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Eagle Win Locks Up East

From Associated Press

The Philadelphia Eagles wrapped up a fourth consecutive NFC East title the same way they won the first three, with a defense that made Eli Manning look like a rookie.

Brian Westbrook scored two touchdowns and the Eagles’ defense limited Manning to 14 yards passing in the second half and a woeful 16.9 quarterback rating in a 27-6 victory over the New York Giants on Sunday in East Rutherford, N.J.

“We made a lot of big plays today,” Eagle safety Quintin Mikell said. “That’s what we do. We do whatever we have to do to win.”

Mikell might have made the biggest play, intercepting Manning in the end zone in the second quarter on a first-and-goal from the three-yard line with Philadelphia (10-1) clinging to a 7-6 lead. Manning and the Giants (5-6) never recovered in losing their fourth straight and fifth in six games.

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The Eagles blew the game open in the second half, scoring 20 points and limiting the Giants to 47 yards in reaching the playoffs for the fifth consecutive year. The Eagles have reached the conference final each of the last three years, but they lost each time.

David Akers kicked field goals of 47 and 42 yards early in the second half to give Philadelphia a 13-7 lead, then Westbrook iced the game with a one-yard touchdown run and a 34-yard touchdown reception on a screen pass.

Eagle quarterback Donovan McNabb, who was 18 for 27 for 244 yards, also scored on a one-yard run.

Manning finished six for 21 for 148 yards and two interceptions. He was sacked five times and seemed confused by the Eagles’ frequent blitzes.

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Carolina 21, Tampa Bay 14 -- The Buccaneers (4-7) had a chance to break a 14-14 tie with 1:48 to play in Charlotte, N.C., when Martin Gramatica lined up for a 37-yard field goal. Panther quarterback Jake Delhomme immediately began plotting his comeback strategy.

“We assumed they are going to make this,” Delhomme said. But when the ball sailed wide left, Delhomme seized on the opportunity.

He marched Carolina (4-7) straight down the field and threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Keary Colbert with 20 seconds to play for the Panthers’ third straight victory.

Gramatica missed all three of his field-goal attempts.

Colbert had 72 yards on three catches, two for touchdowns. Carolina’s Julius Peppers, who ran an interception back 46 yards for a score, blocked a field goal and had a sack.


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