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PRO FOOTBALL : Garrity's Catch Gives Eagles a 28-23 Victory

November 02, 1987| From Times Wire Services

ST. LOUIS — What Gregg Garrity failed to accomplish for the Philadelphia Eagles a year ago he made up for Sunday before the smallest non-strike crowd in St. Louis since 1983.

"(Cedric) Mack wasn't going to drag me down this time," Garrity said of the St. Louis Cardinals cornerback he beat in the closing seconds to give Philadelphia a 28-23 victory. "It was right there, a perfect pass."

On the same field in 1986, Garrity was dragged down by Mack just two yards short of the goal line on the final play of a 13-10 victory by St. Louis.

This time, he slipped to the outside of Mack in the left corner of the end zone and caught a nine-yard touchdown pass from Randall Cunningham with 40 seconds left.

"The only difference last year was it was a different end zone," said Garrity, who fell short at the other end of the field last year.

"We had been able to get off the line real well against Mack all day. He wasn't chucking us real hard at the line. I had to redeem myself."

A paid crowd of 24,586 was the Cardinals' smallest for a non-strike game since drawing only 21,902 in a snowstorm against the Eagles in 1983. There were more than 6,000 no-shows, many of whom apparently were expressing displeasure over threats by Cardinal owner William Bidwell to move the club.

With Philadelphia trailing, 23-21, Cunningham drove the Eagles 70 yards in 8 plays, setting up Garrity's touchdown with a 22-yard pass to Junior Tautalatasi.

Preceding Garrity's touchdown, the Eagles squandered a 21-6 advantage they built by scoring two touchdowns in a span of 5:17 early in the third quarter.

Keith Byars scored on a two-yard run, and a 70-yard touchdown pass play, Cunningham to Kenny Jackson, gave the Eagles what appeared to be a comfortable lead.

But Neil Lomax sparked a St. Louis comeback with two touchdown passes, the first from 14 yards to J.T. Smith.

After St. Louis' Jim Gallery made it 21-16 with a 43-yard field goal, the Cardinals drove 76 yards for a go-ahead touchdown on an eight-yard pass from Lomax to rookie tight end Robert Awalt with 1:50 left.

Lomax completed 29 of 50 passes for 288 yards with 3 interceptions. He was sacked 7 times for 56 yards in losses.

Cunningham completed 17 of 32 passes for 291 yards and 3 touchdowns.

The Eagles won their second straight since the strike ended to improve to 3-4. The Cardinals are 2-5.

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