Philadelphia Eagles vs. New Orleans Saints

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Drew Brees passed for 301 yards and two touchdowns to lead the New Orleans Saints past the Philadelphia Eagles.

3:14 | January 13, 2019 | Football, New Orleans Saints, NFL, Philadelphia Eagles

Game Information
Location: Mercedes-Benz Superdome New Orleans, Louisiana
Attendance: 73,027

NEW ORLEANS (AP) When the New Orleans Saints finally found their rhythm, they marched one step closer to the Super Bowl.

Using a dominant ball-control offense and a few gambles that paid off, the Saints got two touchdown passes from Drew Brees and two interceptions from Marcus Lattimore in a 20-14 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.

Brees took the Saints on scoring drives of 92, 79 and 67 yards after falling behind 14-0. Lattimore clinched it when Nick Foles' pass from the Saints 27 deflected off usually sure-handed receiver Alshon Jeffery with about two minutes remaining. A couple dozen Saints players surged off the sideline toward the end zone in celebration, while Jeffery fell face-first to the turf in agony.

"We were real calm and poised and we knew we were going to get things done," Brees said.

New Orleans (14-3) will host the NFC title game next week against the Rams (13-4). Los Angeles, which fell 45-35 at the Superdome in November, will try again next week, with the winner going to the Super Bowl. The Saints' win finished off a sweep of the divisional round by teams coming off byes.

Wil Lutz added two field goals for the Saints, who last got this far in 2009, when they won the Super Bowl.

Philadelphia (10-8) will not repeat as NFL champion; no team has done so since the 2004 Patriots.

"We were going down to win, but I just felt like we beat ourselves, honestly," Jeffery said. "Hats off to those guys."

Eagles coach Doug Pederson thought his team was on its way on that final drive to pulling off another stunning comeback win

"It just felt like the momentum at that point was in our favor," he said. "It's been that way all season, and we felt like that sort of magic was going to continue."

This was really two games in one. Philly scored on its first two drives as the Saints could do virtually nothing right.

"Listen, they got off to a fast start, they're a great team," Brees said. "Nick Foles has done a phenomenal job for them. We knew it was going to be different than last time."

After that opening period, it was all New Orleans, yet the resilient Eagles kept it close enough that when Lutz missed a 52-yard field goal with 2:58 remaining, they were only one-score behind.

Foles, the hero of last year's Super Bowl run, got them in position for yet another late winning score - just like last week at Chicago and last February against New England for the championship.

Then, Jeffery couldn't handle a second-down pass, and it was over.

"That's a great championship team," Saints coach Sean Payton said of the Eagles. "We remained confident."

Brees had 2-yard touchdown passes to rookie Keith Kirkwood and All-Pro wideout Michael Thomas, who had 12 receptions for a franchise playoff-record 171 yards.

Thomas' touchdown capped an 18-play, 92-yard drive in which the Saints actually covered more than 100 yards because of penalties. It lasted 11 1/2 minutes.

"What you saw from him today is what I see every day in practice," Brees said of Thomas. "He's a big-time player who wants to be the guy to make plays."

Philadelphia had the ball for more than nine minutes in the first quarter, after which the Eagles had the ball about 13 minutes and never scored.

New Orleans, which routed Philadelphia 48-7 in November, gambled on its first play - and lost. Brees was a bit short on a deep pass to Ted Ginn Jr., and it was picked off by Cre'Von LeBlanc, one of several Eagles backups being used in the secondary due to injuries during the regular season.

"I just think we had to find our rhythm," Brees said. "I tried to take a shot on the first play. Unfortunately, that didn't work."

After the first quarter, though, a lot worked for New Orleans.

Foles completed all five throws on a 76-yard drive capped by Jordan Matthews' 37-yard TD catch . The Eagles, who quickly fell behind 17-0 in that previous Superdome loss, suddenly led 7-0.

Not long after, a 75-yard drive highlighted by a 30-yard pass to Jeffery ended with Foles' short leap over the goal line for a 14-0 edge.

Indeed, the visitors were in control until Lattimore picked off Foles' deep throw to Zach Ertz. The Saints showed plenty of moxie on their 79-yard march to a touchdown, faking a punt at their 30, with Taysom Hill running 4 yards for a first down. They also went on fourth-and-goal from the 2, and Philadelphia's rapidly depleting defense surrendered Kirkwood's 2-yard touchdown.

"When you just get that in guys' minds that we're going to be aggressive, that we're going to play to win, it allows guys to relax and to cut loose," Brees said.

With Brees finding the range and his receivers finding loads of room to roam, New Orleans crept to 14-10 at halftime on Lutz's 45-yard field goal.

UGLY START

Maybe the Saints were rusty after their wild-card bye, but they got two first downs, including one by penalty, gained 17 yards, and Brees threw an interception and had a fumble that was recovered by teammate Ryan Ramczyk in the opening period. Meanwhile, Philly gained 153 yards and scored two TDs, and Foles went 8 of 9 for 113.

But Foles was intercepted by Lattimore early in the second quarter, and the Saints finally got going.

NUMBERS

Brees, who turns 40 Tuesday, finished 28 for 38 despite the awful start, throwing for 301 yards. Aside from Thomas, who was targeted 16 times - he led the NFL with 125 catches - no one caught more than four passes for New Orleans. Alvin Kamara had four for 35 yards and also rushed for 71 yards. Mark Ingram added 53 yards on the ground as the Saints outrushed the Eagles 137-49. New Orleans is 6-0 at home in the playoffs with Payton and Brees.

Foles was 18 for 31 for 201 yards. Jeffery had five catches for a team-leading 63 yards before the game-sealing drop.

INJURIES

In a span of three plays, two starters were hurt and needed to be carted off.

First, Saints defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins went down midway in the first quarter, unable to put any weight on his left foot. Two plays later, Eagles right guard Brandon Brooks hurt his right leg and departed.

Several Saints players said they would be playing for Rankins the rest of the way because his season was done.

Philly also lost DB Rasul Douglas in the second quarter to an ankle injury, but he was back in the second half. DLs Fletcher Cox, an All-Pro, and Michael Bennett also were sidelined at times before returning. In the fourth quarter, left tackle Jason Peters left.

UP NEXT

The Saints host the Rams in the early game next Sunday, with the winner going to the Super Bowl.

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1st Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Eagles Saints
10:41 Jordan Matthews 37 yd pass from Nick Foles (Jake Elliott kick) 7 0
04:37 Nick Foles 1 yd run (Jake Elliott kick) 14 0

2nd Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Eagles Saints
07:23 Keith Kirkwood 2 yd pass from Drew Brees (Wil Lutz kick) 14 7
00:06 Wil Lutz 45 yd FG 14 10

3rd Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Eagles Saints
01:40 Michael Thomas 2 yd pass from Drew Brees (Wil Lutz kick) 14 17

4th Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Eagles Saints
10:28 Wil Lutz 39 yd FG 14 20

Team Stats
  Philadelphia New Orleans
1st Downs 15 25
Total Yards 250 420
Passing 201 283
Passing Completions/Attempts 18-31 28-38
Yards/Pass 6.5 7.1
Rushing 49 137
Rushing Attempts 16 31
Yards/Rush 3.1 4.4
Turnovers 2 1
Fumbles Lost 0 0
Interceptions Thrown 2 1
Possession 22:10 37:50

Philadelphia Passing
Player CP ATT YDS AVG TD INT
Nick Foles 18 31 201 6.5 1 2

New Orleans Passing
Player CP ATT YDS AVG TD INT
Drew Brees 28 38 301 7.9 2 1

Philadelphia Rushing
Player ATT YDS AVG TD LG
Wendell Smallwood 10 33 3.3 0 8
Nelson Agholor 1 12 12.0 0 12
Darren Sproles 3 4 1.3 0 3
Nick Foles 2 0 0.0 1 1

New Orleans Rushing
Player ATT YDS AVG TD LG
Alvin Kamara 16 71 4.4 0 15
Mark Ingram 9 53 5.9 0 36
Taysom Hill 2 8 4.0 0 4
Tre'Quan Smith 1 5 5.0 0 5
Drew Brees 3 0 0.0 0 1

Philadelphia Receiving
Player REC YDS AVG TD LG
Alshon Jeffery 5 63 12.6 0 30
Zach Ertz 5 50 10.0 0 17
Jordan Matthews 1 37 37.0 1 37
Darren Sproles 3 21 7.0 0 14
Golden Tate 2 18 9.0 0 12
Wendell Smallwood 1 6 6.0 0 6
Nelson Agholor 1 6 6.0 0 6

New Orleans Receiving
Player REC YDS AVG TD LG
Michael Thomas 12 171 14.2 1 42
Ted Ginn Jr. 3 44 14.7 0 21
Alvin Kamara 4 35 8.8 0 23
Tre'Quan Smith 1 15 15.0 0 15
Benjamin Watson 1 12 12.0 0 12
Mark Ingram 2 9 4.5 0 8
Keith Kirkwood 2 8 4.0 1 6
Josh Hill 3 7 2.3 0 9
Taysom Hill 0 0 0.0 0

Philadelphia Defense
Player TACKLES ASST SACKS SACK YDS
Malcolm Jenkins 8 2 0 0
Jordan Hicks 6 3 0 0
Avonte Maddox 6 2 0 0
Nigel Bradham 5 4 0 0
Tre Sullivan 5 0 0 0
Michael Bennett 3 1 0 0
Josh Hawkins 3 0 0 0
Brandon Graham 2 1 1 10
Chris Long 2 1 0.5 4
Fletcher Cox 2 1 0 0
Rasul Douglas 2 0 0 0
Cre'von LeBlanc 2 1 0 0
Corey Graham 1 2 0 0
Treyvon Hester 1 0 0 0
Haloti Ngata 1 1 0 0
Timmy Jernigan 0 2 0.5 4
D.J. Alexander 0 0 0 0
Zach Ertz 0 0 0 0
Nathan Gerry 0 0 0 0
Dallas Goedert 0 0 0 0
Kamu Grugier-Hill 0 0 0 0
LaRoy Reynolds 0 1 0 0
Golden Tate 0 0 0 0

New Orleans Defense
Player TACKLES ASST SACKS SACK YDS
Demario Davis 5 3 0 0
Marshon Lattimore 4 0 0 0
Eli Apple 3 1 0 0
Cameron Jordan 3 0 0 0
Vonn Bell 2 2 0 0
David Onyemata 2 1 0 0
Taylor Stallworth 2 1 0 0
P.J. Williams 2 1 0 0
Marcus Williams 2 0 0 0
Marcus Davenport 1 0 0 0
Tyeler Davison 1 1 0 0
Alex Anzalone 0 1 0 0
Kurt Coleman 0 0 0 0
Taysom Hill 0 0 0 0
Alex Okafor 0 1 0 0
Michael Thomas 0 0 0 0

Philadelphia Interceptions
Player INT YDS TD
Cre'von LeBlanc 1 0 0

New Orleans Interceptions
Player INT YDS TD
Marshon Lattimore 2 14 0

Philadelphia Kick Returns
Player KR YDS AVG TD LNG
Boston Scott 1 19 19.0 0 19

New Orleans Kick Returns
Player KR YDS AVG TD LNG
Alvin Kamara 2 45 22.5 0 27

Philadelphia Punt Returns
Player PR YDS AVG TD LNG
No punt return stats.

New Orleans Punt Returns
Player PR YDS AVG TD LNG
Tommylee Lewis 3 8 2.7 0 8

Philadelphia Kicking
Player FGM FGA PCT LG
No kicking stats.

New Orleans Kicking
Player FGM FGA PCT LG
Wil Lutz 2 3 67.0 45

Philadelphia Punting
Player PUNTS YDS LG
Cameron Johnston 5 241 54

New Orleans Punting
Player PUNTS YDS LG
Thomas Morstead 3 134 50