Going Fourth

Updating: Double wow. Two fourth downs the Giants have gone for near midfield, twice the middle of the Eagles' defense has stuffed. Time is ticking. David Akers just made it 23-11 with a 20-yard field goal. This is starting to look a lot like Arizona, and an NFC title berth.

Hold your breath. And don't take all the good airline seats while I'm stuck trying to write this stuff. In fact, anybody out there work for US Airways? Can you set me up? Friday, I need to go out. I like an aisle.

Previously: Well, well. Your Eagletarian has to confess that he thought the Giants were much the better team in the first half, that the Eagles were lucky to have that 10-8 lead. But the Birds were way, way better in the third quarter. They just scored a touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter, after driving 63 yards in 10 plays. Donovan McNabb hit Brent Celek off play action for a 1-yard touchdown and a 20-11 lead that looks pretty big, as the swamplands shadows lengthen.

Previously: The Eagles are winning again, 13-11, after a 35-yard David Akers field goal at the end of a 58-yard, 12-play drive. The Birds' offense, which was really struggling through most of the first half, looks much more functional now. Donovan McNabb is in a good groove, when he gets time. It would have been nice if that bomb hadn't clanked off Kevin Curtis' normally reliable hands.

BTW, Eagles strong safety Quintin Mikell limped off to the locker room a little while back.

Previously: That was an amazing catch by Fred Robbins on the deflection by Chase Blacklburn, Robbins rambling 17 yards with the pick to set up yet another John Carney field goal (26 yards) and an 11-10 Giants lead.

Asante Samuel is in the locker room getting an IV, we understand.

Previously: The teams have exchanged two-minute-drill field goals, and the Birds lead 10-8 at the half, despite being outgained, 152 yards to 97. But that was a nice drive the Eagles just mounted to grab the lead back, 68 yards on 12 plays and a Giants penalty, 25-yard David Akers field goal on the final play of the half.

Neither quarterback is setting the postseason world ablaze. Donovan McNabb looks more composed than Eli Manning, but McNabb's 9 for 18 for 68 yards isn't awe-inspiring. Manning is 8 for 16 for 87 yards and one very bad intrerception, a much worse interception than the quasi-punt McNabb threw. Tom Coughlin really, really wants to win this game on the ground.

BTW, Brandon Jacobs (9 carries for 49 yards) isn't in the game all that much so far; unless they're saving him for later, I'd say his knee isn't that great.

Previously: Well, that missed 46-yard field goal by John Carney preserved the Eagles' 7-5 lead, even though the New Yorkers are outgaining the Birds, 94-11 as we type.

Yes, in case you're wondering, it really is cruel and unfair to speculate whether Donovan McNabb knew intentional grounding from the end zone was a safety, at least until we get a chance to ask him after the game.

Brian Westbrook has five carries for minus-3 yards. Yikes.

Previously: Eli Manning gave the Eagles what they needed to get ahead in a tought road playoff atmosphere, overthrowing Domenik Hixon, straight into the arms of Mr. Opportunity, Asante Samuel. Samuel was stopped a few yards short of adding to his NFL record with a fifth interception return for a touchdown. But Donovan McNabb eventually leaned in from  the one, and the Birds are up, 7-3.

Their running game has really been terrible, though, with the Giants swarming Brian Westbrook.

In case you doubted L.J. Smith was playing today, you just got visual confirmation when he false-started.

Previously: The Eagles and the Giants are on the field warming up for today's divisional round playoff matchup, and the only big surprise among the inactives is that Eagles fullback Dan Klecko is active. Klecko had been listed as doubtful with a shoulder injury.

 Almost as big a surprise is that so far, is it is sunny and downright mild for January, except when the occasional wind gust sweeps in. Tailgaters at Giants Stadium seem quite comfortable.

For the Eagles, wideout Greg Lewis, who sprained an ankle in warmups last week at Minnesota, is inactive today, as is third tight end Matt Schobel, with L.J. Smith back.

For the Giants, there are no notable names among the inactives, unless you are a fan of former Eagles corner Rashard Barksdale or former Eagles defensive tackle Jeremy Clark.