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Saints Overcome Slow Start; Advance to NFC Championship Game

Jan 13, 2019; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas (13) stiff arms Philadelphia Eagles free safety Avonte Maddox (29) during the second quarter of a NFC Divisional playoff football game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints crushed the Philadelphia Eagles 48-7 in Week 11. These two teams would meet again in the NFC Divisional Round in New Orleans. With the Saints leading 20-14 before the two-minute warning after a missed 52-yard field goal by Will Lutz (2:58 remaining in regulation), Nick Foles threw a pass to Alshon Jeffrey and it slipped through his hands and it was picked off by Marshon Lattimore.

Jeffrey’s teammates and coaches all consoled him after the interception. With 1:03 remaining in regulation, Alvin Kamara picked up 13 yards on a third-and-10 play to help New Orleans seal a 20-14 victory over Philadelphia.

Kamara rushed for 71 yards on 16 carries. He also caught four passes for 35 yards receiving.

On the first play of the game for the Saints, Drew Brees was picked off by Cre’Von LeBlanc and it set the tone for the Philadelphia Eagles early in the game. Nick Foles threw a 37-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Matthews on the next drive and Foles also scored on a 1-yard touchdown run later in the quarter for Philadelphia.

He completed 18-of-31 passes for 201 yards one touchdown and two interceptions. Nick Foles didn’t rush for any yards on two carries, but he scored a touchdown. It is going to be interesting what happens this offseason with Foles. Will the Philadelphia Eagles trade him or will they decide to keep him around for another season knowing the injury history of Carson Wentz.

The touchdown reception was Matthews’s only catch of the game. Alshon Jeffrey was the Eagles leading receiver with five receptions for 63 yards receiving. Wendell Smallwood was Philadelphia’s leading rusher with 33 yards on 10 carries. He also caught one pass for six yards receiving.

There were two key injures in the first-quarter. Philadelphia Eagles offensive lineman Brandon Brooks was carted off the field with a torn Achilles and he didn’t return. It is possible he may not be ready for the 2019 season.

New Orleans Saints defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins tore his Achilles and he was also carted off the field.

With the Saints trailing 14-0 in the second-quarter, they faked a punt on a fourth-and-1 and Taysom Hill rushed for four yards on the play and he picked up a first-down. The Eagles were ready for the fake, but defensive tackle Fletcher Cox hurt himself on the play. He was limited for the rest of the game.

New Orleans would eventually score on a 2-yard touchdown pass to Keith Kirkwood from Drew Brees. Kirkwood finished with two receptions for eight yards receiving and a touchdown.

With the New Orleans Saints trailing 14-10 in the third-quarter, Drew Brees threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Michael Thomas. Thomas torched the Philadelphia Eagles defense all game long. He caught 12 passes for 171 yards receiving and a touchdown. Brees completed 28-of-38 passes for 301 yards two touchdowns and one interception. He didn’t rush for any yards on three carries.

The (6) Philadelphia Eagles (10-8) aren’t the defending Super Bowl Champions anymore. Their season concludes. The (1) New Orleans Saints (14-3) will host the (2) Los Angeles Rams (14-3) in the NFC Championship Game next Sunday afternoon with kickoff set for 3:05 p.m.

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