Coach Sean Payton pointed to New Orleans' nearly 10-minute edge in time of possession, converting seven of 13 third downs compared to the Eagles' three of 12, its 185-80 advantage in rushing yards and its 434-256 domination in total yards.
|Saints defenders Cameron Jordon (94) Junior Galette (93) and David Hawthorne (57) pursue Eagles running back LeSean McCoy.|
METAIRIE, La. (AP) — With a trip to Seattle looming, the New Orleans Saints gained more confidence from the first road playoff win in franchise history than Saturday's 26-24 margin at Philadelphia indicated.
Before kicker Shayne Graham connected on a 32-yard field goal as time ran out, the Saints dominated the Eagles statistically.
"Certainly when you watch the tape, the score could have been a lot bigger on our part," coach Sean Payton said Sunday. "It was a great team win."
Specifically, Payton pointed to New Orleans' nearly 10-minute edge in time of possession, converting seven of 13 third downs compared to the Eagles' three of 12, its 185-80 advantage in rushing yards and its 434-256 domination in total yards.
Philadelphia, which had won seven of its last eight to claim the NFC East, entered as the NFL's leading rushing team, averaging 160.4 yards. The Saints held LeSean McCoy, who had a league-high 1,607 yards in the regular season, to 77 yards on 21 carries with a long gain of 11.
"We tackled well and pursued to the ball," Payton said. "We really felt that was going to be important. He's such an exceptional player and has the ability to cut back. Your angles and gap integrity have to be really good because it might start out going right, then all of a sudden, it ends up all the way around the left end."
Conversely, New Orleans ran right at a Philadelphia defense that had limited five consecutive opponents to fewer than 100 rushing yards. The Saints' number of carries (36) and yards were higher than in all but one regular-season game, and they rushed for 54 more yards than their second-best total.
On their final drive, Drew Brees threw one pass while the Saints ran eight times, getting three first downs to move from the Philadelphia 48 to the 14.
"We controlled both lines of scrimmage," Payton said. "When you do that, you have a good chance of winning."
That advantage allowed New Orleans to overcome two interceptions by Brees in the first half and become a rare team to win on the road in the playoffs while losing the turnover battle.
Trailing 7-6 at the break, New Orleans scored touchdowns on its first two possessions of the third quarter.
"At halftime, to some degree, we were fortunate to be down just a point after the turnovers," Payton said. "We felt like if we put our best football together and executed and did the things we had to do then, the result would take care of itself."
They also took care of having to answer questions again about their winless playoff record in opposing stadiums. The Saints were 0-5 overall and 0-3 under Payton, who downplayed that statistic all week.
"It is great for the city and it's great for our team, just momentum as we move through the playoffs," tight end Benjamin Watson said. "To win on the road in this league is tough as we saw through the regular season. To win in a hostile environment, the cold, in Philadelphia, it brings great confidence for our team."
They'll need all of that confidence in Seattle, which buried the Saints 34-7 on Dec. 2 in the midst of New Orleans' four-game road losing streak to end the regular season.
At least the Saints know what they will face next Saturday at raucous CenturyLink Field. They will try to duplicate what the New York Jets did three years ago when they won at New England in the divisional round of the AFC playoffs after losing there 45-3 a month earlier.
"When you face an opponent previously in the season, you have a better idea of what you're going against," New Orleans defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley said. "It helps you prepare for it a little bit better."
Notes: Payton offered no update on the status of CB Keenan Lewis, who left in the third quarter with a concussion, or any other player. ... The Saints will be off Monday before practicing Tuesday.
The fight to clean up Lafayette Parish could get some added ammunition with two ordinances up for votes Tuesday by the City-Parish Council targeting litter-bugs.
By striking a deal to lessen the blow of health insurance changes on state workers, school employees and retirees, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration lowered the volume of criticism but gave itself and local school boards a new budget headache.
With the airport tax coming up for a parishwide vote in about a week, the Broussard City Council and its mayor have come out in support of the proposal.
Protesters rallied peacefully in several Louisiana cities in the wake of the Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of Michal Brown.
US cities bidding on Olympics; Guard prevents more Ferguson riots; storm threatens travel and more national and international news for Wednesday, November 26, 2014.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
The U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
Abysmally low participation by the public has prompted the council to scuttle the 2014 survey with plans to simplify it and try again next year.
The village now says the ordinance will likely be overturned and authorities will more vigorously enforce existing leash laws.
Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
Bar Code is not a gay bar.
After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
Voters, obviously, are not yet tuned into the 2015 ballot, despite the intriguing races it will host.
By now, the story of how longtime LSU coach Dale Brown discovered Shaquille O'Neal has been told many times: Brown happened upon a massive 13-year-old at an army base in Germany, stayed in touch with him and eventually became like a second father.
Fate simply wasn't ready to give the New Orleans Saints a break from longtime nemesis Steve Smith.
Lafayette Police have had a busy day.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration will use $130 million in patchwork financing from a tax amnesty program, insurance settlement, uninsured motorist penalties and other excess funds to close most of the state's midyear budget deficit.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu said she disagrees with President Barack Obama's actions on immigration, hoping the latest controversy doesn't worsen her campaign difficulties.
Gay-rights advocates challenging Louisiana's same-sex marriage ban announced Thursday that they have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review their case before it is heard by a federal appeals court.
Thinking himself the “son of God,” the man charged with the 2013 killing of an officer of the Chitimacha Tribal Police will not stand trial following a ruling Thursday on his mental competency.
Either Saints coach Sean Payton doesn't want to tip Baltimore off as to who'll start in New Orleans' secondary on Monday night, or he really doesn't know yet.