Saints defeat Eagles, win 1st-ever road playoff game
By The Associated Press
Published: Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014, 11:45 p.m.
PHILADELPHIA — The New Orleans Saints finally came up with the right plan for outdoor playoff football in cold weather. It got them their first postseason road victory.
Shayne Graham's 32-yard field goal, the fourth Saturday night for the recent addition to the team, won it on the final play, 26-24 over the Philadelphia Eagles.
Drew Brees, who threw for a touchdown and guided the 34-yard drive to the winning kick, didn't need to be a big star because the Saints' running game and defense — along with Graham's leg — provided the heroics.
“It's just, man, believing in each other, ignoring what everyone else has to say,” Brees said.
New Orleans (12-5) will play at NFC top-seed Seattle next Saturday. The Saints lost there 34-7 in the regular season.
“It's loud, it's crazy, they've got a good thing going there,” Brees said of the next challenge.
Graham, signed by the Saints just over two weeks ago to replace longtime kicker Garrett Hartley, also connected from 36, 46 and 35 yards.
Brees threw for a touchdown, Mark Ingram rushed for 97 yards and another score, and the Saints' defense slowed Chip Kelly's up-tempo offense just enough. New Orleans had been 0-5 in postseason games outside of the Big Easy since entering the league in 1967.
Philadelphia wound up 10-7 in Kelly's first year as coach. He guided them from worst to first in the NFC East, but they were only 4-5 at home.
Nick Foles hit rookie Zach Ertz for a 3-yard touchdown with 4:54 remaining as Philadelphia rallied from a 13-point deficit to take a one-point lead. But Darren Sproles had a 39-yard kickoff return, and a horse-collar tackle brought New Orleans to the Philadelphia 48. Using mostly runs, the Saints ate up the clock and set up Graham's winner.
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