NFL News of December 28, 2002

Matt Bryan New York Giants over Philadelphia Eagles in OT 2002

The Eagles lost control of home field through the NFL playoffs in a game that proved how important an advantage the home field can be.

The New York Giants, fighting for a playoff berth in front of 78,782 towel-waving fans, overcame a 7-0 deficit, four turnovers, and a bunch of penalties to beat the Eagles, 10-7, on Saturday in overtime at Giants Stadium.

Matt Bryant‘s 39-yard field goal with 5 minutes, minutes, 10 seconds gone in overtime cinched a wild-card berth for the Giants (10-6).

“That felt just like a playoff game,” Eagles linebacker Ike Reese said. “Fortunately for us, it wasn’t.”

The Eagles will move on to the postseason in excellent shape. They completed the regular season at 12-4, tying the 1980 NFC championship team for the franchise’s best record in a 16-game season. They won the NFC East title and will host a playoff game on Jan. 11 or 12.

“We’re happy,” cornerback Troy Vincent said. “We earned a first-round bye. We’ll get a chance to rest and then start preparing for the playoffs. We’ll take it.”

If the Green Bay Packers beat the New York Jets on Sunday on the very same field, the Pack will finish 13-3 and lock up the right to host the NFC title game. The Eagles can regain that edge if the Jets, who need a victory to reach the playoffs, manage to win.

No team has ever beaten the Packers at Lambeau Field in the playoffs.

— Phil Sheridan, The Philadelphia Inquirer “Eagles let homefield slip away; now they root for the Jets”

The Jets defeated the Packers in week 16, dropping Green Bay to the NFC’s 3rd seed and giving the Eagles the first seed. January 4, 2003, the 6th seed Atlanta Falcons became the first team to beat the Packers at Lambeau in the playoffs. The Eagles beat the Falcons the following week, advancing to the NFC championship and losing to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Giants lost to the 49ers in the wildcard round, 39-38.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s