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Season Ends With 26-24 Loss

Posted Jan 4, 2014

The Eagles rallied back from a 20-7 deficit in the third quarter and took a 24-23 lead with just 4:54 remaining. However, the Saints drove down the field and Shayne Graham's fourth field goal of the game - a 32-yarder - went through the uprights as time expired to give the Saints a 26-24 victory over the Eagles in the Wild Card round of the NFC playoffs.

Quarterback Nick Foles' 3-yard touchdown pass to tight end Zach Ertz with 4:54 remaining gave the Eagles the lead. Saints running back Darren Sproles gained 39 yards on the ensuing kickoff return which was compounded by a horse-collar penalty on cornerback Cary Williams, who saved a touchdown.

With the ball at the Eagles' 48-yard line, Saints running back Khiry Robinson gained 22 yards on three carries to help set up the short field goal. The Eagles used their final timeout just after the two-minute warning and could only watch as Graham's field goal ended the first season with Chip Kelly as head coach.

The Saints entered the game without the services of their leading rusher Pierre Thomas, who was out with a chest injury. Typically a prolific passing attack, the Saints churned out 185 yards on the ground led by Mark Ingram, who had 97 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. The Eagles, who were the NFL's top rushing team in the regular season, only gained 80 yards on the ground. NFL rushing champion LeSean McCoy had 77 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries.

Quarterback Drew Brees completed 20-of-30 pass attempts for 250 yards with a touchdown against two interceptions. In his playoff debut, quarterback Nick Foles completed 23-of-33 pass attempts for 195 yards and two touchdowns for a 105.0 quarterback rating.

The Eagles led 7-6 at halftime and had the ball to start the second half, but came out listless. The Saints took control as Brees connected with wide receiver Lance Moore for a 24-yard touchdown and Ingram punched the ball from 4 yards out for their second score of the quarter.

The spark for the Eagles came in the third quarter when Saints cornerback Keenan Lewis suffered a head injury as he broke up as pass intended for wide receiver Jason Avant with just over three minutes left. On the next play, wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who had been held without a catch, beat safety Roman Harper for a 40-yard reception down the right sideline. McCoy finished off the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-goal.

Wide receiver Riley Cooper led the Eagles with six catches for 68 yards and a touchdown, although he had a costly drop in the third quarter which would have converted a third down. Jackson finished with three catches for 53 yards.

Sproles led the Saints receiver with four receptions for 31 yards. The Eagles contained All-Pro tight end Jimmy Graham to three catches for 44 yards.

This playoff matchup featured two of the league’s most explosive offenses, but early in the game it was all about the defense. Linebacker DeMeco Ryans picked off Drew Brees pass over the middle for the Eagles' second interception of the game in the second quarter. After a 23-yard return by Ryans, the Eagles had great field position at the Saints' 44-yard line. Foles connected with Cooper for a 22-yard gain as tight end James Casey made a key block to give Foles an extra split-second. Foles capped off the drive with a 10-yard touchdown pass on third-and-9, finding Cooper over the middle on a crossing route through traffic.

New Orleans responded to the Eagles' touchdown with an eight-play, 47-yard drive that ended with a 46-yard field goal by Graham as the first half expired cutting the Eagles' lead to 7-6.

The Saints got on the board first thanks to a Shayne Graham 36-yard field goal. The Eagles had briefly forced a third turnover when linebacker DeMeco Ryans knocked the ball out of tight end Jimmy Graham's hand as he reached for the first down at the Philadelphia 14-yard line. However, the replay showed that Graham's knee was already down, but the Eagles held the Saints to the three points.

Cornerback Bradley Fletcher intercepted an errant pass down the right sideline intended for rookie wide receiver Kenny Stills in the first quarter. However, the Eagles were unable to capitalize. Foles was sacked for an 11-yard loss after holding the ball too long and Alex Henery missed a 48-yard attempt wide left early in the second quarter.

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