Wednesday, March 12, 2014
The Associated Press
PHILADELPHIA — Shayne Graham, signed by the Saints just over two weeks ago, kicked a 32-yard field goal on the final play Saturday night to give New Orleans its first road playoff victory, 26-24 over the Philadelphia Eagles.
New Orleans Saints' Khiry Robinson runs during the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Saturday in Philadelphia.
The Associated Press
Graham’s third field goal sent the Saints (12-5) to Seattle for next Saturday’s divisional playoff game against the NFC’s top seed. The Seahawks routed the Saints 34-7 during the season.
Drew Brees threw for a touchdown, Mark Ingram rushed for 97 yards and another score, and the Saints’ defense slowed Chip Kelly’s up-tempo offense just enough. New Orleans had been 0-5 in postseason games on the road since entering the league in 1967.
Philadelphia wound up 10-7 in Kelly’s first year as coach. He guided them from worst to first in the NFC East, but they were only 4-5 at home.
The Eagles grabbed a 24-23 lead when Nick Foles threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Zach Ertz with 4:54 remaining.
But New Orleans put together a 10-play drive on its final possession to move into field-goal range.
Brees threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Lance Moore in the third quarter, Ingram ran in from the 4 and the Saints took a 20-14 lead after three quarters after trailing 7-6 at halftime.
Two of the NFL’s most prolific offenses struggled to get things going early. Brees threw a pair of interceptions, the second leading to Foles’ 10-yard TD pass to Riley Cooper.
But the eight-time Pro Bowl quarterback bounced back with the go-ahead TD pass in the third quarter and key completions on another scoring drive.
NFL rushing champion LeSean McCoy had a 1-yard TD run on fourth-and-1.
The teams combined for an average of 816.7 yards and 53.5 points per game during the regular season. But defense dominated early.
The Saints forced a three-and-out on Philadelphia’s first possession of the second half. Foles was called for intentional grounding and then got sacked. The Saints took over at their 47 after a punt, and Brees quickly moved them down field. He rolled out and hit Moore for a 24-yard TD for a 13-7 lead.
On the ensuing possession, the Eagles missed a big opportunity. Cooper was wide open going over the middle but dropped a pass on third-and-4 that would have gone for a long gain.
The Saints took advantage. Brees completed a 14-yard pass to Kenny Stills on third-and-12, and Ingram scored a few plays later for a 20-7 lead.
But Philadelphia answered. Foles connected with DeSean Jackson for a 40-yard catch, and McCoy scored a few plays later.
After Bradley Fletcher intercepted Brees in the first quarter, the Eagles were at the Saints’ 15 when McCoy ran 8 yards on fourth-and-1. But a pass to Brent Celek lost 8 yards and Foles took a sack for an 11-yard loss. Alex Henery then missed wide left from 48 yards.
The Saints drove to the Eagles’ 13 before nearly losing the ball again. Jimmy Graham fumbled, but the call was reversed after a video review showed he was down before the ball came out. Graham then made a 36-yarder for a 3-0 lead.
Brees, who led the Saints to a Super Bowl title in 2009, had thrown just four interceptions in nine playoff games before tossing two picks in the first half.