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Forum Index > Brees and two interceptions from Marcus

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — When the New Orleans Saints finally found their rhythm http://www.eagleslockerroom.com/authentic-wes-hopkins-jersey , they marched one step closer to the Super Bowl.Using a dominant ball-control offense and a few gambles that paid off, the Saints got two touchdown passes from Drew Lattimore in a 20-14 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.Brees took the Saints on scoring drives of 92, 79 and 67 yards after falling behind 14-0. Lattimore clinched it when Nick Foles‘ pass from the Saints 27 deflected off usually sure-handed receiver Alshon Jeffery with about two minutes remaining. A couple dozen Saints players surged off the sideline toward the end zone in celebration, while Jeffery fell face-first to the turf in agony. "We were real calm and poised and we knew we were going to get things done," Brees said.New Orleans (14-3) will host the NFC title game next week against the Rams (13-4). Los Angeles, which fell 45-35 at the Superdome in November, will try again next week, with the winner going to the Super Bowl. The Saints' win finished off a sweep of the divisional round by teams coming off byes.Wil Lutz added two field goals for the Saints, who last got this far in 2009, when they won the Super Bowl.Philadelphia (10-8) will not repeat as NFL champion; no team has done so since the 2004 Patriots."We were going down to win, but I just felt like we beat ourselves, honestly," Jeffery said. "Hats off to those guys."Eagles coach Doug Pederson thought his team was on its way on that final drive to pulling off another stunning comeback win"It just felt like the momentum at that point was in our favor," he said. "It's been that way all season, and we felt like that sort of magic was going to continue."This was really two games in one. Philly scored on its first two drives as the Saints could do virtually nothing right."Listen, they got off to a fast start, they're a great team," Brees said. "Nick Foles has done a phenomenal job for them. We knew it was going to be different than last time."After that opening period, it was all New Orleans, yet the resilient Eagles kept it close enough that when Lutz missed a 52-yard field goal with 2:58 remaining, they were only one-score behind.Foles, the hero of last year's Super Bowl run, got them in position for yet another late winning score — just like last week at Chicago and last February against New England for the championship.Then, Jeffery couldn't handle a second-down pass, and it was over."That's a great championship team," Saints coach Sean Payton said of the Eagles. "We remained confident."Brees had 2-yard touchdown passes to rookie Keith Kirkwood and All-Pro wideout Michael Thomas, who had 12 receptions for a franchise playoff-record 171 yards.Thomas' touchdown capped an 18-play, 92-yard drive in which the Saints actually covered more than 100 yards because of penalties. It lasted 11½ minutes."What you saw from him today is what I see every day in practice," Brees said of Thomas. "He's a big-time player who wants to be the guy to make plays."Philadelphia had the ball for more than nine minutes in the first quarter, after which the Eagles had the ball about 13 minutes and never scored.New Orleans, which routed Philadelphia 48-7 in November Womens Mike Quick Jersey , gambled on its first play — and lost. Brees was a bit short on a deep pass to Ted Ginn Jr., and it was picked off by Cre'Von LeBlanc, one of several Eagles backups being used in the secondary due to injuries during the regular season."I just think we had to find our rhythm," Brees said. "I tried to take a shot on the first play. Unfortunately, that didn't work."After the first quarter, though, a lot worked for New Orleans.Foles completed all five throws on a 76-yard drive capped by Jordan Matthews‘ 37-yard TD catch . The Eagles, who quickly fell behind 17-0 in that previous Superdome loss, suddenly led 7-0.Not long after, a 75-yard drive highlighted by a 30-yard pass to Jeffery ended with Foles' short leap over the goal line for a 14-0 edge.Indeed, the visitors were in control until Lattimore picked off Foles' deep throw to Zach Ertz. The Saints showed plenty of moxie on their 79-yard march to a touchdown, faking a punt at their 30, with Taysom Hill running 4 yards for a first down. They also went on fourth-and-goal from the 2, and Philadelphia's rapidly depleting defense surrendered Kirkwood's 2-yard touchdown."When you just get that in guys' minds that we're going to be aggressive, that we're going to play to win, it allows guys to relax and to cut loose," Brees said.With Brees finding the range and his receivers finding loads of room to roam, New Orleans crept to 14-10 at halftime on Lutz's 45-yard field goal.UGLY STARTMaybe the Saints were rusty after their wild-card bye, but they got two first downs, including one by penalty, gained 17 yards, and Brees threw an interception and had a fumble that was recovered by teammate Ryan Ramczyk in the opening period. Meanwhile, Philly gained 153 yards and scored two TDs, and Foles went 8 of 9 for 113.But Foles was intercepted by Lattimore early in the second quarter, and the Saints finally got going.NUMBERSBrees, who turns 40 Tuesday, finished 28 for 38 despite the awful start, throwing for 301 yards. Aside from Thomas, who was targeted 16 times — he led the NFL with 125 catches — no one caught more than four passes for New Orleans. Alvin Kamara had four for 35 yards and also rushed for 71 yards. Mark Ingram added 53 yards on the ground as the Saints outrushed the Eagles 137-49. New Orleans is 6-0 at home in the playoffs with Payton and Brees.Foles was 18 for 31 for 201 yards. Jeffery had five catches for a team-leading 63 yards before the game-sealing drop.INJURIESIn a span of three plays, two starters were hurt and needed to be carted off.First, Saints defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins went down midway in the first quarter Reggie White Jersey , unable to put any weight on his left foot. Two plays later, Eagles right guard Brandon Brooks hurt his right leg and departed.Several Saints players said they would be playing for Rankins the rest of the way because his season was done.Philly also lost DB Rasul Douglas in the second quarter to an ankle injury, but he was back in the second half. DLs Fletcher Cox, an All-Pro, and Michael Bennett also were sidelined at times before returning. In the fourth quarter, left tackle Jason Peters left.UP NEXTThe Saints host the Rams in the early game next Sunday, with the winner going to the Super Bowl.Mike Groh talks plans for the Eagles’ running back position The Eagles’ offense has battled through a host of injuries through the first five games of the season, they’ve seen two different starting quarterbacks and three of their offensive weapons have already landed on IR. From slow starts to mental mistakes, offensive coordinator Mike Groh and quarterback Carson Wentz spoke to the media on Tuesday about some of the concerns heading into their first division game of the year, and their plans to improve.Here’s what the OC and QB had to say:Mike GrohOn the running back situationGroh opened by talking about losing Jay Ajayi. He admitted that Ajayi was a big part of what they’ve done and it’s an injury that will impact the team. Specifically he pointed to Ajayi’s physicality missing from the field, but touted the guys they have.He did point out though that Wendell Smallwood has “done a really nice job in the playing time he’s gotten” and the coaches are pleased with his production thus far this season. Smallwood, along with Corey Clement and Darren Sproles once they get back, is enough for the team to be happy with the guys they have on roster.Clement is one of the guys Groh thinks could be a featured back for the team, and said he’s close to being 100% again. Groh pointed out Clement having some of Ajayi’s physicality when he runs, plus “he’s an outstanding receiver out of the backfield”.Later on he was asked about Ajayi coming in mid-season last year, and whether they’ll have the time to bring in someone after Thursday’s game and get them acclimated. Groh admitted there’s a learning curve for any player you bring in during the season, but Duce Staley is an outstanding teacher and could get someone ready again, just like he did with Ajayi.On the offensive game planGroh said that they aren’t giving the guys a pass for not lining up where they should be or looking unprepared. Those things can’t happen, the guys need to get out of the huddle and know where they are lining up and know what their assignment is.“We’ve gotta do a better job collectively of, I guess, teaching that,” Groh noted.He was such to emphasize that those things have to be eliminated moving forward.The OC also spoke on the use of RPOs and how the team tries to balance their run and passing looks. Groh talked about having a strong group at running back, but ultimately circumstances affect the calls each week and they haven’t been able to get the run as involved as they had planned/liked.Groh likened some of those issues to not getting off to a quick start like they want. It was then pointed out that they have only scored three touchdowns in the first half of games so far this season. The offensive coordinator again pointed to some of the self-inflicted wounds with turnovers and penalties that have killed some of that momentum.On personnel moves on the OLGroh was also asked about Isaac Seumalo and the role he’s taking on, and the offensive coordinator said they had been talking about Seumalo throughout training camp and are happy with his versatility along the line. He noted that Isaac has been playing with a lot of confidence, and not only hears the calls but is starting to be able to make those calls out there on the run.“He’s done a nice job and earned some playing time,” Groh stated.Later on he was asked if they were concerned about the chemistry of the offensive line by moving some players around and whether the coaches talked to guys like Lane Johnson and Jason Kelce before making the move. Groh said they are always evaluating players — something we know — and that they talked about the move as a group, but no, they didn’t ask for input from players about it.On pass protectionGroh said the linemen didn’t have egg timers in their heads when it comes to how long they need to hold the pocket. They know that Carson Wentz has the ability and tendency to extend plays, and they need to protect him for as long as needed.Carson WentzOn losing Jay AjayiWentz admitted it was tough to lose the running back, but noted “more than anything, I feel for him”. The quarterback was in a similar situation last year with a torn ACL Josh Sweat Jerseys Stitched , and knows what that comes with both mentally and physically.He said that he’s reached out and told Ajayi that he’s here for him, and praying for him. On the field, Wentz knows that those are pretty big shoes to fill, but he feels the Eagles have the guys they need to step up and who are ready for that kind of role.Later he was asked how specifically they plan on filling Ajayi’s role, and Wentz emphasized that it’ll be challenging. Ajayi is “a violent down-hill runner that sought contact and loved to just feed off that,” but that they have confidence that the other backs will step up.Wentz continued to talk about Wendell Smallwood stepping up over the last two games, and Corey Clement coming back will be big for them. He also touched on Josh Adams having to have an increased role as well. The quarterback said he still feels like they have a stable of workhorses there, but it’s tough losing Jay. Wentz would agree that it’ll be more of a running back by committee approach, but he also pointed out that’s kind of been their strategy all along, even with Ajayi.On the offense and their potentialIt wasn’t just turnovers the QB was talking about — which he admitted need to be eliminated —, he was also asked if things are more challenging for the offensive line due to his tendency to hold onto the ball a bit longer. Wentz admitted that it happens, but he thinks that’s just the nature of his game and what he brings to the offense.Later, Wentz was asked if he thinks that this team could be one of the high-scoring, super efficient offenses that some teams have showed so far this season. Wentz acknowledged that the players feel like they have that potential, and to get the kind of production they had last year.He said it’s unfortunate that they’ve had so many of those small mistakes, but the expect to be better moving forward.Wentz also said that the team looks and feels great in practice, but that for some reason that isn’t translating to the field on game day. He pointed out, “it’s never perfect”, but he doesn’t see anything in practice that he’s concerned about.He also wouldn’t get into the Isaac Seumalo vs. Stephen Wisniewski debate, and rather lauded both of them and said he — and the rest of the o-line — is comfortable and confident with whomever is in the game.On opponents making adjustmentsOne of the more common storylines over the past couple weeks, has been that opposing defenses have been making adjustments to better cover the Eagles offense. Wentz was asked what he saw from teams they’ve faced, but he admitted that no one has really done anything outlandish or off the wall to prepare for Philadelphia.He continued to say that it’s usually something small, like teams playing a little softer zone or “taking away some of that stuff” but that overall it’s nothing crazy.On Giants prepWentz admitted that they are seeing some different things schematically with the Giants defense, especially with the new coaches, but a lot of similar faces with the players.Personnel-wise, Wentz said it seems like both teams know each other pretty well at this point, and scheme-wise, it’ll be interesting to see what they deal against the Eagles on Thursday.He said he’s sure they’ll bring something new, just like it seems every team has done so far this season.

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