2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Brees rallies Saints to 20-14 lead over Eagles

By ROB MAADDI - AP Pro Football Writer
    2014-01-04 21:43

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Drew Brees threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Lance Moore, Mark Ingram ran in from the 4 and the New Orleans Saints took 20-14 lead over the Philadelphia Eagles after three quarters in an NFC wild-card playoff game Saturday night.

Two of the NFL's most prolific offenses struggled to get things going early. Brees threw a pair of interceptions, the second leading to Nick Foles' 10-yard TD pass to Riley Cooper.

But the eight-time Pro Bowl quarterback bounced back with the go-ahead TD pass in the third quarter and key completions on another scoring drive.

NFL rushing champion LeSean McCoy had a 1-yard TD run on fourth-and-1.

Shayne Graham kicked pair of field goals for the Saints. Alex Henery missed from 48 yards for Philadelphia.

The Saints (11-5) are seeking the franchise's first playoff win in six tries on the road. The Eagles (10-6) went worst-to-first in the NFC East under rookie coach Chip Kelly.

The teams combined for an average of 816.7 yards and 53.5 points per game during the regular season. But defense dominated early.

Down 7-6 at halftime, the Saints forced a three-and-out on Philadelphia's first possession of the second half. Foles was called for intentional grounding and then got sacked. The Saints took over at their 47 after a punt and Brees quickly moved them down field. He rolled out and hit Moore for a 24-yard TD for a 13-7 lead.

On the ensuing possession, the Eagles missed a big opportunity. Cooper was wide open going over the middle, but dropped a pass on third-and-4 that would've gone for a long gain.

The Saints took advantage. Brees completed a 14-yard pass to Kenny Stills on third-and-12 and Ingram scored a few plays later for a 20-7 lead.

But Philadelphia answered. Foles connected with DeSean Jackson for a 40-yard catch to the Saints for his first catch. McCoy scored a few plays later.

After Bradley Fletcher intercepted Brees in the first quarter, the Eagles were at the Saints 15 after McCoy ran 8 yards on fourth-and-1. But a pass to Brent Celek lost 8 yards and Foles took a sack for an 11-yard loss. Henery then missed wide left.

The Saints then drove to the Eagles 13 before nearly losing the ball again. Jimmy Graham fumbled, but the call was reversed after a video review showed he was down before the ball came out. Graham then made a 36-yarder for a 3-0 lead.

Brees, who led the Saints to a Super Bowl title in 2009, had thrown just four interceptions in his first nine playoff games before tossing two picks in the first half. The Saints were at the Eagles 41 before Brees threw one right to linebacker DeMeco Ryans, who returned it 23 yards to the New Orleans 44.

Foles connected with Cooper for 22 yards on first down. On third down, he found Cooper running across the back of the end zone for a TD.

Graham kicked a 47-yarder at the end of the second quarter to cut it to 7-6.

Brees and Foles became just the second pair of quarterbacks from the same high school to play each other in a playoff game. Brees led Westlake High School to the Texas state championship in 1996. Foles broke several of Brees' passing records and guided the Austin-based school to the title game in 2006, but lost.

A day after a storm dumped 8 inches of snow on Philadelphia, there was hardly any trace of it at Lincoln Financial Field. Team officials estimated workers removed between two and three million pounds of snow from the stadium and surrounding parking lots. Temperature at kickoff was 25 degrees, but the cold weather didn't prevent Saints cornerback Keenan Lewis from coming out shirtless for pregame warm-ups.

New Orleans played without Pierre Thomas, the team's leading rusher and second-leading receiver. Thomas injured his chest last week.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Pierre ThomasOct 30 07:22p

New Orleans Saints RBs Khiry Robinson (forearm) and Pierre Thomas (shoulder) are both inactive in Week 9 against the Carolina Panthers Thursday, Oct. 30.

David HawthorneOct 30 07:12p

The New Orleans Saints have declared LB Austin Johnson, LB David Hawthorne, C Jonathan Goodwin, RB Khiry Robinson, WR Nick Toon, RB Pierre Thomas, CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste inactive for Week 9.

Amini SilatoluOct 30 07:12p

The Carolina Panthers have declared OG Amini Silatolu, CB Bene Benwikere, OT Byron Bell, RB Fozzy Whittaker, WR Philly Brown, FS Thomas DeCoud, OG Trai Turner inactive for Week 9.

Brandon BrownerOct 30 04:32p

New England Patriots DT Alan Branch (non-injury related) and DE Chandler Jones (hip) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. S Nate Ebner (finger), DL Dominique Easley (knee), OL Cameron [ More ]

Brandon ThompsonOct 30 04:22p

Cincinnati Bengals CB Darqueze Dennard (hamstring), LB Rey Maualuga (hamstring) and OG Kevin Zeitler (calf) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. DT Domata Peko (toe) and OT Andre Smith [ More ]

Dwight FreeneyOct 30 04:22p

San Diego Chargers LB Manti Te'o (foot), CB Jason Verrett (shoulder) and S Jahleel Addae (concussion) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. LB Jeremiah Attaochu (hamstring) was limited. CB [ More ]

Donald BrownOct 30 04:12p

San Diego Chargers RB Donald Brown (concussion) practiced fully Thursday, Oct. 30.

Terrell SuggsOct 30 04:02p

Baltimore Ravens WR Michael Campanaro (thigh), CB Jimmy Smith (foot) and LB Terrell Suggs (neck) all did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. OG Marshal Yanda (knee) [ More ]

Brett KeiselOct 30 03:52p

Pittsburgh Steelers DE Brett Keisel (non-injury), SS Troy Polamalu (non-injury) and SS Ross Ventrone (hamstring) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. CB Ike Taylor (forearm) and FS [ More ]

Bruce CarterOct 30 03:22p

Dallas Cowboys LB Bruce Carter (finger) suffered a broken ring finger during practice Thursday, Oct. 30, but expects to play in Week 9. He will wear a splint on his finger for protection.

Cullen JenkinsOct 30 03:12p

New York Giants DT Cullen Jenkins (calf) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (back, hamstring) and P Steve Weatherford (ankle) were both limited in practice.

Brandon BoykinOct 30 03:12p

Philadelphia Eagles FS Nate Allen (hamstring) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. TE Brent Celek (back) and WR Brad Smith (groin) were both limited in practice. CB [ More ]

D'Qwell JacksonOct 30 03:12p

Indianapolis Colts LB D'Qwell Jackson (toe), DT Arthur Jones (ankle), LB Erik Walden (quadriceps) and LB Josh McNary (ankle) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. CB Vontae [ More ]

Rashad JenningsOct 30 02:42p

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (knee) said he is on track in terms of his rehab, but there is no timetable for his return. Jennings said he has [ More ]

Jordan CameronOct 30 02:32p

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Anthony CollinsOct 30 02:32p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers OT Oniel Cousins is working at left tackle with the first-team offense during practice Thursday, Oct. 30, because OT Anthony Collins (foot) is sitting out practice.

Doug MartinOct 30 02:22p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Doug Martin (ankle) is not participating in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Jason VerrettOct 30 01:52p

San Diego Chargers CB Jason Verrett (shoulder) is expected to miss two to three weeks with a torn labrum, according to two sources.

DeAngelo WilliamsOct 30 01:52p

Carolina Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams (ankle) will start the team's Week 9 game against the New Orleans Saints Thursday, Oct. 30, according to head coach Ron Rivera.

R. Griffin IIIOct 30 01:42p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (ankle) received most of the work with the first-team offense during practice Thursday, Oct. 30, and will start in Week 9 if he [ More ]

Jaylen WatkinsOct 30 01:32p

Philadelphia Eagles SS Earl Wolff, FS Chris Maragos and CB Jaylen Watkins could be options to start at safety if FS Nate Allen (hamstring) is not able to play in Week 9.

Giovani BernardOct 30 01:22p

Cincinnati Bengals RB Giovani Bernard (hip, shoulder) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Tony RomoOct 30 01:02p

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo (back) didn't take part in the walk-through Thursday, Oct. 30, and will not practice with the team. However, head coach Jason Garrett remains hopeful [ More ]

Trent RichardsonOct 30 12:42p

Indianapolis Colts RB Trent Richardson (hamstring) is participating in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Reggie WayneOct 30 12:42p

Indianapolis Colts WR Reggie Wayne (elbow) is not participating in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Tony RomoOct 30 12:22p

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo's (back) status is making head coach Jason Garrett feel optimistic about his availability for Week 9.

Dallas ThomasOct 30 11:43a

Miami Dolphins OG Dallas Thomas would be the most likely candidate to start at left guard if OG Daryn Colledge (illness) is not able to play in Week 9.

Rashad JenningsOct 30 11:12a

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (knee) has been ruled out for Week 9.

Phil BatesOct 30 10:52a

The Cleveland Browns signed free-agent WR Phil Bates (Seahawks) to the practice squad and released CB Marcus Cromartie Thursday, Oct. 30.

Charles SimsOct 30 10:13a

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Charles Sims could have 10 or more touches in Week 9, in the opinion of beat writer Greg Auman.

Ryan MathewsOct 30 09:52a

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (knee) is likely to sit out of the Week 9 game and return after the Week 10 bye.

Dennis PittaOct 30 09:52a

Baltimore Ravens TE Dennis Pitta (hip) may never be able to play football again after two surgeries on a fractured and dislocated hip in as many seasons.

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