<span> <span style="">Philadelphia</span> – For the second consecutive week the New Orleans Saints (2-0) met a NFC foe and rolled to a convincing victory. Today's opponent, the Philadelphia Eagles (1-1), had pulled to within four points of the Saints at the half, 17-13, but the Saints exploded for two touchdowns within four minutes of each other to start the second half and never looked back, winning 48-22.
"I think it was a big win for us in all three phases of the game," said Head Coach Sean Payton after the game. "We made at least one big play on special teams, led by the forced fumble to start the second half that took it from a four point lead to an 11 point lead."
Payton continued, saying, "This is a very good team we played today and this is a really tough place to play. I think looking back on it, I would say that the turnover battle was probably the deciding factor in the game today."
QB Drew Brees threw three touchdown passes (two to WR Marques Colston and one to FB Pierre Thomas/Heath Evans.aspx">Heath Evans), the Saints' rushing game banged home two more (Mike Bell and Reggie Bush), and the Saints' defense added one via a team-tying record 97-yard interception return by Darren Sharper in the fourth quarter. The Saints, who were 2-6 on the road last season, started this season off on the right foot in each of their two games.
Drew Brees completed 25-of-34 passes for 311 yards with three touchdowns and one interception for a passer rating of 118.6, while Mike Bell (17-86-1 TD) and Reggie Bush (10-33-1 TD) helped the Saints eclipse the 100-yard rushing mark en route to the big road win. WR Marques Colston had a team-high eight receptions for 98 yards and two scores, while TE Jeremy Shockey chipped in with four receptions for 48 yards. Bush and WR Devery Henderson each added three receptions, with Henderson making the catch of the day on a 38 yard sideline route in the second half. The Saints converted six-of-13 third downs (46%) and never trailed in the game, even though they were out-gained 463 yards to 421 by the Eagles.
The Saints' defense had three interceptions and forced a fumble and turned three of the four scores into points, thus proving to be the difference in the nationally televised affair. LB Scott Shanle had a team-high 11 tackles and recorded his second game in a row with an interception after he recorded his first career interception last week. S Roman Harper had seven stops and a sack, while CB Jabari Greer and LB Jonathan Vilma each added seven tackles to the Saints' performance. The Saints recorded five passes defensed and two sacks and saw improved play from their special teams coverage units, which included a key fumble forced to start the second half, which the team converted into a touchdown a few plays later.
The Saints led 17-13 at halftime, but exploded for two touchdowns in four minutes to begin the second half and lead the Eagles, 41-22. Drew Brees has thrown three touchdown passes and Mike Bell and Reggie Bush have each added rushing scores for the Saints.
The Saints took the opening kickoff and began their inaugural drive at their own 26 yard-line. QB Drew Brees started the game with three consecutive completions, all to tight ends, picking up gains of 11 yards, seven and 15 yards before Mike Bell took the first of two rushes for the Saints. The key play on the opening drive was a third down completion for five yards on a third-and-four to TE Jeremy Shockey.
WR Robert Meachem then took an end around for a gain of 15 yards to the Eagles' 15, and on the next play Brees found a wide open Marques Colston in the corner of the end zone for the Saints' opening score. On the drive Brees completed five-of-five passes for 53 yards and the score.
Philadelphia came right back, and although they started at their own 15 yard line, picked up a first down on a third-and-two from the Saints' 23 when WR DeSean Jackson picked up six yards on a scramble for the first down. On the next play, WR Kevin Kolb dropped back and fired a deep pass across the middle to Jackson, who turned up the field and outraced Saints' defenders for a 71-yard touchdown that knotted the game at 7-7 following the extra point.
New Orleans' offense suffered a setback on first down at their own 20 when Brees was sacked for a nine-yard loss by DE Trent Cole. The Saints' were forced to punt on fourth down after picking up 15 of the needed 19 yards on a third down completion to Colston, but Morstead bailed the Saints out with a 50-yard punt that was fair caught by Jackson. On the play the Eagles' Chris Clemons was flagged for a personal foul penalty that pushed the ball back to the Philadelphia 11 to start their second possession.
Bryant Westbrook began the Eagles' drive with two consecutive carries and picked up six yards and seven yards. Jackson was then flagged for a false start penalty. Westbrook picked up four yards on first down but CB Tracy Porter helped break up a second down pass intended for WR Kevin Curtis. On third and 11, DE Will Smith pressured Kolb into throwing an incompletion and the Eagles were forced to punt. The Eagles were flagged for an illegal shift and the Saints made the home team re-punt. P Sav Rocco managed a 34-yard punt to the New Orleans 47 with 5:15 left in the first quarter.
RB Mike Bell ripped off a 23-yard run on second down, following a block by right guard Jahri Evans that took the ball to the Philadelphia 30. New Orleans could not advance the ball any further than the Philadelphia four and settled for a 23-yard John Carney field goal that put the Saints ahead 10-7 with 2:10 left in the first quarter.
Thomas Morstead's ensuing kickoff sailed out of bounds following Carney's field goal and the Eagles began their third drive at their own 40. Westbrook took a direct snap and picked up five yards on first down and the Eagles tried a reverse pass on second down but the Saints' pressure and tight coverage forced an incompletion. A big hit on third down on Jackson by CB Jabari Greer forced a third down incompletion and the Eagles punted the ball away, as it ducked into the end zone for the touchback.
The Saints, starting at their own 20, began the drive with a four-yard pickup by Bell. Brees hit Colston on a wide receiver screen for eight yards and a first down to the New Orleans 24 on the final play of the first quarter.
The Saints drove all the way into eagles territory, in large part due to a 19-yard completion on third-and-long between Brees and Henderson, but a third-and-two from the Eagles' 29 blew up on the Saints when Brees's pass intended for TE David Thomas was tipped and intercepted by weakside linebacker Akeem Jordan, thwarting the Saints' attempt to widen their lead.
Philly continued to mix in a wide variety of wildcat formations and mixed runs and short passes and moved from the Saints' 27 to their own 36 on intermediate runs and short passes. On third-and-six from the 36, Kolb connected with TE Brent Celek for a gain of nine yards and a first down. Westbrook then tried his hand but was stacked up for no gain. On second down Kolb hit WR David Maclin for a six yard gain, which gain brought up a third-and-four, but Kolb, in the face of a corner blitz, hit WR Jason Avant for a gain of eight yards to the New Orleans 10.
Roman Harper sacked Kolb for a loss of six yards on first down, a second down completion between Kolb and Celek picked up 11 yards, but a third down pass that was very nearly intercepted by DT Anthony Hargrove forced the Eagles to settle for a 23-yard field goal that knotted the game at 10-10 with 2:38 left in the first half.
The Saints then tried to mount a two minute offense but were stymied again by another sack and couldn't advance the ball past their own 40. The Saints pinned the Eagles inside the own 5 on a Morstead punt and used their timeouts to preserve the clock and forced the Eagles to punt, with the Saints starting at their own 46. Brees coolly hit a wide open Bush down the sideline for a 29 yard gain and on the next play soared a pass into the end zone a twisting Colston made for his second touchdown catch of the day that made the score 17-10 in the Saints' favor.
The Eagles, though, mustered an impressive hurry up offense and were able to connect on a 32-yard field by David Akers to end the first half with the Saints ahead, 17-13. The two teams were nearly identical in total yardage at halftime, with the home Eagles holding a four yards advantage (250 to 246 yards). Both squads had an identical 190 yards of passing offense at the half, and the Eagles holding the edge in rushing yards (60 for the Eagles to 56 for the Saints).
The Eagles accepted the opening kickoff to begin the second half of play the ever-dangerous Ellis Hobbs returned the ball to the 23 where Malcolm Jenkins reached in and popped the ball loose from Hobbs and an alert Chris Reis pounced on the ball at the 23. Brees hit Bush on a swing pass for six yards, and then Bell slammed into the middle for a gain of seven yards. Brees, from the 11, then rolled out to his right and found Pierre Thomas/Heath Evans.aspx">Heath Evans cutting across the field and perfectly laid the ball into his hands and the big fullback turned up field and bounced off two tacklers and managed to cross the goal line. The referees ruled the play a touchdown, but the Eagles challenged that Evans was out of bounds at the three yard-line. The Eagles lost the challenged and were assessed one of their three timeouts.
Following a touchback, the Eagles began at their own 20 and picked up four yards on a carry by Westbrook. Kolb then tried to find Jackson along the sideline but LB Scott Shanle perfectly read the route and intercepted Kolb's pass and returned the ball to the Philly 24. An incomplete pass on a throw away was followed by a hard run by Bell for six yards to the 18. On third down Brees found Robert Meachem for a gain 11 yards and a first down to the Philly seven. On the next play Bell took the ball around the right end and dove the final yard into the end zone for another Saints score, putting the Saints up 31-13 with 11:39 left in the third quarter.
Philly then committed another gaffe on special teams and were forced to start at their own 6. A short run and a long bomb attempt that was incomplete brought up a third-and-six but Kolb's third down pass attempt to Westbrook was incomplete as Jonathan Vilma was close in coverage and the Eagles were forced to call on Rocca's services again, this time getting a 61-yard punt.
New Orleans, leading 31-13, began a drive at their own 23 and lost four yards on a screen pass to RB Pierre Thomas that was sniffed out by the Eagles' defenders. Bell then managed to pick up three yards, which put the Black-and-Gold in another third-and-long, but Brees perfectly lofted a 38-yard pass to Devery Henderson, who made a diving over-the-shoulder reception along the sideline for the first down to the Eagles' 40. Bell then picked up three yards on first down and Brees came right back with a 13-yard completion to Colston for another first down. Two Bell runs netted four yards to the Philly 22 and brought up a third-and-six, and Brees calmly found Colston over the middle for a gain of 12 yards to the Philly 8. Bell slammed into the right side of the line for a hard earned one-yard gain, then just missed connecting with Shockey over the middle on second down and couldn't hook up with Reggie Bush on third down from the seven. John Carney came on to hammer home a 25-yard field goal that put the Saints ahead 34-13 with 4:10 left in the third quarter.
Hobbs then found a crease and raced 63 yards to the New Orleans 35. Kolb then hit Jackson on a screen for 15 yards and a first down. Westbrook then picked up two yards on a carry and Kolb was pressured by Will Smith and Charles Grant on second down, forcing him to throw the ball away. Kolb, however, did connect with a reaching Jason Avant for a 14-yard gain to the Saints' 4. Grant stopped Westbrook at the line of scrimmage and an attempted wildcat pass from Westbrook to Leonard Weaver was incomplete. A big third down stop on rookie RB LeSean McCoy by Jabari Greer and Darren Sharper on third down brought about a fourth-and-goal from the three. Kolb rolled out and appeared to found Avant in sliding across the back of the end zone. The officials ruled the pass a catch and a score, but Saints' Head Coach Sean Payton challenged the ruling, saying that Avant trapped the ball. The officials, after the review, ruled that the catch was good and the Eagles cut into the Saints' lead 34-20 with: 29 left in the third quarter.
Brees and the Saints' offense then began at their own 26 following Courtney Roby's 27 yard kickoff return. A first down pass from Brees to Pierre Thomas/Heath Evans.aspx">Heath Evans in the flat was ruled a catch and a fumble that was recovered by LB Omar Gaither, but Payton immediately challenged the ruling on the field and following the replay, sided with the Saints and the Saints retained possession of the football. Bell then picked up one yard on second-and-ten on the last play of the third quarter. Brees found David Thomas for a gain of eight yards. The Saints elected to run the clock all the way down and called on Morstead to hit a high, angling punt down the sideline that Jackson fielded before being dumped by Jenkins after a one-yard return.
Philadelphia, beginning a drive at their own 25 with 13:46 left, tried the left side of the side with Westbrook but Sedrick Ellis wrapped him up for a one-yard loss. Anthony Hargrove shot through the middle and forced Kolb to through incomplete and then pressure and tight coverage from Greer on a route run by Jackson equaled a three-and-out and Rocca hit a wobbly 26-yard punt out of bounds.
Bell found a hole and bolted for 14 yards on first down, but then was injured on a subsequent first down carry at the Philly 32. After Bell was helped off the field, Bush picked up seven yards on a carry and kept the clock ticking and the chains moving. Bush then picked up a yard and Brees found Evans for a gain of five yards on second down. On a third down, Bush took a handoff and bolted through the middle for a 19-yard touchdown run (his second longest career touchdown run), that sent the Eagles' faithful pouring towards the Lincoln Financial pouring to the exits. The score, following Bush's run, was 41-20 in favor of the Saints.
Philadelphia then mounted a frantic attempt to close the 21-point margin and went to a hurry-up offense and drove the length of field. The Saints' stopped the Eagles at their own five on downs with 5:12 left in the game. New Orleans then kept things simple and just pounded away at the middle of the defense with their back to the goal-line, electing to burn as much time as possible off of the clock. The Saints elected to take a safety on a fourth down facing a fourth-and-14 at their own one, with 3:36 left in the game, making the score 41-22.
Darren Sharper added a 97-yard interception return with :55 left in the game to move into a tie for tenth place on the NFL's all-time interceptions list and in the process, extended the Saints' lead to 48-22. The interception return tied Tommy Myers' team-record for the longest interception return in team history (1978)/
Weather: Temperature at kickoff was 69 degree with the wind out of the southeast at two miles per hour.
Coin Toss: The Saint won the coin and elected to receive the opening kickoff.
Notes: The following players were declared inactive for the game: WR Rod Harper, CB Leigh Torrence, RB Lynell Hamilton, LB Jonathan Casillas, C Heath Evans/Nick Leckey.aspx">Nick Leckey, T Jammal Brown, NT Will Smith/Kendrick Clancy.aspx">Kendrick Clancy and TE Darnell Dinkins… Brees eclipsed the 300-yard mark for the 25th time in his 50th regular season game as a member of the Saints… Bobby McCray notched his first sack of the season on a thunderous fourth quarter blindside sack
The Eagles inactive players were: QB Donovan McNabb, QB Michael Vick, WR Brandon Gibson, S Quintin Demps, LB Joe Mays, G Mike McGlynn, G/T Todd Herremans and WR Reggie Brown.
Injury Note: WR Lance Moore left the game with a hamstring injury and was ruled out in the third quarter.
- Saints QB Drew Brees completed 25-of-34 passes for 311 yards with 3 touchdown passes and one interception. His passer rating was 118.6. It was the 25th 300-yard passing game by Brees as a Saint.
- RB Mike Bell led the Saints in rushing with 17 carries for 86 yards with one touchdown.
- RB Reggie Bush finished second on the Saints in rushing with 10 carries for 33 yards, including a 19-yard touchdown burst. With three receptions for 42 yards, Bush had a total of 75 yards from scrimmage
- WR Marques Colston led the Saints in receiving with eight receptions for 98 yards and two touchdowns. With the two touchdown grabs, Colston now has 27 in his career, tying him with former Saints TE Henry Childs four fourth place on the club's all-time list.
- WR Devery Henderson had 71 yards on three receptions. Henderson's 38-yard grab was the Saints' longest play from scrimmage in the game.
- LB Scott Shanle had an interception for the second consecutive week, the second of his career, also leading the club with 11 tackles.
- The Saints have started 2-0 for the sixth-time in club history, the second time in Payton's four-year tenure they have achieved the mark.
- The win marks the first time the Saints have won in Philadelphia since they defeated the Eagles 13-6 at Veteran's Stadium on October 13, 1991.
- Along with the 45-point output in the season opener vs. Detroit, this marks the first time in franchise history the Saints have scored at least 40 points in two consecutive games.