Sunday November 29th, 2015 2:28PM

Saints edge Eagles 26-24 in NFC wild-card game

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor
PHILADELPHIA -- The New Orleans Saints finally came up with the right plan for outdoor playoff football in cold weather. It got them their first postseason road victory.

Shayne Graham's 32-yard field goal, the fourth of the game for the recent addition to the team, won it on the final play, 26-24 over the Philadelphia Eagles on Saturday night. Drew Brees, who threw for a touchdown and guided the 34-yard drive to the winning kick, didn't need to be a big star because the Saints' running game and defense - along with Graham's leg - provided the heroics.

"It's just, man, believing in each other, ignoring what everyone else has to say," Brees said.

New Orleans had been 0-5 in postseason games outside of the Big Easy since entering the league in 1967. The Saints (12-5) will play at NFC top-seed Seattle next Saturday; they lost there 34-7 in the regular season.

"It's loud, it's crazy, they've got a good thing going there," Brees said of the next challenge.

Graham, signed by the Saints just over two weeks ago to replace long-time kicker Garrett Hartley, also connected from 36, 46 and 35 yards.

Brees threw for a touchdown, Mark Ingram rushed for 97 yards and another score, and the Saints' defense slowed Chip Kelly's up-tempo offense just enough.

Philadelphia wound up 10-7 in Kelly's first year as coach. He guided them from worst to first in the NFC East, but they were only 4-5 at home.

Nick Foles hit rookie Zach Ertz for a 3-yard touchdown with 4:54 remaining as Philadelphia rallied from a 13-point deficit to take a one-point lead. But Darren Sproles had a 39-yard kickoff return and a horse-collar tackle brought New Orleans to the Philadelphia 48. Using mostly runs, the Saints ate up the clock and set up Graham's winner.

"We know what we're all about," he said. "This was a great testament to that. Coming on the road, hostile environment, great team, one of the hottest teams in football and getting one of those big victories."

Two teams with prolific offenses couldn't get on track for much of the wild-card game.

Graham's 46-yarder as the first half ended made it 7-6 as everyone wondered where all the offensive fireworks went. The teams combined for an average of 816.7 yards and 53.5 points per game during the regular season.

When Riley Cooper, who earlier scored Philadelphia's first touchdown, had a huge drop in the third quarter, the Saints immediately made Philly pay. A 66-yard drive highlighted by Benjamin Watson's 27-yard reception led to Ingram's TD from the 4 for a 20-7 lead.

That's when the Eagles finally made a dynamic play with the ball, DeSean Jackson's leaping 40-yard catch over Corey White. NFL rushing leader LeSean McCoy scored from the 1 on fourth down to make things close.

Jackson helped make it closer with a 29-yard punt return that set up Alex Henery's 31-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter, cutting the Saints' lead to 20-17.

Another 40-yard completion, from Brees to seldom-used Robert Meachem, led to Graham's 35-yard field goal, setting up the frantic finish.

Jackson was the central figure in setting up Ertz's go-ahead score, drawing a 40-yard pass interference call on the beleaguered White. But Brees then guided the winning drive.
© Copyright 2015
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
2014 Top 10: Looking back at the top sports stories of the year
It was another year for the record books in 2014, mostly for the right reasons -- state championships, new challenges and new stars taking their turn to shine. But there were also plenty of big stories that reminded us that sports -- like life -- isn
11:55PM ( 10 months ago )
NASCAR K&N Pro Series schedules set for 2015
DAYTONA BEACH, FL - NASCAR announced recently the 2015 schedules for its top developmental regional touring series, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.
2:00PM ( 10 months ago )
Lanierland boys final: Johnson makes history with win over Red Elephants <b> (VIDEO) </b>
Ever the aggressor on the court, Johnson
8:55AM ( 10 months ago )
Pits will be tight as Chili Bowl entry count hits 316
TULSA, OK - The 29th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals presented by General Tire is on track to be a record smashing event, with the entry count climbing over the 300 mark for the first time to 316 entries confirming 303 drivers for the indoor spectacular happening Tuesday, January 13 through Saturday, January 17 at the Tulsa Expo Center in Tulsa, OK.
9:59AM ( 10 months ago )
Falcons fire Mike Smith after 2nd straight losing season
Mike Smith's status as the winningest coach in Falcons history wasn't enough to save his job. Owner Arthur Blank said he fired Smith on Monday because in his "heart of hearts" he didn't believe Smith could take the Falcons to the Super Bowl.
7:58PM ( 10 months ago )
New promoters in place for 2015 at Senoia Raceway
SENOIA, GA - Lease papers have been signed and a team of new promoters is in place for the upcoming stock car racing season at Senoia Raceway in Senoia, GA.
6:00AM ( 11 months ago )
Professional Sports
Georgia's Richt stepping down following 'mutual' decision
Georgia coach Mark Richt is stepping down after 15 seasons in what is being called a "mutual" decision...
By AccessWDUN Staff
1:05PM ( 1 hour ago )
Run game, defense helps Dogs seal victory over Jackets, 9-win campaign
Mark Richt trotted over to a corner of Bobby Dodd Stadium, where the Georgia band played and the red-clad faithful had nothing but cheers for the embattled coach.
11:59PM ( 14 hours ago )
Watson puts up 4 TDs and No. 1 Clemson moves to 12-0 with 37-32 win over South Carolina
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Deshaun Watson isn't giving up on Clemson's step-by-step approach, not when it's worked so well. Watson had another big day, running for three touchdowns and passing for a fourth...
11:58PM ( 14 hours ago )
Boys basketball: Vikings bounce back from loss with win over Paideia
Jacquen Hopkins led four players in double figures with 14 points as East Hall beat Paideia 68-54 Saturday in the Hoopsgiving Classic at Holy Innocents High School.
By AccessWDUN Staff
11:57PM ( 14 hours ago )
Girls basketball: East Hall knocks off Alabama state champs in Hoopsgiving Classic
The East Hall girls knocked off defending Class AAAAAAA Alabama state champion Huntsville 65-37 Saturday in the Hoopsgiving Classic at Holy Innocents High School.
By AccessWDUN Staff
11:50PM ( 14 hours ago )