Saints march on after ending playoff road drought

Sun Jan 5, 2014 1:59am EST
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(Reuters) - The New Orleans Saints beat the NFC East champion Philadelphia Eagles 26-24 in the wild card playoff round on Saturday, ending a road jinx with their first playoff win away from home in the history of the franchise.

Shayne Graham kicked a 32-yard field goal through the middle of the uprights for the winning score as the clock hit zero less than five minutes after the Eagles took a 24-23 lead on a three-yard touchdown pass from Nick Foles to tight end Zach Ertz.

The winning drive was set up by a 39-yard kickoff return by Darren Sproles extended by a 15-yard penalty for a horse-collar tackle that put the ball on Philadelphia 48-yard line.

Drew Brees completed 20-of-30 passes for 250 yards and a touchdown, while Mark Ingram ran for 97 yards on 18 carries for New Orleans, who controlled the line of scrimmage in gaining 185 yards rushing.

"We know what type of team we are," Brees told reporters. "We know how good we can be. It was just a matter of putting it all together.

"This was great, coming on the road, in a hostile environment against one of the hottest teams in football."

On the other side of the ball, the Saints defense stifled the prolific running game of the Eagles, holding NFL rushing leader LeSean McCoy to 77 yards on 21 carries and yielding only three other yards on the ground.

New Orleans, who had lost all five of their previous road playoff games since joining the National Football League in 1967, will travel to Seattle to play the top-seeded NFC West champion Seahawks next week.

Despite their lack of success away from their climate-controlled Superdome home, Saints coach Sean Payton said his team was supremely confident.   Continued...

Jan 4, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New Orleans Saints kicker Shayne Graham (3) kicks the game-winning field goal against the Philadelphia Eagles during the fourth quarter of the 2013 NFC wild card playoff football game at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports