Eagles beat Giants for NFC East title; Dolphins get playoff berth

Monday, December 31st 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ The Eagles won their first NFC East title in 13 years. The Giants won't make the playoffs, just one year after reaching the Super Bowl.

Donovan McNabb threw three touchdown passes, and David Akers kicked a 35-yard field goal with 7 seconds left to lift Philadelphia past New York 24-21 Sunday.

The Giants, though, nearly won a third straight game in the final minute.

After Akers' kick, New York had time for one play from its 20, and Kerry Collins threw a 14-yard pass to Tiki Barber, who lateraled the ball to wideout Ron Dixon. With blockers leading him down the left sideline, Dixon made it to the Eagles' 6, before Damon Moore made the game-saving tackle.

``I really thought I was going to get in,'' Dixon said.

The Eagles (10-5) scored 10 points in the last 2 minutes, including McNabb's 7-yard TD pass to Chad Lewis to tie the score.

Giants defensive end Michael Strahan had 3 1/2 sacks in the first half, breaking Lawrence Taylor's team record for sacks in a season. Strahan has 21 1/2 sacks _ a half-sack from Mark Gastineau's NFL mark.

Ron Dayne's 16-yard TD run with 2:43 left gave the Giants (7-8) a 19-14 lead, and Barber ran in for the 2-point conversion to make it 21-14.

McNabb was 21-of-39 for 270 yards.

Philadelphia will play Tampa Bay at home in the first round of the playoffs for the second straight year. Those teams also play next week to close the regular season.

Dolphins 21, Falcons 14

MIAMI (AP) _ Miami stopped Bob Christian on fourth down from the 1-foot line with 47 seconds left to clinch a playoff berth and eliminate Atlanta (7-8).

The Falcons' loss gave Tampa Bay the final NFC wild-card spot.

The Dolphins (10-5) forced four turnovers, including Brock Marion's 26-yard interception return for a touchdown. They also made four sacks, knocked quarterback Chris Chandler out of the game in the second quarter and then hung on against Michael Vick, who threw for a score but also committed three turnovers.

Miami's Jay Fiedler threw two touchdown passes in the final 1:02 of the first half.