The Philadelphia Eagles took it to the New Orleans Saints today in an absolute must win affair. Here’s the recap for the Eagles much needed week 5 victory:
The Eagles get the ball to start the game, and Josh Huff does a great job of getting upfield after a nice Riley Cooper block sets the offense up around the 45 yard line. Sam Bradford moves the chains with a screen to DeMarco Murray, before eventually falling into a 3rd and 7. Bradford misplaces the ball to Jordan Matthews who can’t hold on, bringing up a 4th and long on the New Orleans 40. Chip Kelly elects to go for it, but Bradford and Cooper can’t hook up. Turnover on downs.
New Orleans takes over on downs, and Drew Brees takes his first snap of the game, handing it off to Mark Ingram who’s stuffed. Eagles defensive line already making its presence felt early. After a completion to move the chains, Bennie Logan comes loose for a sack, before Byron Maxwell shows tight coverage to force the punt.
The Eagles put together one of their better looking drives of the season, moving methodically down the field with a series of completions. Bradford looks notably more comfortable this week, and is showing confidence in the pocket as he delivers passes with velocity. The Eagles get down inside the 15, when Bradford throws an ugly interception. Just a bad throw by Bradford who should’ve easily had Cooper for the touchdown.
New Orleans takes over and makes the Eagles pay for the turnover, gliding down field for six. The Saints got good push on the Eagles front and found room to run, before a big Brandon Cooks catch set up 1st and goal. The Eagles lineup and fail to cover Benjamin Watson, who walks in for the easy touchdown. Horrible breakdown for the Eagles D. 7-0 Saints.
Once again, the Eagles takeover and move the ball before Sam Bradford gives the ball back. Ryan Mathews repeatedly hits the hole with speed and decisiveness, ripping off 5-6 yard runs, before catching a pass in the flat and rumbling forward to move the chains. Delvin Breaux is flagged for pass interference and the Eagles move into the red zone. Bradford drops back and finds Jordan Matthews open in the back of the end zone, but the receiver drops it. It wouldn’t have made a difference, however, as Nelson Agholor was flagged for interference. Bad all the way around. Two plays later Bradford throws the ball over the middle, and Breaux redeems himself by undercutting the route and reeling in the INT. Good play by Breaux, bad decision by Bradford. That’s 2 red zone interceptions on the day. The Eagles can’t continue to leave points on the board.
The Eagles finally convert yards to points on the next drive, as DeMarco Murray finally gets going. Bradford gets outside the pocket and finds Cooper for a solid gain. Then Murray finds the edge and narrowly misses squeaking through for a big gain. Murray gets redemption soon after though, as he breaks of a big gainer on a similar play. On the next play, Bradford rolls out and finds Josh Huff along the far sideline. Huff turns upfield and, after two Saints defenders collide, walks in for the 40 yard touchdown. The Eagles finally find pay dirt, knotting it up at 7-7.
The Eagles kick off and Chris Maragos quickly gets down field and absolutely levels the returner who barely holds onto the ball. The Saints offense, meanwhile, just look out of sync today, and goes 3 and out once again.
It’s the Eagles ball, and they move it once again. The play of the drive was a beautifully threaded pass to Zach Ertz, who made an excellent catch to move the sticks. DeMarco Murray and Darren Sproles combine to pick up some tough yards, before the Eagles face a 4th and 9. Chip opts to go for it in lieu of a 55 yard field goal try, but Keenan Lewis has good coverage on Cooper and forces the incompletion. Both Cooper and Agholor come up lame on the play, but make their way over to the sideline. Agholor may have cramps as he grabs for his calf, and Cooper seems to have shaken off an apparent shoulder injury.
In typical Brees fashion, the New Orleans QB hangs in the pocket and throws a dime to Snead before absorbing a hit. The Saints move into the red zone, however, good coverage brings on a big sack by Fletcher Cox, who nearly pulls the ball out. On 3rd and forever, the Saints run a screen to C.J. Spiller that Malcolm Jenkins sniffs out and turns into a loss. Great resilience by the Eagles defense.
Horrible job by the officials on this drive. First, Jordan Matthews shakes wide open for a big gain, but flags fly. Lewis gets called for a face mask, but OPI on Matthews negates it, and forces a replay of the down. The replay shows an awful call against Matthews, who simply annihilated Lewis within 5 yards of the LOS. Then, on the ensuing play, Darren Sproles is upended by Kenny Vaccarro before the ball reaches him. The flag is thrown but ultimately picked up. Horrendous.
The Saints regain possession but divine intervention prevails. Fletcher Cox bursts pass his man to bring down Brees for the strip-sack. There’s quite a bit of deliberation, but the Eagles are ultimately rewarded possession. However, an Eagles coach is called for an incredibly stupid unsportsmanlike conduct, backing the offense up 15 yards.
Matthews reels in a pass and shakes loose for a gain of 19, before catching the next ball for the conversion. After an incompletions and a Cooper drop, Bradford is faced with a 3rd and long. Bradford escaped the rush and fires just out of the reach of Miles Austin. Josh Huff may have been interfered with, but no call. Sturgis comes on and hits the 39 yard field goal to give the Eagles the lead, 10-7.
New Orleans receives the squib kick and Brees puts a knee on it to end the half. 10-7, Eagles, who have compiled over 300 yards of total offense in the first half, but only have a touchdown and a field goal to show for it.
The Saints get the ball to start the half and Brees almost immediately goes downfield, finding Cooks out of the slot for a 46 yard gain. Malcolm Jenkins was in coverage, and gave Cooks free release. Jenkins has been good in the slot, but allowing a speed threat like Cooks free release is a bad look. Brees avoids a Brandon Graham rush for the second time on the drive and steps up to find Colston for 17. The Eagles bear down in the red zone though, as good coverage forces the field goal try which is good. 10-10 all.
The Eagles take over and are just flat out moving now. For the first time all season the Eagles are finding room on outside runs. Lineman are moving well and staying on assignment. DeMarco Murray rips off a few solid runs before Matthews is hit in stride for a first down. Sproles hits the sideline for another first and change, and then Bradford rolls out to find Huff, who fights and nearly backs into the end zone. Following a Saints time out, Ryan Mathews plows through reaching across the plane for the touchdown. Impressive drive for Philadelphia, who responds following the New Orleans field goal to make it 17-10, Eagles.
The Fletcher Cox show is on full display. On the first play of the drive Cox blows by his man and pulls down Brees, slapping the ball out in the process. Cox then jumps on the ball to complete the trifecta; sack, strip, recovery. That’s Cox’s 3rd sack of the day, and second that resulted in a fumble list for the Saints. Pay. This. Man.
Sam Bradford drops back and finds Celek wide open in the end zone on the very next play. There wasn’t anybody in the vicinity on what was clearly a broken play. Sturgis comes on and misses the extra point (of course). Sturgis is bad and Chip clearly has no confidence in him at all. Sturgis must go. 23-10, Eagles.
The Saints regain possession and narrowly convert a first down, but ultimately are forced to punt. Malcolm Jenkins does a great job of using the sideline as leverage to force the incompletion on Spiller. The punt, by the way, is about as bad a shank as you’ll ever see, with very little net change. This is where the injury to starting punter Thomas Morestead comes into play. Eagles take over right at the 50.
Bradford and the Eagles move up to the 10 but ultimately fail to get the touchdown. Murray shows decisiveness on an inside zone run, and then Bradford finds Celek open over the middle for a nice gain. A 3rd and 9 after 2 stuffed runs puts the Eagles at unfavorable down and distance, and Bradford throws short of the sticks. Sturgis chips in a gimme 29-yarder, and the Eagles are out to a 16 point lead, 26 to 10.
The Saints get the ball and again can’t get anything going. Brees nearly throws an interception on 3rd down as the Eagles defense quickly gets off the field.
The Eagles offense is just imposing its will on the Saints defense now, as the Eagles OL is just teeing off on the defensive front. Ryan Mathews is getting room to run, and is punishing the defense, sprinting upfield for gains of 10 and 20 plus. The offensive line has been excellent today. The Saints hold tough at the goal line after a tremendous Matthews effort to get down to the 5, and Sturgis comes on to convert the field goal try. It’s a 3 possession game, 29-10 Eagles.
New Orleans is in desperation mode now, and Drew Brees unloads a deep ball for Snead. Snead gained separation on Carroll and hauls it in for 59 yards. The Saints are knocking on the door, as Brees dumps it off to his backup tight end, who DeMeco Ryans drills and pops the ball loose from. Byron Maxwell picks up the ball and the Eagles have their third fumble recovery of the day.
The Eagles continue their dominance, churning out yards and moving at will. Murray takes a handoff off right tackle that goes for 9, and then catches a short pass for another 13. Bradford does a good job of getting out of the pocket and threads a ball to Matthews on a crosser but the receiver drops it. For such a great performance today the drops have still be awful. A false start penalty on Lane Johnson follows a defensive holding penalty that negates a sack, and then drive stalls soon after. Sturgis hits a 41 yard field goal to make it 32-10.
The Saints take over in what’s now a pretty hopeless situation. Drew Brees looks to go down field and is picked by Walter Thurmond, who jumped the route. Thurmond takes it down to the Saints 5, and the Eagles give it to Murray who walks in for 6. It’s a blow out, 39-10.
The Saints get the ball back and move it down field with the Eagles playing intentionally soft in coverage. A Bryan Braman sack makes the offense sputter, but Brees ultimately finds Cooks for the 14 yard score. That’s the final play of the game and this one goes in the books as a convincing 39-17 victory for the Eagles.
The New Orleans Saints did not play good football at all today, but make no mistake, this was still a very good win for the Eagles. Chip Kelly entered week 5 in a must win situation, and came away with a convincing victory.
The Eagles dominated the Saints in all phases of the game. After throwing 2 costly red zone interceptions, Bradford settled in and played well. The offensive line had far and away its best performance to date, and the running backs did a great job of hitting the hole and moving the chains. Josh Huff made a few nice plays, and had the best game of his career, although Matthews and the other receivers continue to struggle with drops.
The defense had another very good outing, only letting up 10 non garbage-times points. Fletcher Cox had a monster game against both the run and the pass, and other than a few X plays, the secondary continues to be much improved from last season. The outside linebackers didn’t make the splash that fans would’ve hoped, but the defense still got it done.
Overall, it’s a great win for the Eagles who dominated throughout. The Eagles have the Giants on Monday Night Football next week in a potential 1st place bout.
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