Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'Miracle' Another N.Y. Disaster

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'Miracle' Another N.Y. Disaster

Article excerpt

Byline: VITO STELLINO

Call it the Miracle in the Meadowlands II.

Thirty-two years ago, Herman Edwards picked up a fumble and ran for the game-winning touchdown after journeyman quarterback Joe Pisarcik bumped into Larry Csonka while trying to kill the clock.

The Eagles pulled off a similar improbable victory Sunday when DeSean Jackson fumbled a punt on the final play of regulation, picked it up and went 65 yards to give the Eagles an incredible 38-31 victory in a game they had trailed 31-10 in the fourth quarter.

"Never been around anything like this in my life," said Giants coach Tom Coughlin.

In retrospect, the first miracle was a plus for the Giants. They had been losing for two decades, and that play helped the Mara family decided it needed to overhaul the organization. They hired George Young to be the general manager in 1979 and he built a team that won two Super Bowls with the help of coach Bill Parcells.

This time, the Giants are in a different situation. Despite the loss, they can clinch a playoff spot Sunday with a victory over the Green Bay Packers.

Both times, there was much second-guessing about the play call. Pisarcik should have taken a knee in 1978, but offensive coordinator Bob Gibson called for a handoff. He was fired the next day and never worked in pro football again.

"Quarterback falls down and we would have been out of there," Pisarcik said two years ago, on the 30th anniversary of the play.

Contacted by the New York Times on Monday, Pisarcik wasn't eager to talk about the play.

"I've talked about that stupid thing so much. It was what it was. I'm letting it fall by the wayside," he said.

Last Sunday, the Giants punter Matt Dodge should have kicked it out of bounds, which Coughlin told him to do.

Coughlin gave Dodge an earful on the game after the game, but didn't cut him.

Now the Giants have to put that devastating loss behind them. If they collapse and miss the playoffs, Coughlin is likely to get a lot of heat and there will be speculation his job is in trouble.

Quarterback Eli Manning called a players-only meeting Monday and told them to keep their head up.

"We're in a good position, we're in a good spot, we're kind of in charge of our destiny," he told them.

Coughlin also was criticized for not having the "hands team" on the field when the Eagles went for and recovered an onside kick with 7 1/2 minutes left in the game. The Eagles were trailing 31-17.

Coughlin, though, wasn't looking back.

"Right now what is important for this football team is to regroup," he said.

MCCARTHY TOO CONSERVATIVE

Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy played it cautious when the Packers, leading New England 24-21 early in the fourth quarter, had a fourth-and-goal.

He ordered a field goal and the Packers lost by four, 31-27. …

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