TAMPA, Florida (Ticker) -- The preliminary is over.
In a playoff preview that had a preseason feel, rookie A.J. Feeley threw two touchdown passes 26 seconds apart in the fourth quarter as the Philadelphia Eagles rallied for a 17-13 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
It was the first of consecutive meetings between the teams who will play in the wild card round of the playoffs for the second straight season next Saturday at Philadelphia.
"We are going to have to put that behind us really quick. The game that matters is the one Saturday," Bucs safety John Lynch said."
"It turned out to be a heck of a game," Eagles coach Andy Reid said. "It worked out well for our young guys who don't have an opportunity to play. We have the Saturday game, that's a positive for both teams. It will be a tremendous atmosphere up there in Philadelphia."
The consensus heading into the playoff meeting is that Tony Dungy, the Bucs' coach, needs at least one win in the postseason to save his job.
Philadelphia (11-5) eliminated the Bucs (9-7) from the postseason last season with an impressive 21-3 victory.
On Sunday, both teams rested many of their key players. Pro Bowl wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson and running back Warrick Dunn did not play for Tampa Bay while defensive end Hugh Douglas and fellow Pro Bowler, cornerback Troy Vincent were among the players that sat out for the Eagles.
A fifth-round pick out of Oregon who had not played this season, Feeley started the fourth quarter and helped the Eagles overcome a 13-3 deficit.
Feeley found Dameane Douglas with a two-yard touchdown pass with 2:12 remaining, pulling the Eagles within 13-10.
After an incompletion on first down, Feeley drilled a pass to Douglas, who beat cornerback Donnie Abraham on a quick slant for a 24-yard TD, to give Philadelphia a 17-13 lead with 1:46 remaining. Douglas had five catches for 77 yards.
Feeley finished 10-of-14 for 143 yards with those two TDs and an interception. Koy Detmer went 5-of-14 for 51 yards and an interception while McNabb did not attempt a pass.
"It was nice to get an opportunity to show what you've got," Feeley said. "I wanted to come out and make a name for myself tonight. A lot of people were saying this week that this was like a preseason game, but Koy (Detmer) and I had a chance to go out there and play. Going into the game I was comfortable what was going on. It feels nice but it hasn't hit me yet."
Rookie Correll Buckhalter rushed for 89 yards for the Eagles, who won the NFC East title last week and matched their win total from last season with Sunday's victory.
Aaron Stecker scored on a four-yard run in the second quarter for Tampa Bay, which won five of its last seven games.
"This was a disappointing end to our regular season," Dungy said. "It's always disappointing to lose at home. We played 50 minutes of good football and we let the last nine to 10 minutes slip away. You have to give them credit for fighting back. They are a very tough football team."
In Brad Johnson's only series, he led the Bucs on a nine-play. 62-yard drive. He highlighted the drive with a 36-yard pass to rookie Milton Wynn, moving the ball to the Philadelphia 36. It was the first catch of Wynn's career in his first game.
But the drive stalled deep in Philadelphia territory and Doug Brien kicked a 32-yard field goal. Brien kicked in place of Martin Gramatica, who missed his second straight game with a strained hamstring.
"We came out very sharp and set the tempo the way we wanted to approach it next week. I think we did that tonight," Brad Johnson said. "We showed them some new looks tonight to see how they would match up to it. Overall, we were able to accomplish what we wanted to do tonight."
Shaun King, the starter for the Bucs in last season's playoff game against Philadelphia, took over for Brad Johnson after the first series. He went 19-of-28 for 148 yards and an interception.
On the Eagles' first possession, coach Andy Reid showed how cautiously he took the game. On a 3rd-and-8 play, Reid inserted Detmer, not wanting to expose McNabb on a clear passing down. McNabb did not see the field again.
Detmer's first full possession ended in a mistake, when he was intercepted by Lynch at the Philadelphia 27 later in the first quarter.
Five plays after the turnover, Stecker scored on his four-yard run, giving Tampa Bay a 10-0 lead just five seconds into the second quarter.
Pro Bowler David Akers connected on a 47-yard field goal with 5:42 left before halftime, getting Philadelphia on the board. He also had misses of 34 and 50 yards on the night.
Brien restored a double-digit lead for the Bucs, hitting a 23-yard field goal with 19 seconds left in the first half.