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Defending champs fall in final seconds

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Defending champs fall in final seconds

From Comcast SportsNetPHILADELPHIA (AP) -- When Lawrence Tynes got a do-over, LeSean McCoy couldn't watch."I was so nervous, praying please let him miss it," McCoy said.The sellout crowd that prematurely celebrated a victory seconds earlier likely felt the same when Tynes got a second chance because Eagles coach Andy Reid had called a timeout in an attempt to ice the Giants' kicker.But Tynes was short on a 54-yard field goal attempt with 15 seconds left and the Philadelphia Eagles held on for a 19-17 victory over the New York Giants on Sunday night.With McCoy leading the way on the ground, Michael Vick guided Philadelphia (3-1) to its third comeback win.The Eagles became the first team in NFL history to have each of their first three wins by two points or less according to information provided to the team by the Elias Sports Bureau."It's a much easier way to play this game," Vick said. "You can come out and score 28 points and the defense can play well and you can be up and it can be easy."That hasn't been the case so far.Alex Henery kicked a 26-yard field goal with 1:49 left and the Eagles overcame two pass interference penalties on New York's final drive.The defending Super Bowl champion Giants (2-2) have struggled against Philadelphia, losing eight of the last nine meetings."We knew it was going to be a game that was going to come down to the fourth quarter," Eli Manning said. "We knew we were going to have to earn every yard. They're a good defense, they're a good team. We had opportunities, we were close."McCoy had 121 of his 123 yards rushing in the second half. The All-Pro had six carries for 2 yards at halftime."I think we just stuck with it," McCoy said. "I just had that feeling, that feeling I want the ball."Vick threw TD passes in the final two minutes in consecutive 1-point wins over Cleveland and Baltimore the first two weeks before a 26-7 loss at Arizona.After Manning tossed a go-ahead 6-yard TD pass Bear Pascoe, Vick drove the Eagles to the Giants 2 before Osi Umenyiora sacked him for a 6-yard loss on third down. Henery then hit his fourth field goal to put Philadelphia ahead to stay.Henery also connected from 48, 35 and 20 yards.A pass interference penalty on Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie kept the Giants' last drive alive and put the ball at the Eagles 35 after Manning threw an incomplete pass on fourth-and-1. Another pass interference call on Nnamdi Asomugha on third-and-10 moved it to the Eagles 27.Then Ramses Barden got called for offensive pass interference to move it back to the 36."I thought it was on him," Barden said of Asomugha. "But I know he's a competitor, and he came to play tonight. We were both fighting for position and it's just one of those things."After an incomplete pass, the Giants sent out Tynes to try for the winning kick on third-and-18 because they didn't have any timeouts remaining."I don't believe in icing the kicker," Vick said. "You let him kick it and if it's in, it's in. You can't play games. I don't know where that started. We got to end that tradition."Vick was 19 of 30 for 241 yards and the turnover-prone Eagles protected the ball. The Eagles led the NFL with 12 turnovers through three games, but didn't commit any.Manning completed 24 of 42 passes for 309 yards, two TDs and one crucial interception.He threw a pick to Rodgers-Cromartie in the end zone after a 30-yard pass to Victor Cruz on fourth-and-1 got the Giants to Philadelphia's 10 on the final play of the third quarter.Manning redeemed himself on New York's next possession. He completed passes of 31 yards to Barden and 41 yards to Domenik Hixon. He then found Pascoe wide open over the middle for a 17-16 lead with 6:45 left.McCoy finally broke loose by running for 56 yards on consecutive carries in the third. He was stopped at the 1 on a 22-yard gain, and then couldn't get in on three straight carries. The Eagles settled for a 20-yard field goal by Henery that made it 10-3."The O-line found themselves as the game wore on," Reid said. "They were able to block well enough to where McCoy had big yards."The Giants answered after David Wilson ran the kickoff back 45 yards to the 43.Mixing run and pass effectively, the Giants moved to the 14. On third-and-3, Manning threw a TD pass to Cruz, who celebrated with his trademark salsa dance in the stadium where it all started. Cruz burst on the scene with a breakout performance in a 29-16 win at Philadelphia last September.Using a no-huddle offense, the Eagles drove 70 yards on 11 plays late in the first half for their only TD. They converted three third downs on the series, including Vick's 19-yard TD pass to DeSean Jackson on third-and-9.Before the game, the Eagles retired the No. 20 worn by Brian Dawkins for 13 seasons from 1996-2008. The hard-hitting safety went to eight Pro Bowls and was a four-time All-Pro in 16 years with Philadelphia and Denver.Dawkins, one of the most revered athletes to play in this sports-crazed city, sent the sellout crowd at the Linc into a frenzy when he ran out of the tunnel during pregame introductions. Wearing his green No. 20 Eagles jersey, Dawkins did his unique, crawling, gyrating entrance. He then joined the captains at midfield for the coin toss. Dawkins changed back into his navy blue pinstriped suit and led the crowd in signing "Fly! Eagles! Fly!" at halftime.NOTES:The officials got a standing ovation when they walked onto the field an hour before kickoff. ... McCoy has four 100-yard games vs. the Giants. ... Manning wasn't sacked.

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Best moments from Wizards' loss to Hornets, including Oubre and Beal's big dunks

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USA Today Sports

Best moments from Wizards' loss to Hornets, including Oubre and Beal's big dunks

Here are the best plays or moments from the Washington Wizards' 129-124 loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday night...

1. The Wizards couldn't do much to stop Dwight Howard in this one, but he did have one of his shots blocked. It was by the rim, though.

Watch Howard rise for an alley-oop, only to be rejected by the rim. 

That was about the only thing Howard did wrong. He finished with 26 points and 13 rebounds.

[RELATED: MORRIS STANDS UP FOR MEEK MILL]

2. Bradley Beal didn't have a great shooting night, as he finished 7-for-22 despite dropping 22 points. He had a few nice dunks in the first half including this one:

3. John Wall had a strong game with 31 points and 11 assists on 13-of-26 shooting. This was his best assist, a thread-the-needle dish to Markieff Morris.

4. Here's another dunk from Beal, this one with two hands for good measure:

5. This was the best dunk of the night. Kelly Oubre, Jr. caught the Hornets sleeping with a nice putback slam. 

The Wizards closed their road trip a disappointing 1-2, but at least the game was entertaining.

[RELATED: BEAL'S BIG MILESTONE BY THE NUMBERS]

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Why now? Barry Trotz explains his decision to reunite Ovechkin and Backstrom

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USA TODAY Sports

Why now? Barry Trotz explains his decision to reunite Ovechkin and Backstrom

Barry Trotz did seemingly everything he could to avoid it, but secretly he was thinking just as much about reuniting Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom as you were. He surprised everyone on Wednesday by putting the two back together on the top line and the move had instant results as the Capitals battled to a 5-2 win over the Ottawa Senators.

A 4-1 loss to the Calgary Flames on Monday highlighted the team’s top-six struggles at even strength. Ovechkin, Backstrom, T.J. Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov all were struggling to produce at the level the Caps need in order to be successful.

You can talk about wanting to avoid making the team too top-heavy all we want, but in the end, being top-heavy is better than not producing at all.

RELATED: LISTEN TO THE LATEST EPISODE OF THE CAPS EXTRA PODCAST!

So with the team’s top players still struggling, the talk after the Calgary game all focused on whether Trotz would consider putting Ovechkin and Backstrom back together, a combination that has been incredibly successful for the Caps in the past.

Trotz, however, seemed hesitant to make the move.

The lines remained unchanged at practice. When asked why not reunite Ovechkin and Backstrom, he told reporters after Tuesday’s practice that he didn’t feel like it. He told the Sports Junkies on Wednesday that Ovechkin can be difficult to play with and that it was hard to find matches for him.

And yet, when the players took to the ice for warmups on Wednesday prior to the game against Ottawa, Ovechkin and Backstrom were together again.

“I've been thinking about it for a while,” Trotz said.

It is obvious why Trotz would put Ovechkin and Backstrom back together. Their chemistry was evident in Wednesday’s game. But Trotz has avoided making that move up to now through the first quarter of the season.

“[Ovechkin] demands such presence,” Trotz said. “He's the greatest goal-scorer in his generation, I've said that many times, and you need a very intelligent player and you have to get used to playing with him because when he gets into those areas … he can score in those tight windows which any other players can't. It's as much getting used to playing with someone else and all that.”

MORE CAPITALS: 4 REASONS WHY THE CAPS BEAT THE SENATORS

“By playing [Evgeny Kuznetsov] for such a long time with [Ovechkin] too,” Trotz added, “It opens up some windows so that we have those options.”

Basically, Trotz’s reasoning is that players need to adjust and learn how to play with Ovechkin. He always knew he could go back to Ovechkin-Backstrom, but it is much harder to start with Ovechkin-Backstrom and split them up out of necessity.

As Trotz would later put it on Wednesday, “If you love something you set it free, if it comes back it was meant to be.”

Clearly, it was meant to be as there’s just no denying that when Ovechkin and Backstrom are together, their play ascends to another level.