Eagles
Saints
24 - 27 Final
  for this game

McAllister leads Saints to first NFC championship game

Jan 14, 2007 - 5:40 AM NEW ORLEANS (Ticker) -- Deuce McAllister and the New Orleans Saints will get to write another chapter to their storybook season.

McAllister rushed for a touchdown and caught another score as the Saints advanced to the NFC championship game for the first time in their 40-year history with a 27-24 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.

Sparked by McAllister, dynamic rookie Reggie Bush and the steady play of quarterback Drew Brees, the second-seeded Saints - a season removed from vacating the Crescent City due to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina - moved within a win of an improbable Super Bowl berth.

"I was just trying to have the will to win," McAllister said. "As much as this team has been through, as much as this city has been through, we were just determined to leave it out on the field. I didn't do it by myself. The offensive line and the fullbacks did a great job up front."

New Orleans (11-6) will face either top-seeded Chicago or fourth-seeded Seattle next Sunday. The Saints became the first team in NFL history to reach a conference title game after losing 13 games the previous season.

"That curse of the Superdome ... this is a different team, a different time," first-year Saints coach Sean Payton said. "This is a team ready to play in the postseason. We'll be ready to play next week."

It also is an amazing turnaround for a franchise that has been called the Aints and in the past featured people coming to the Superdome with paper bags over their heads. However, those days are now long gone.

The Saints improved to just 2-5 in their postseason history.

"We're so proud to be able to give this to the city," Brees said. "But we're not done yet. We've got a few more steps."

The NFL's feel-good story after they were supplanted from the Superdome last season, the Saints continued to show their resiliency, battling back from a 21-13 third-quarter deficit behind their high-powered offense.

McAllister's five-yard touchdown run answered a 62-yard scoring jaunt by Brian Westbrook with 9:36 left in the third quarter and pulled the Saints within 21-20.

On the Saints' next possession, McAllister scored on an 11-yard screen pass, putting a nifty fake on linebacker Jeremiah Trotter in the left flat on his way to the end zone and giving New Orleans a 27-21 lead with 65 seconds left in the third quarter.

McAllister rushed for 143 yards on 21 rushes and Bush gained 52 on 12 carries with a TD for the Saints, who piled up 208 of their 435 yards on the ground. Brees completed 20-of-32 passes for 243 yards and a touchdown.

"Deuce was great today," Bush said. "He looked fast, he looked quick. It was probably one of his better games of the year."

"We were able to get a significant push and challenge those guys (the Eagles)," Payton said. "We had two weeks off, and they're coming off a short week, so one of the things we wanted to do was get the running game going and push their defense. I thought we succeeded. Certainly we did there at the end when it was important."

After a pitch went off Bush's hands and resulted in a fumble with 3:18 remaining, the Saints also received a big stand from their defense.

On 4th-and-10 from his 44, Eagles quarterback Jeff Garcia hit Hank Baskett over the middle for a first down. But right guard Scott Young, who came on for injured Pro Bowler Shawn Andrews, was called for a false start.

Eagles coach Andy Reid decided to punt on 4th-and-15 with 1:56 left and two timeouts.

"In hindsight maybe we should have done that (gone for the first down)," Reid said. "I thought we had a chance to get the football back, but we didn't."

Three runs by McAllister resulted in a first down, allowing the Saints to kill the clock and end Philadelphia's bid for a fifth title game appearance in the last six seasons.

Earlier in the fourth quarter, the Saints also stiffened defensively to maintain their lead. Trailing 27-21, the Eagles had a 2nd-and-1 on the Saints 4 but were unable to pick up a first down and had to settle for David Akers' 24-yard field goal.

Westbrook rushed for 116 yards and two TDs and Garcia threw for a score for the third-seeded Eagles (11-7), who were not even expected to make the playoffs after star quarterback Donovan McNabb suffered a season-ending knee injury on November 19.

John Carney connected on field goals of 33 yards in the first quarter and 23 yards in the second quarter to give the Saints a 6-0 lead.

Garcia recovered from a slow start to loft a 75-yard touchdown pass to former Saint Donte' Stallworth with 13:38 remaining in the second quarter, giving the Eagles a 7-6 lead.

The Saints answered with a clock-eating, 14-play, 78-yard drive that lasted more than eight minutes to go back in front.

Bush, who was the recipient of a full-speed hit in the right flat by cornerback Sheldon Brown on the Saints' second offensive play, showed he was more than recovered. He was stopped in the middle, then bounced outside for a four-yard TD run, giving the Saints a 13-7 advantage with 5:19 left in the half.

However, the Eagles embarked on an 11-play, 80-yard march, with Westbrook diving over the top with 50 seconds left in the first half.

A fiery leader, Garcia completed 9-of-17 passes for 179 yards in the first half. He finished 15-of-30 for 240 yards without a turnover.

On the third offensive play of the third quarter, Westbrook busted up the middle and cut down the right sideline on his way to a 62-yard TD - the longest in franchise history in the postseason - to give the Eagles a 21-13 advantage.

Brees had a 29-yard completion to seldom-used tight end Billy Miller on the Saints' ensuing possession. On the next play, McAllister rumbled up the middle and bowled his way into the end zone for a five-yard TD.

"Deuce said he was going to put us on his back, and he delivered. He's a horse," Brees said.

Miller had four catches for 64 yards.

Ranked first in the NFL in total offense during the regular season, the Saints used a nine-play, 84-yard drive that lasted more than six minutes on their second possession of the third quarter to move in front for good.








  • DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    PHILADELPHIA 0 14 7 3 24
    NEW ORLEANS 3 10 14 0 27 FINAL
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: NOR - FG, JOHN CARNEY 33 YD, 5:36. Drive: 5
    plays, 35 yards in 2:05. Key plays:
    McAllister 28-yard run to
    Philadelphia 22. NEW ORLEANS 3-0
    2ND QUARTER

    Jan 13 11:17 PM
  • 60
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 12 roots

    Eagles vs. SaintsJan 13 11:08 PM
  • 48
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 43 roots

    Eagles vs. SaintsJan 13 11:06 PM
  • 5
    roots
    mark Added 5 roots

    Eagles vs. SaintsJan 13 10:55 PM


  • DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    FG PHI
    DAVID AKERS 24 YD
    PHILADELPHIA 24
    NEW ORLEANS 27 11:06 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Eagles vs. SaintsJan 13 10:43 PM


  • DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    END, 3RD QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    PHILADELPHIA 0 14 7 21
    NEW ORLEANS 3 10 14 27 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: NOR - FG, JOHN CARNEY 33 YD, 5:36. Drive: 5
    plays, 35 yards in 2:05. Key plays:
    McAllister 28-yard run to
    Philadelphia 22. NEW ORLEANS 3-0
    2ND

    Jan 13 10:35 PM


  • DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    TD NOR
    DEUCE MCALLISTER 11 YD PASS FROM DREW BREES
    (JOHN CARNEY KICK)
    PHILADELPHIA 21
    NEW ORLEANS 27 1:05 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Eagles vs. SaintsJan 13 10:30 PM
  • 20
    roots
    Matthew Added 10 roots

    Eagles vs. SaintsJan 13 10:14 PM


  • DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    TD NOR
    DEUCE MCALLISTER 5 YD RUN
    (JOHN CARNEY KICK)
    PHILADELPHIA 21
    NEW ORLEANS 20 9:36 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Eagles vs. SaintsJan 13 10:10 PM


  • DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    TD PHI
    BRIAN WESTBROOK 62 YD RUN
    (DAVID AKERS KICK)
    PHILADELPHIA 21
    NEW ORLEANS 13 13:25 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Eagles vs. SaintsJan 13 10:00 PM


  • DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    HALFTIME 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    PHILADELPHIA 0 14 14
    NEW ORLEANS 3 10 13 HALFTIME
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: NOR - FG, JOHN CARNEY 33 YD, 5:36. Drive: 5
    plays, 35 yards in 2:05. Key plays:
    McAllister 28-yard run to
    Philadelphia 22. NEW ORLEANS 3-0
    2ND QUAR

    Jan 13 9:41 PM


  • DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    TD PHI
    BRIAN WESTBROOK 1 YD RUN
    (DAVID AKERS KICK)
    PHILADELPHIA 14
    NEW ORLEANS 13 0:50 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Eagles vs. SaintsJan 13 9:32 PM


  • DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    TD NOR
    REGGIE BUSH 4 YD RUN
    (JOHN CARNEY KICK)
    PHILADELPHIA 7
    NEW ORLEANS 13 5:19 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Eagles vs. SaintsJan 13 9:13 PM


  • DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    TD PHI
    DONTE' STALLWORTH 75 YD PASS FROM JEFF GARCIA
    (DAVID AKERS KICK)
    PHILADELPHIA 7
    NEW ORLEANS 6 13:38 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Eagles vs. SaintsJan 13 9:00 PM


  • DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    FG NOR
    JOHN CARNEY 23 YD
    PHILADELPHIA 0
    NEW ORLEANS 6 14:46 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Eagles vs. SaintsJan 13 8:55 PM


  • DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    END, 1ST QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    PHILADELPHIA 0 0
    NEW ORLEANS 3 3 END, 1ST QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: NOR - FG, JOHN CARNEY 33 YD, 5:36. Drive: 5
    plays, 35 yards in 2:05. Key plays:
    McAllister 28-yard run to
    Philadelphia 22. NEW ORLEANS 3-0

    Jan 13 8:51 PM


  • DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
    FG NOR
    JOHN CARNEY 33 YD
    PHILADELPHIA 0
    NEW ORLEANS 3 9:24 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Eagles vs. SaintsJan 13 8:27 PM
  • 10
    roots
    Harper Added 10 roots

    Eagles vs. SaintsJan 11 11:52 AM