Donovan McNabb has better legs than Kerry Collins and the Philadelphia Eagles finally have a win against the New York Giants.
McNabb threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to James Thrash with 1:52 to play and sealed the win with a fourth-down run in the final half minute as the Eagles edged the Giants, 10-9, to move atop the NFC East.
While McNabb's mobility proved to be the difference, Collins' inability to scramble helped the Eagles snap a nine-game losing streak in the series since Jim Fassel took over as Giants coach in 1997.
"We got the monkey off our back," Eagles safety Brian Dawkins said. "Whatever you want to say, we definitely needed this win. We showed a lot of character out there."
Pressured all night in the rare occassions the offense took the field, McNabb scrambled right and found a sliding Thrash in the back right corner of the end zone to give Philadelphia its first lead.
"In the second half, they just made some plays when they needed to make them," said Michael Strahan, who had two of the Giants' six sacks to increase his NFL-leading total to 10 1/2. "At the end, it was a great play that they made. Donovan got out of the pocket and threw a strike."
On the ensuing possession, linebacker Jeremiah Trotter flushed the slow-footed Collins out of the pocket to the left sideline and forced a fumble from behind. Tackle Brandon Whiting pounced on the loose ball just before it went out of bounds.
"I knew they were blitzing, but I thought I had gotten out in enough time that if there was anyone coming, I had enough of a head start," said Collins, who completed 21-of-33 passes for 162 yards. "Obviously, I didn't."
The Giants used all three of their timeouts and forced the Eagles into a 4th-and-3 from New York's 29-yard line. But coach Andy Reid decided put the ball in the hands of McNabb, who ran a bootleg left and picked up 21 yards.
McNabb completed 15-of-26 passes for 154 yards and rushed for another 40 for the Eagles (3-2), who moved one-half game ahead of the Giants (3-3) in the NFC East.
"This is a game that we circled, especially at home against a division foe that's desperate for a win against us," Collins said.
New York (3-3) had possession for more than 24 1/2 minutes in the first half but settled for three field goals en route to its second straight one-point loss.
"It's a little disconcerting," Collins said. "We should've won both games."
"This is a bitter one to swallow," Fassel added.
The Giants dominated the first two quarters but could not punch the ball in the end zone. They got within the Eagles' 6 three times in the opening half before settling for field goals.
"Against a good team like this, you've got to be able to get seven points," Collins said. "If you don't do it, you set yourself up to be in trouble at the end of the game."
After each team missed field goals in the final minute of the second quarter, New York took a 9-0 lead into the locker room. But the scoreboard didn't tell the story.
The Giants had 179 of the game's 236 yards and had their defense on the field for only 5:25 -- the lowest total in a half since St. Louis held the ball for only 5:21 in a 1996 game.
"This game is not about stats, it's about winning and losing," Giants safety Sam Garnes said. "Stats are for losers. We lost the game, and that's what it came down to."
The second half didn't start so promising for the Eagles, who punted on their first two possessions and settled for a field goal from David Akers after getting down to the Giants' 8.
But the Giants fell apart offensively in the second half, punting on their first five touches -- the final four coming after three-and-outs.
"Somehow we didn't come out the second half as good as we did the first, and it cost us the game," offensive lineman Glenn Parker said.
Rookie Rodney Williams' last punt of the night went just 27 yards and the Eagles took over at New York's 40 with 5:52 left. After a pair of first downs, McNabb found Thrash for the game's only touchdown.
"Anytime you let a team stay around, something can happen," McNabb said. "For us, we were very excited that it went our side."
With three timeouts left and 1:47 on the clock, the Giants still had plenty of time to get in field goal range for Morten Andersen, but Trotter poked the ball free from Collins.
By stopping the Eagles on three straight runs, the Giants forced Reid into a decision -- go for a first down on 4th-and-3, punt or try a field goal.
Reid put the ball in McNabb's hands, and he came through, faking a handoff and scrambling left for 21 yards to seal the victory.