New Orleans Saints at Philadelphia Eagles 1/4/14 NFL Score, Recap, News and Notes
Final Score: New Orleans Saints 26, Philadelphia Eagles 24
January 4, 2014
Serving as the Saturday nightcap on Wild Card Weekend this season, we had the New Orleans Saints heading to the chilly outdoor atmosphere of Lincoln Financial Field to take on the Philadelphia Eagles. This was a meeting of two dynamic offenses, and the general feeling heading into the game was that it would be a battle between the Saints’ high-flying passing attack and the Eagles’ up-tempo ground-control game. Things played out a bit differently, however, as they often do.
Let’s take a closer look at the key players and statistics from this one so we can determine exactly why things played out the way they did. Afterward, we’ll take a look forward and see what’s in store for both teams.
What Happened: New Orleans came into this one with an 0-5 record in road playoff games since 1967, so they definitely had something to play for. During much of the game, though, it seemed like they might continue the trend.
Neither team was able to gain much traction on offense in the first quarter, with New Orleans finally breaking the scoreless tie on a 36-yard Shayne Graham field goal. The Eagles would respond with a 10-yard hookup from Nick Foles to Riley Cooper. A last-second field goal pulled the Saints to within 6-7 at halftime, and we officially had ourselves a game.
After the break, the scoring really started to get going. Drew Brees tossed a 24-yard TD pass to Lance Moore, then followed that up with a 4-yard Mark Ingram run to take a commanding 20-7 lead. Philly got back in it late in the quarter with LeSean McCoy’s 1-yard TD run for a 20-14 New Orleans lead after three.
The teams traded field goals early in the fourth, then the Eagles took the lead on a 3-yard Zach Ertz TD catch. Down 23-24 with less than five minutes to play, Brees guided his team downfield for a 32-yard field goal in the closing seconds for a thrilling 26-24 Saints win.
New Orleans will now move on to the Divisional Round of the playoffs to face Seattle, while the Eagles will be relegated to off-season mode.
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The Stars: We’ll give top honors to Shayne Graham here. He calmly booted four field goals while looking unfazed by the pressure--even though he just joined the team a couple of weeks ago.
RB Mark Ingram also had a nice outing, with 97 yards and a score on 18 attempts. New Orleans had 185 rush yards in all.
Thanks to the run, time of possession was firmly in New Orleans’ favor: 34:53 to 25:07.
On the other side, Riley Cooper had a solid game, notching six receptions for 68 yards and a score. Foles was pretty efficient on 23-of-33 passing for 195 and two scores.
The Goats: Brees was good in the second half, but pretty abysmal in the first. Ultimately, he ended up with 250 yards, a TD and a pair of interceptions. He’s going to have to be better next week.
The Eagles couldn’t break their ultimate weapon out--LeSean McCoy posted just 77 rush yards and a TD on 21 carries.
Philly could also come up with just 256 total yards and had just one play longer than 25 yards on the day. That’s a season-low (tie) for them.
Injuries: The Eagles got off relatively unscathed; TE Brent Celek injured his neck late in the game but reportedly could have returned.
As for the Saints, they’ll have to keep an eye on Keenan Lewis this week; he suffered a head injury in the third and was unable to come back out.
Outlook: The Saints will move on to the Divisional Round next weekend. They’ll get the unenviable task of facing the Seahawks in Seattle. (Saturday, January 11; 4:35 PM ET on FOX.) New Orleans lost 34-7 in Seattle earlier this year.
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