Ten years ago, one of the greatest comebacks in sports history took place at the New Meadowlands Stadium. The Philadelphia Eagles did the unthinkable scoring four unanswered touchdowns in the final 7:28 of the fourth quarter to defeat the New York Giants 38-31.
In honor of the ten-year anniversary of the “Miracle at the New Meadowlands,” I wanted to relieve the comeback of the decade that took place on December 19, 2010, in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Let’s Go Back in Time
The New York Giants were set to host the Philadelphia Eagles during Week 15 of the 2010 NFL season. This game turned out to be a critical contest in the NFC East. Philadelphia advanced to the playoffs in 2010 because of this head-to-head victory over their division rivals. It didn’t look like the Eagles would have a chance as the game entered the fourth quarter, but they went on to stun the Giants.
Both teams entered Week 15 with a record of 9-4. The game began at 1:00 PM and lasted just over three hours. The “Miracle at the New Meadowlands” was voted the NFL Game of the Year in 2010. I’m not an Eagles or a Giants fan, but this game still stands out in my NFL memory bank. It was one football game that I’ll never forget watching.
Miracle at the New Meadowlands – First Quarter
The Giants entered this contest as three-point favorites over the Eagles. They won the toss and made the decision to take the football on the opening drive. Eagles quarterback, Michael Vick, threw an interception on the opening drive of the game.
Giants cornerback, Corey Webster, picked off Vick’s pass and returned it into Eagles territory. When the Giants offense took the field, they were unable to capitalize. Eli Manning was sacked by Moise Fokou which forced the Giants to punt.
However, Eli Manning led the Giants 71 yards down the field on New York’s next possession. This made the score 7-0 after the first quarter.
Miracle at the New Meadowlands – Second Quarter
The Eagles had the ball inside the Giants’ red zone at the end of the first quarter. When the second quarter began, they started their drive at the 19-yard line. The drive stalled because the Giants were able to sack Michael Vick. Andy Reid sent David Akers out for three points and he nailed a 34-yard field goal.
Manning and the Giants answered right back after the Eagles made it 7-3. Giants running back, Ahmad Bradshaw, was the star of New York’s second touchdown drive of the day. Bradshaw accounted for 24 of the team’s 74 total yards on this drive.
Manning threw a 33-yard strike to Mario Manningham to cap off the drive and put the Giants up 14-3. The Giants added an additional 10 points in the second quarter. Giants kicker, Lawrence Tynes, made the score 17-3 one drive later, and then a Jeremy Maclin fumble allowed the Giants to steal another touchdown before the end of the half.
The Eagles went into the locker room down 24 to 3.
Miracle at the New Meadowlands – Third Quarter
The third quarter was fairly slow until the Giants made their first big mistake of the afternoon. Manning threw a pass to Manningham, but he fumbled, and the ball was recovered by Eagles defensive tackle, Mike Patterson. The Eagles took over on the Giants’ 25-yard line. Two plays later, Michael Vick found Jeremy Maclin in the endzone which started the Eagles’ massive comeback effort.
Miracle at the New Meadowlands – Fourth Quarter
The fourth quarter is when this Week 15 game became the “Miracle at the New Meadowlands.” Both teams started the fourth quarter with punts on their opening possessions. The Eagles had the ball with 12:48 left in the game. Vick connected with Desean Jackson who fumbled the ball trying to extend the play.
Andy Reid elected to not challenge the fumble, but the call on the field would’ve been reversed if it went under review. Manning capitalized again and manufactured a short drive that ended with a Kevin Boss touchdown reception. This made the score 31-10 with 8:17 left to play.
It was now time for the miracle comeback to begin in New Jersey. The Eagles took the ball and struck quickly. Michael Vick hit Brent Celek who ended up taking it 65 yards to the house. The Giants were still winning 31-17 at this point in the game so the Eagles needed a spark. Philadelphia elected to kick onside which turned out to be a surprise that the Giants were not ready to defend.
The Giants defenders were 15 yards back instead of 10 which helped Riley Cooper recover the kick for the Eagles. The interesting part of this play was that Philadelphia only had ten men on the field. It’s believed that this was intentional, but it’s still unclear to this day.
On the second play of the ensuing drive, Michael Vick exploded for a massive gain down to the Giants 6-yard line. Three plays later on third and goal, Vick scrambled into the endzone for a four-yard touchdown run. The Eagles had officially made it a one-touchdown game with 5:28 left in regulation.
The Giants would get great field position when the Eagles kicked off after Vick’s touchdown run. The Giants pounded the rock with Ahmad Bradshaw on three straight plays which forced the Giants to use all of their second-half timeouts. The drive looked promising until Giants tackle, David Diehl, was charged with a false start penalty. New York would run two more plays, but they were forced to punt on fourth down because they were just outside Tynes’ range for a field goal attempt.
The punt pinned the Eagles at their own 12-yard line with 3:01 left to play. Michael Vick led the offense 88 yards in 1:45 to tie the game at 31 a piece. The scoring play occurred on a short pass from Vick to Jeremy Maclin. Maclin would not be denied six points. He juked Giants cornerback, Terrell Thomas, to find a way to get to the endzone. The Eagles had now scored their third unanswered touchdown in the fourth quarter.
The air had been taken out of the New Meadowlands Stadium. Eli Manning and the Giants got the ball back with just over a minute to go from their own 36-yard line. The Giants took an aggressive approach which resulted in two incomplete passes and an Eagles sack on third down. The Giants called a timeout with 12 seconds left. The clock was reset to 14 seconds, but New York would still be forced to punt the football.
Giants punter Matt Dodge caught a high snap from long snapper Zak DeOssie. This threw off his timing and he kicked a line drive punt that was returnable for Desean Jackson. Jackson muffed the punt, but when he finally fielded the ball, he retreated five yards before accelerating between multiple Giants defenders. Eagles wide receiver, Jason Avant, made a key block which made the ultimate difference for Jackson who returned the punt for Philadelphia’s game-winning touchdown.
Jackson’s punt return as time expired was the last effort to complete their gigantic comeback. Philadelphia scored 28 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to shock the Giants in Week 15.
Here are the highlights from the Eagles’ historic win.
Miracle at the New Meadowlands – Looking Back 10 Years Later
It’s amazing that we are officially ten years removed from this game. I was fourteen years old when the “Miracle at the New Meadowlands” happened live, and I remember every second of the fourth quarter.
The “Miracle at the New Meadowlands” is one of the greatest comebacks in sports history and it showed me that anything is possible as a young football player. This game helped shaped my sports mentality. No contest is ever finished until time expires and there isn’t a better game to demonstrate this fact than the “Miracle at the New Meadowlands.”
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