PHILADELPHIA — Getting some of the breaks that were going against them a month ago, the Philadelphia Eagles suddenly are back in the playoff picture.
Two big plays in the final quarter went their way Sunday and the Eagles broke a tie to beat the Cincinnati Bengals, 17-10, for their third consecutive victory following a four-game losing streak.
"I don't think this was one of the pretty wins," Philadelphia Coach Rich Kotite said. "It was a tough win and a lesser team would have lost this game.
"There isn't a team playing harder or practicing harder in the league. Their is no cookbook answer on why you lose four and then win three. We did get some (injured) guys back."
One of the guys the Eagles (6-5) got back was quarterback Jim McMahon. Philadelphia is 6-1 with McMahon, 0-4 when he has been out with injuries.
McMahon, bailed together with a brace on his surgically repaired right knee and trainer Otho Davis' homemade salve on his tendinitis-wracked passing elbow, completed 18 of 33 passes for 195 yards and a touchdown.
With the score tied, 7-7, McMahon's pass turned into a 39-yard penalty to the Cincinnati one-yard-line when Eric Thomas interfered with Philadelphia's Fred Barnett in the end zone.
Two plays later, James Joseph scored from the one to give the Eagles a 14-7 lead.
"He came off the ball and was jogging," Thomas said. "Then, he just took off. I'm pretty sure I was looking at the ball before I touched him."
Barnett disagreed. "(Thomas) interfered," Barnett said. "The ball was short and I turned and he drove into my chest."
Boomer Esiason's first pass after the kickoff was tipped by Philadelphia's Mike Golic into the hands of Reggie White at the Cincinnati 25. Roger Ruzek kicked a 37-yard field goal to make it 17-7 with 10:26 left.
"We played as hard as we could," said Coach Sam Wyche of the Bengals (1-10). "We had a lot of injuries. We were down to no offensive linemen. You have to compliment the Eagles. Their defense deserved it."
White and Clyde Simmons combined for four of the Eagles' six sacks. The Eagles also intercepted three passes and recovered a fumble.
Cincinnati took a 7-0 lead in the second quarter on Esiason's 16-yard touchdown pass to James Brooks.
Philadelphia tied it on a 10-yard pass from McMahon to Calvin Williams.