Jeff Garcia played only one series before putting on a knit cap and going to the sideline for good. Thanks to the Detroit Lions, Garcia and the rest of Philadelphia's starters rested up for the playoffs while the backups finished off a remarkable late-season run with a 24-to-17 victory over Atlanta today.
The Eagles (10-6) clinched the N-F-C East title less than five minutes into the game when Dallas lost 39-to-31 to the lowly Lions. So, coach Andy Reid pulled his starters to keep them healthy for next Sunday's first-round matchup against the New York Giants (8-8).
A-J Feeley threw for a career-best 321 yards and three touchdown passes to help the Eagles win their fifth straight game without Donovan McNabb. The Falcons (7-9) played almost the entire second half without Michael Vick, who sprained his right ankle on the first play of the third quarter.
One play after Matt Schaub's nine-yard T-D to Alge Crumpler tied it at 17 for Atlanta, Feeley connected with Hank Baskett on an 89-yard T-D pass that gave the Eagles a 24-to-17 lead early in the fourth quarter. Feeley hit a wide-open Baskett in stride and the rookie wideout streaked untouched down the right sideline.
The Falcons had a first down at the Eagles seven with two minutes left, but couldn't score. Schaub tripped and was sacked on third down and his next pass fell incomplete. Atlanta led 7-to-3 after Vick tossed a seven-yard T-D pass to Warrick Dunn.
Eliminated from playoff contention a night earlier when the Giants beat Washington, the Falcons looked like a team with its bags packed and ready for vacation.