Turns out the New Orleans Saints aren't so helpless outside the Superdome.
It was a game that came down to the final kick, but the Saints were clearly the better team on this night. They won the time of possession battle (34:53 to 25:07) and outgained the Eagles, 434-256. New Orleans was particularly effective on the ground, piling up 185 yards. The revitalized Mark Ingram led the way with 97 yards and one touchdown on just 18 carries.
Despite that, the Eagles were still in great position to steal the game. They scored on each of their final three possessions, and quarterback Nick Foles hit tight end Zach Ertz for a 3-yard touchdown with 3:10 remaining to give Philadelphia a 24-23 lead.
Drew Brees and the offense took over near midfield. The writing was already on the wall for the Eagles. The Saints again leaned on the run to march deep in Eagles territory and Graham -- signed just two weeks ago and playing for his ninth team -- put it straight down the middle to silence the Linc.
Plenty of credit should go to Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, who drew up a game plan that didn't allow Eagles coach Chip Kelly's offense to generate the type of big plays that became the norm this season. (Wide receiver DeSean Jackson drew a huge pass interference to set up Philly's go-ahead score, but was otherwise held in check.) Nick Foles threw for less than 200 yards for just the second time since Week 9.
The Saints won in a different manner than you'd expect. Drew Brees threw two ugly first-half interceptions and struggled to push the ball downfield. That's typically a recipe for disaster for the Saints, but not on Saturday.
New Orleans coach Sean Payton leaned on his defense and the running game and got the job done. His mentor, Bill Parcells, was smiling somewhere.The "Around The League Podcast" is now available on iTunes! Click here to listen and subscribe.