They said that Drew Brees can’t throw in the cold, They also said the New Orleans Saints can’t win on the road, not in the playoffs. People forgot how good of a head coach Sean Payton is, and the defense the Saints have. Maybe the Philadelphia Eagles forgot too. They weren’t going to forget Shayne Graham knocking down a game winning field goal as time expired.
The Saints came away with the 26-24 win, the franchise’s first road victory in the postseason thanks to Shayne Graham being clutch in the final quarter; thanks to Mark Ingram suddenly playing like the guy who won the Heisman trophy with Alabama not too long ago, running for 97 yards on 18 carries and scoring a touchdown; and thanks to a defense that held the Eagles to only 256 yards, with Nick Foles unable to unleash big throws (only three catches for DeSean Jackson) while LeSean McCoy got stuck on 21 carries and 77 yards.
Drew Brees did throw two interceptions while the Eagles didn’t turn the ball over even once. It’s easy to forget sometimes there’s more to a team than just their quarterback. It’s easy to forget great players put mistakes behind them, never looking back. Brees finished the game with 20-of-30 passing for 250 yards and a touchdown pass to Lance Moore, as the Saints opened up a lead in the second quarter thanks to Moore and Ingram’s back-to-back touchdowns.
With 4:54 left in the game, Nick Foles found Zach Ertz for his second touchdown completion of the game. The Eagles took a 24-23 lead. The problem with the Eagles is that even when hosting a dome team in the freezing East coast weather, there’s no way to trust that this defense is going to come up with the goods.
Darren Sproles made a huge return for 39 yards, but got a penalty bonus after a horsecollar tackle, leading to the Saints beginning the final drive on their own 48. Not much of a problem, right? They found themselves in two 3rd-and-1 situations, but on both occasions Drew Brees ran up the middle to get the first down, and the Saints chewed up the clock. The Eagles didn’t try to ice the kicker, and Graham hit a routine one from 32 yards (4-of-4 in the game) to put the Saints in the next round.
Next up? Seattle, in Seattle, where they’ve lost only once in the last two years.
It’s loud, it’s crazy, they’ve got a good thing going there. Obviously, they’ve only lost one game there in the last two years. But having been there less than a month ago, I think that serves us well, what to expect, how to prepare for it. But we’re going to need our best game, that’s for sure.
The Seahawks and the Eagles are two very different stories, but the Saints have shown that icy forecasts and road games don’t make them too afraid. Drew Brees will need to do better against a much better defense the next time he takes the field, but the Saints have proven to themselves, and to everyone, that myths have nothing to do with reality, and sometimes the actual better football teams gets to wins, exorcising some demons along the way.