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Backup helps Eagles get back up

Through tough times in Cleveland and Detroit, Jeff Garcia wondered if he'd ever be a significant contributor in the NFL again.

A three-time Pro Bowl quarterback when he was guiding San Francisco to playoff berths, Garcia found out Monday night just how important he is to the Eagles.

Garcia played like vintage Donovan McNabb in leading the Eagles past Carolina. And if the 36-year-old guides them into the playoffs - at 6-6 they are tied for the NFC wild-card spots - Garcia just might make Philadelphia forget about McNabb, at least for a bit.

"It's been a while since I felt this well about a game, the way we played," Garcia said after throwing for 312 yards and three touchdowns. "We never gave up, scratched and clawed for every inch out there."

Brian Dawkins' 38-yard interception return set up David Akers' decisive 25-yard field goal with 3:13 to go. After Garcia struggled early, he was nearly unstoppable, using his arm and his legs to offset Carolina's dangerous pass rush.

When Lito Sheppard picked off a fade pass to Keyshawn Johnson with 25 seconds left, the Eagles were back in the playoff chase, tied with Carolina, Atlanta and the New York Giants.

Jake Delhomme almost matched Garcia until the two late picks. He threw for 269 yards and three scores. But the late interceptions ruined his night.

"We're 6-6. We're average right now," Delhomme said.

NOTABLE: The Panthers lost fullback Brad Hoover (strained neck) and cornerback Ken Lucas (thigh). Eagles safety Michael Lewis left with a broken nose in the second quarter and special teams specialist Jason Short went down with a knee injury.

Eagles 0 7 7 13 27

Panthers 7 7 7 3 24