The New Orleans Saints (3-5) earned their most impressive 2012 victory and third in four games as they defeated the Philadelphia Eagles (3-5), 28-13, on ESPN's Monday Night Football at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
The Saints have now won eight straight Monday Night Football contests and 12 straight games in the month of November.
"We still have a lot of work to do but tonight's win was encouraging," said Saints Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers Coach Joe Vitt. "I was proud of our football team for improving on certain things but we still have a long way to go."
QB Drew Brees completed 21-27 for 239 yards and two scores in the win.
The Saints had their strongest performance of the season on the ground as RBs Chris Ivory, Mark Ingram, Pierre Thomas and Travaris Cadet combined for 140 yards on 25 carries (5.6 average). Ivory led the way with 49 yards on 10 carries, including a 22-yard touchdown.
TE Jimmy Graham caught eight passes for 72 yards and one touchdown.
S Malcolm Jenkins led the defense with 13 tackles (seven solo). DE Cameron Jordan posted six tackles (three solo), three sacks and a forced fumble.
The Saints defense recorded three consecutive sacks of QB Michael Vick on the opening drive of the game that led to an Eagles punt and stepped up again on Philadelphia's next possession.
After a 52-yard field goal attempt was missed by K Garrett Hartley, the Eagles started with good field position and drove down to the New Orleans' six-yard line. Then, on second down, Vick's pass was tipped and intercepted by CB Patrick Robinson.
Robinson returned the ball 99 yards the other way, tied for the longest return in Saints history, for a Saints touchdown. Hartley added the extra point to give the Saints a 7-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Eagles converted on a fourth and one in the beginning of the second quarter as RB LeSean McCoy busted off a 34 yard gain on the ground that put the Eagles in a goal-to-go situation. Philadelphia was unable to convert as the defense held strong and did not give up another yard. K Alex Henery put a 22-yard field goal through the uprights to bring the score to 7-3.
The Saints offense was able to answer quickly though as they moved down the field with 59 rushing yards. Ingram broke a tackle while picking up 23 yards on the ground and Ivory capped off the seven-play scoring drive with a 22-yard rush into the endzone, his first of the season. Hartley added the extra point to increase the Saints lead to 14-3.
The Saints were able to add one more score before the end of the first half. After forcing an Eagles punt, Brees completed two passes to Graham for 30 yards and Thomas added 28 yards on the ground to move the ball down the field.
Inside the two-minute warning, Brees connected with WR Marques Colston for a one-yard touchdown pass. With the score, Brees has thrown a touchdown pass in 51 consecutive games and the reception gave Colston his 54th career touchdown, moving him past RB Dalton Hilliard for second on the club's all-time list. Hartley made the extra point and gave the Saints a 21-3 lead at halftime.
Brees and the Saints offense started with the ball in the second half and wasted no time driving down the field. Brees picked up four first downs through the air, moving the football all the way inside the Philadelphia 10-yard line. Then Brees was sacked by DE Brandon Graham who forced and recovered a fumble for the Eagles.
Two plays later, Vick hit WR DeSean Jackson for a 77-yard touchdown on a play action roll-out pass and Henery brought the game to 21-10.
On the kickoff, Cadet fumbled the football. Eagles CB Brandon Hughes recovered the ball to set up the next Philadelphia possession from the Saints 22-yard line. After an 11-yard sack by DE Will Smith moved them back, his second of the day, the Saints were able to hold the Eagles to a field goal and Henery connected on a 37-yard try.
Brees then completed five of his next six passing attempts for 60 yards through the and helped move the Saints down the field for four first downs. Brees capped off the ten-play scoring drive with a six-yard touchdown pass to Graham. The touchdown reception moved Graham into a tie for second all-time among Saints tight ends with Hoby Brenner and put him 10th on the club's all-time touchdown list. Hartley made the extra point to give the Saints a 28-13 third quarter lead. Neither team scored the rest of the way, giving the Saints the home victory.