Saints edge Eagles 26-24 in NFC wild-card game

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 4, 2014 at 11:33 pm •  Published: January 4, 2014

Two teams with prolific offenses couldn't get on track for much of the game.

Graham's 46-yarder as the first half ended made it 7-6 as everyone wondered where all the offensive fireworks went. The teams combined for an average of 816.7 yards and 53.5 points per game during the regular season.

When Riley Cooper, who earlier scored Philadelphia's first touchdown, had a huge drop in the third quarter, the Saints immediately made Philly pay. A 66-yard drive highlighted by Benjamin Watson's 27-yard reception led to Ingram's TD from the 4 for a 20-7 lead.

That's when the Eagles finally made a dynamic play with the ball, DeSean Jackson's leaping 40-yard catch over Corey White. NFL rushing leader LeSean McCoy scored from the 1 on fourth down to make things close.

Jackson helped make it closer with a 29-yard punt return that set up Alex Henery's 31-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter, cutting the Saints' lead to 20-17.

Another 40-yard completion, from Brees to seldom-used Robert Meachem, led to Graham's 35-yard field goal, setting up the frantic finish.

Jackson was the central figure in setting up Ertz's go-ahead score, drawing a 40-yard pass interference call on the beleaguered White.

But Brees then guided the winning drive, disappointing Foles, who went to the same Texas high school as Brees and wears the same No. 9.

"This doesn't feel good," said Foles, who led the NFL in passer rating and was 8-3 as a starter. "We wanted to keep playing. It's tough to lose. It hurts. But we're going to keep building."

Meanwhile, the Saints move on with confidence in a defense that held the NFL's top rushing offense to 80 yards — McCoy had just 77 — and their own ground game, which gained 185 without injured Pierre Thomas.

"Just the fact they had confidence in me to carry the load, it says a lot," Ingram said. "People are going to talk, you'll always have critics, have doubters. But my teammates know I go out there and bust my tail every day and that's all that matters."

NOTES: Brees finished 20 for 30 for 250 yards and was picked off twice in the first half. ... Foles was 23 of 33 for 195 yards. ... Eagles TE Brent Celek injured his neck, but could have returned had the Eagles gotten the ball back late in the fourth quarter. ... New Orleans cornerback Keenan Lewis suffered a head injury in the third quarter and didn't return.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org