Deke: Saints beat Eagles! A look back
The Saints no longer have to hear how they have never won a game on the road! The Black and Gold put all that talk to bed for good with their 26-24 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. After trailing 7-6 at halftime, the Saints took control of the game in the third quarter. Let’s take a look back at some key things that the Saints did in order to advance to the divisional round of the playoffs. The Saints had to feel pretty good about their first half numbers as the Black and Gold had 191 yards of total offense with 97 yards passing and 94 rushing.
Coach Sean Payton has talked about his offense having balance throughout the season. In the first half, the Saints ran 36 plays with 16 rushing attempts and 18 passes. But even with those good numbers, the two interceptions thrown by Drew Brees kept the Saints in a 7-6 hole at the break.
In the third quarter, the Saints took over the game. New Orleans had 16 plays for 148 yards with two TDs scored. Drew Brees was razor-sharp going 7-for-8 for 98 yards and 1TD. On the flip side, the Saints kept the Eagles in check. Before a late-quarter scoring drive, the Saints had limited Philly to 6 plays, four yards, 0-for-2 on third down conversions and no points. However, the Eagles took advantage of the absence of CB Kennan Lewis.
Prior to Lewis leaving the game, Lewis held Eagles WR DeSean Jackson without a catch. Philly did close the third by going on a seven play, 65-yard drive that resulted in a LeSean McCoy one-yard run to allow the Eagles to cut the lead to 20-14. The Eagles would eventually come back and take a 24-23 lead over the Saints in the fourth quarter, but the Saints' ability to keep control of the line of scrimmage for much of the game was huge.
The Saints defense did more than their share. The Saints held the Eagles without a third-down conversion in the second half of the game. The Eagles were 3-for-8 on third downs in the first half and went 0-4 in the second half of the game finishing 3-of-12.
The Saints wanted to own the time of possession in the game and the Saints did just that. New Orleans possessed the football 58% of the time with a 34:53 to 25:07 advantage.
About the only numbers that were not in the favor of the Saints were the turnovers. The Eagles finished the game plus +2 with the two interceptions they had on Drew Brees.
The Saints had perhaps their most impressive offensive balance in quite some time. The Saints finished the game running 68 plays with 36 rushing attempts and 30 passes for a total of 434 yards in their 26-24 win over the Eagles.
And, of course, Kicker Shayne Graham was outstanding. Graham was a perfect 4-for-4 on field goal attempts. Graham made a 36 yard field goal and a 46 yarder the second quarter of the game. The Graham made two more field goals in the second half. Graham hit a 35 yard field goal and then the game winning 32 yarder in the fourth to lift the Saints to a 26-24 win over the Eagles.
Now it’s on to Seattle in the Divisional Round!