The crucial onside kick recovered by the Eagles in Sunday’s comeback victory over the Giants came after Philadelphia intentionally used 10 players in a successful bid to confuse the Giants’ kick return unit, the New York Daily News reported Tuesday.
The Eagles recovered the onside kick with 7:28 left in the game, and trailing 31-17. They went on to score two more touchdowns and then DeSean Jackson’s game-winning punt return with no time on the clock gave them a 38-31 victory.
But the amazing comeback was jumpstarted by the onside kick, which Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said he had warned his team about before the kickoff.
However, Giants linebacker Chase Blackburn said Monday that the Eagles caught New York off guard by running a man off the field just before the play, leaving them with just 10 players, instead of 11.
"They did something good," Blackburn said. "They ran a guy off right in front of everybody and they’re all looking at each other saying, ‘We’ve (only) got 10.’ So we’re doing the same thing, trying to recount. And then you forget about that ‘alert’ a little bit. That’s kind of what happened."
Blackburn credited the Eagles with a clever bit of "trickeration." The kick by David Akers was recovered easily by wide receiver Riley Cooper, as none of the Giants ran to the football.
Coughlin said Philadelphia’s "well-disguised" ploy should not have been a factor.
The Eagles’ 28-point comeback gave them sole possession of first place in the NFC East, and they now need just one more win to lock up the division.