The Saints’ road troubles have been well documented. Drew Brees led the Saints to an undefeated record at the Superdome but the team went just 3-5 on the road heading into the NFL playoffs. Meanwhile, the Eagles recovered from a disastrous first half behind new quarterback Nick Foles who threw 27 touchdowns and just two picks while guiding Philly to wins in seven of their last eight games and four straight at home.
Drew Brees had everything to prove in the freezing weather of the northeast and the Eagles reminded him of that as they forced three Saints punts on their first three drives of the game. Unfortunately, Philly was forced to punt on all of their first three drives as well. This game did not start as the shootout it was billed as.
On the fourth drive things picked up. After moving the ball 31 yards on three plays, Drew Brees fired a bomb to Kenny Stills that was picked off by Bradley Fletcher just in front of the endzone. Clearly, Brees’ trip up north wasn’t starting out as he had hoped.
The Saints defense, led by Cameron Jordan, were able to stop the Eagles again but within field goal range. Alex Henery attempted a 48-yarder but it went wide left and the game remained scoreless as Philly turned the ball over at the New Orleans 34-yard line.
It took Brees 11 plays and a reversed Jimmy Graham fumble to move the Saints offense 36 yards but the Saints finally got some points on the board with a 36-yard Shayne Graham field goal on that drive.
The Saints forced another three-and-out but Brees was picked off by DeMeco Ryans on the very next drive and the former Texan ran it back for 23 yards.
The Eagles were finally able to capitalize on an opportunity as they needed just six plays and 44 yards to score on a drive capped off by a ten-yard touchdown pass to Riley Cooper.
With their first score out of the way, the Saints were able to answer back as Brees completed a 17-yard pass to Jimmy Graham and 13-yard passes to Darren Sproles and Kenny Stills as he led a 47 yard drive that ended in another Shayne Graham field goal to put the game at 7-6 going into halftime.
The Eagles went three-and-out to start the half which allowed Drew Brees to lead a 53-yard drive capped off by a 24-yard touchdown throw to Lance Moore to put the Saints up 13-7.
The Saints forced another three-and-out once again and Brees was able to capitalize once again. Brees completed a 27-yard pass to Brandon Watson as he led a 66-yard drive that was capped off by a four-yard Mark Ingram touchdown run to extend New Orleans’ lead to 20-7.
After two three-and-outs, Nick Foles finally showed some life as he completed a 40-yard pass to DeSean Jackson to set up a short LeSean McCoy touchdown run to cap off a 65-yard drive and bring the Eagles back to within one score.
Philly was able to force a quick three-and-out on the Saints’ next drive and Nick Foles took over again. It took the Eagles seven plays to move the ball 28 yards which set up a 31-yard Alex Henery field goal and put the game at 20-17.
Brees put together an impressive 58-yard drive but the Saints were stopped inside the red zone and settled for a 35-yard Shayne Graham field goal to go up by six.
The Eagles were able to build off their previous drive, however, and Nick Foles was helped by a 40-yard pass interference penalty by Corey White that set up a three-yard touchdown pass to Zach Ertz to cap off a 77-yard drive and put the Eagles up 24-23.
After a horse collar penalty on the return, the Saints started their drive at midfield. Mark Ingram and Khiry Robinson ran the ball down to the 20-yard line to set up yet another Shayne Graham field goal to win the game 26-24.
The Saints will face the Seahawks next week in Seattle.