Drew Brees, Cameron Jordan and the New Orleans Saints ended the Philadelphia Eagles season, winning their Saturday playoff game 26-24. It was the Saints’ first road playoff win in franchise history. Though the Saints have a famously prolific offense, their defense led them to victory.
Led by Jordan and Keenan Lewis, New Orleans contained LeSean McCoy, holding the NFL’s leading rusher to 77 yards and blanketed DeSean Jackson, who was held without a catch until late in the third quarter. Beyond McCoy and Jackson, the entire Eagles’ offense never got into a flow. Throughout the night, the Eagles did not look like the well-oiled offensive machine that fans saw during in the regular season as plays were not run with their trademark hurry-up pace.
Though the Eagles’ offense never really took flight, their defense kept the game close. Brandon Boykins and Connor Barwin did an excellent job containing Jimmy Graham. The most terrifying tight end in the NFL saw only four targets and finished 44 yards receiving.
Nick Foles played efficiently, posting a 105 passer rating. He looked composed all night and actually put the team in a position to win by zipping a three-yard pass to Zach Ertz which gave the Eagles a 24-23 lead with 4:54 left in the fourth quarter.
That was precisely when Drew Brees finally looked like Drew Brees. He shook off two earlier interceptions and surgically led the Saints down the field to set up the game-winning field goal by Shayne Graham as time expired. It is difficult to ask a defense to do more than hold Brees and the high-powered New Orleans Saints’ offense to under 30 points. The Eagles’ defense did enough to win, but the team’s uptempo offense was a no-show.