Tue, Jan 06, 2009 - Page 19 News List

Eagles down Vikings, book clash with Giants

AFP , MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA

Asante Samuel returned an interception 44 yards for a touchdown and Brian Westbrook added a scintillating 71-yard score on Sunday as Philadelphia beat Minnesota 26-14 in the National Football League playoffs.

It was Samuel? fourth career playoff interception return for a touchdown ?the most in NFL history.

And it helped the Eagles reach a second-round National Conference contest with the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants next Sunday.

David Akers added four field goals for the Eagles, who won their last game of the regular season but still needed two other teams to lose last Sunday just to book their playoff berth.

The Eagles won four of their last five games to earn a wild card spot, one of their victories last month coming against the Giants.

Adrian Peterson had 20 carries for 83 yards and two touchdowns in his first postseason appearance for the Vikings.

The Eagles were still defending the two-point lead they held at halftime when they took possession on their 29-yard line in the middle of the fourth quarter.

Westbrook then turned a simple screen pass into a 71-yard 負ouchdown run, with help from textbook blocking by his teammates.

?e weren? able to establish the run, but that screen came at the right time,?Westbrook said.

?t was the first screen we ran all game and it exploded into the biggest play of the game,?Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb added.

McNabb finished 23-of-34 passing for 300 yards with one touchdown and an interception.

Westbrook totaled 121 total yards.

Minnesota quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, playing in his first postseason game, made a costly mistake in the second quarter, when his sideline pass was reeled in by Samuel, who ran it 44 yards down the sideline for a touchdown and a 16-7 Eagles lead.

?hat? the biggest time, that? what it? all about, the postseason and trying to get that big win,?Samuel said. ? just try to step up, step my game up to another level every time. I?e got the opportunity in the postseason. I helped my team out today and we got the victory.?br />

Jackson finished 15-of-35 passing for 164 yards and one interception.

The Eagles struck first with a 43-yard first-quarter field goal from Akers.

As the first quarter ended, Akers connected on the longest field goal in Eagles playoff history with a 51-yarder for a 6-0 lead.

Minnesota seized a 7-6 lead in the second quarter on Peterson? explosive 40-yard touchdown run.

But Akers followed up with his third field goal before Samuels?interception and TD on the Vikings?next drive.

Peterson scored again just before halftime to narrow Philadelphia? lead at the break to 16-14 ?where it stayed until the fourth quarter.

?hat? how you win,?Eagles cornerback Sheldon Brown said. ?ou don? give them big plays and you get some yourself. It? pretty simple.

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