Green Bay 27

Foxboro, MA (Sports Network) - In the end, inexperience cost him. Green Bay quarterback Matt Flynn threw for 251 yards and three touchdowns in his first career start, but indecision in the final minute allowed New England to come away with a 31-27 victory over the Packers. Flynn was playing in place of Aaron Rodgers, who sat because of a concussion suffered last week, and looked like a veteran quarterback at times. He completed 24-of-37 throws and had the Packers deep in Patriots territory with a little more than a minute to play. But a failure to quickly call a play with time winding down left Flynn scrambling, and Tully Banta-Cain sacked him from behind to force a fumble and end the game. Tom Brady passed for 163 yards and two touchdowns, including the go-ahead score to Aaron Hernandez in the fourth quarter, to help the Patriots (12-2) earn a sixth consecutive victory. The Packers (8-6) suffered a second straight defeat and fell further behind Chicago in the NFC North race.

Dallas 33, Washington 30

Arlington, TX (Sports Network) - David Buehler's 39-yard field goal in the final minute of the game led the Dallas Cowboys to a 33-30 win over the Washington Redskins in an NFC East battle at Cowboys Stadium. Jon Kitna had two touchdowns passes and finished the game with 305 yards on 25-of-37 passing for the Cowboys (5-9), who rebounded from a loss to Philadelphia last week to win for the fourth time in six games under head coach Jason Garrett. Jason Witten had 10 catches for 140 yards and a score, Miles Austin caught a touchdown and Buehler went 4-for-5 on field goal attempts with three extra points. Rex Grossman was 25-for-43 with 322 yards along with four touchdowns and two interceptions as the Redskins (5-9) rallied from a 20-point deficit, but fell for the fourth straight week. Santana Moss finished the game with eight catches for 72 yards and two scores. Grossman started the game as head coach Mike Shanahan announced on Friday that he was benching regular starter Donovan McNabb for the rest of the season.

Atlanta 34, Seattle 18

Seattle, WA (Sports Network) - Matt Ryan threw for 174 yards and three touchdowns on 20-of-35 passes as Atlanta used a third-quarter surge to rout Seattle, 34-18, at Qwest Field. Roddy White, Michael Jenkins and Jason Snelling all caught a TD pass for the Falcons (12-2), who clinched a playoff spot prior to the contest due to the Giants' disheartening loss to the Eagles, and extended their lead in the NFC South to two games over New Orleans, which lost to Baltimore earlier Sunday. Michael Turner added 82 yards on 25 carries and Jonathan Babineaux recorded a defensive touchdown for Atlanta, which reeled off their eighth straight victory -- their most in one season since taking the final nine games of the 1998 campaign. Matt Hasselbeck didn't last three quarters, and threw for 71 yards and two interceptions on 10-of-17 passing. Charlie Whitehurst finished the game 8- of-16 for 83 yards and ran for a score for the Seahawks (6-8), who suffered their fourth loss in five games but remained tied atop the NFC West after the Rams lost to Kansas City earlier in the day. Marshawn Lynch posted 60 yards and a TD on 12 carries while Mike Williams had 66 yards on eight receptions in defeat.

Oakland 39, Denver 23

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