The New Orleans Saints came into their wildcard round game of the 2014 NFL Playoffs with a plethora of things not working in their favor. Not only were they playing on the road against the Philadelphia Eagles, but they were playing in cold outdoor temperatures while also taking the field without their starting running back in Pierre Thomas.
Once they took the field, the deck got even more stacked against them as star quarterback Drew Brees struggled to find success. He improved later in the game slightly, but even when the game had concluded, Brees had completed just 20 of 30 passes for only 250 yards while throwing just one touchdown and turning the ball over twice.
Even with all of these things not working in their favor, though, the Saints watched a field goal from the foot of kicker Shayne Graham travel through the uprights as time expired to give New Orleans the 26-24 win over the Eagles. The Saints will now face the Seattle Seahawks in the divisional round next week.
While you have to be impressed with the way Mark Ingram ran the ball in this game and have to like how the Saints’ defense played—for the most part—this win form them means the most because of how ugly it was, as odd as that may seem.
The Saints, for all intents and purposes, are a team that looks their best when everything is going right and clicking on all cylinders. They have struggled to claw out victories in recent seasons when that’s not happening. However, that’s exactly the situation they were placed in on Saturday and they still grabbed a victory.
You certainly aren’t going to be picking New Orleans as favorites in Seattle next week as it’s the Saints on the road again and it’s in one of the most hostile stadiums in the league. However, the Saints showed real heart against Philadelphia, which has to have them feeling better about their chances at making an improbable postseason run.