Eagles
Saints
38 - 23 Final
  for this game

Eagles deal major blow to Saints' playoff hopes

Dec 24, 2007 - 4:35 AM NEW ORLEANS (Ticker) -- Donovan McNabb helped deal what could be a fatal blow to the New Orleans Saints' playoff hopes.

McNabb threw for three touchdowns and Brian Westbrook rushed for 100 yards as the Philadelphia Eagles posted a 38-23 victory over the Saints on Sunday.

While the Eagles (7-8) already have been eliminated from playoff contention, the Saints (7-8) saw their playoff hopes remain alive when the Minnesota Vikings lost to the Washington Redskins, 32-21, on Sunday night.

"I'm disappointed for our guys," Saints coach Sean Payton said. "We hung in in there, but in the end it wasn't meant to be."

The Saints' only chance for the final playoff berth is to win at Chicago next week and hope for losses by both the Redskins (8-7) and the Vikings (8-7).

The win had to be extra sweet for the Eagles, who were eliminated in the divisional round of the playoffs here by the Saints last January. McNabb missed that contest with a torn ACL in his knee.

McNabb, who has been constantly criticized in Philadelphia this season, responded with one of his best games of the campaign, completing 24-of-35 passes for 263 yards without a turnover.

"It's good that now we are clicking out there and I hope we can use this winning feeling into next year," said McNabb, who has been the subject of trade rumors. "I had a lot of time to throw and make plays and today we made plays to win."

Reggie Brown, Kevin Curtis and Greg Lewis all had touchdown catches for the Eagles. Curtis also recovered a fumble by McNabb on the game's first possession for a score.

Westbrook proved too much to handle for the Saints' porous defense as he reached 100 yards rushing for a sixth time this season. The speedy back also surpassed 2,000 total yards on the season.

"I think we gave a picture of what this offense can really do," Westbrook said. "We've been able to move the ball all season but we've struggled in the red zone. Today we were able to put the ball in the end zone. If we were doing that all season long it would be a different story."

Drew Brees was unable to match McNabb, completing 30-of-45 passes for 30-of-45 passes for 289 yards and an interception. He lost top wide receiver Marques Colston early in the second quarter due to a chest contusion.

"We have dropped a few here and there that maybe shouldn't have been, and we played very well at times and poorly other times," Brees said. "You always look back and say we could have had this one, we could have had this one. We could very easily be sitting here already with the wild card spot locked up and competing for the division, but we are not."

Aaron Stecker had touchdown runs of 1 and 3 yards in the first quarter for the Saints. But Stecker failed to pick up a critical yard midway through the third quarter.

"That may have been the momentum switcher," Stecker said.

Trailing 24-17, the Saints were faced with a 4th-and-goal at the Philadelphia 1 when Stecker was dropped for a 1-yard loss.

McNabb then engineered a 15-play, 98-yard drive, capping it with a 9-yard TD toss to Lewis with 2:55 left in the third quarter, giving the Eagles a double-digit advantage.

Martin Gramatica converted field goals of 35 and 46 yards in the first 8:19 of the fourth quarter, pulling the Saints within 31-23. He also drilled a 55-yarder on the last play of the first half, matching his career long.

But without cornerback Mike McKenzie, who left early in the first quarter with a knee injury, the Saints had no answers defensively.

McNabb put together a nine-play, 56-yard drive, finding Curtis for a 7-yard TD with 2:28 remaining, giving the Eagles a 38-23 advantage. Curtis had seven receptions for 78 yards.

The day also started in fortunate fashion for McNabb, who broke off a 40-yard run and had the ball jarred out from behind by free safety Josh Bullocks. The ball caromed into the end zone, where Curtis recovered for a touchdown.

"I thought he (McNabb) was going to take it the house," Curtis said. "I was blocking my man on the play and then I saw the ball pop up. And then it seemed a bunch of guys were all right there and the ball moved at the same time. I jumped in to get on it (the ball) and then it squirted away. I was just trying to make a play ... and just got lucky."

Less than minutes apart, Stecker scored both of his TDs to give Saints a 14-7 advantage.

Stecker, who left the game briefly in the second quarter with an ankle injury, rushed for 49 yards on 13 carries.

The Eagles battled back to take the lead later in the first quarter on a 20-yard TD run by Correll Buckhalter and a 31-yard connection from McNabb to Reggie Brown.

"I don't know if this game sums the season up but that is just how it has been this year with ups and downs," Saints wide receiver David Patten said. "For whatever reason we have been too inconsistent."






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  • NFL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    PHILADELPHIA 21 3 7 7 38
    NEW ORLEANS 14 3 0 6 23 FINAL
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: PHI - TD, KEVIN CURTIS RECOVERED FUMBLE IN
    END ZONE (DAVID AKERS KICK), 1:45.
    Drive: 3 plays, 73 yards in 1:45.
    Key plays: McNabb 40-yard run on
    3rd-and-1 before fumble.
    PHILADELPHIA 7-0
    NO

    Dec 23 4:17 PM


  • NFL
    TD PHI
    KEVIN CURTIS 7 YD PASS FROM DONOVAN MCNABB
    (DAVID AKERS KICK)
    PHILADELPHIA 38
    NEW ORLEANS 23 2:28 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Eagles vs. SaintsDec 23 4:03 PM


  • NFL
    FG NOR
    MARTIN GRAMATICA 48 YD
    PHILADELPHIA 31
    NEW ORLEANS 23 7:19 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Eagles vs. SaintsDec 23 3:51 PM


  • NFL
    FG NOR
    MARTIN GRAMATICA 35 YD
    PHILADELPHIA 31
    NEW ORLEANS 20 13:03 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Eagles vs. SaintsDec 23 3:37 PM


  • NFL
    END, 3RD QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    PHILADELPHIA 21 3 7 31
    NEW ORLEANS 14 3 0 17 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: PHI - TD, KEVIN CURTIS RECOVERED FUMBLE IN
    END ZONE (DAVID AKERS KICK), 1:45.
    Drive: 3 plays, 73 yards in 1:45.
    Key plays: McNabb 40-yard run on
    3rd-and-1 before fumble.
    PHILADELPHIA

    Dec 23 3:32 PM


  • NFL
    TD PHI
    GREG LEWIS 9 YD PASS FROM DONOVAN MCNABB
    (DAVID AKERS KICK)
    PHILADELPHIA 31
    NEW ORLEANS 17 2:55 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Eagles vs. SaintsDec 23 3:24 PM


  • NFL
    FG NOR
    MARTIN GRAMATICA 55 YD
    PHILADELPHIA 24
    NEW ORLEANS 17 0:00 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Dec 23 2:40 PM


  • NFL
    FG NOR
    MARTIN GRAMATICA 55 YD
    PHILADELPHIA 24
    NEW ORLEANS 17 0:00 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Eagles vs. SaintsDec 23 2:40 PM


  • NFL
    FG PHI
    DAVID AKERS 24 YD
    PHILADELPHIA 24
    NEW ORLEANS 14 9:28 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Eagles vs. SaintsDec 23 2:09 PM


  • NFL
    END, 1ST QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    PHILADELPHIA 21 21
    NEW ORLEANS 14 14 END, 1ST QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: PHI - TD, KEVIN CURTIS RECOVERED FUMBLE IN
    END ZONE (DAVID AKERS KICK), 1:45.
    Drive: 3 plays, 73 yards in 1:45.
    Key plays: McNabb 40-yard run on
    3rd-and-1 before fumble.
    PHILADELPHIA

    Dec 23 1:51 PM


  • NFL
    TD PHI
    REGGIE BROWN 31 YD PASS FROM DONOVAN MCNABB
    (DAVID AKERS KICK)
    PHILADELPHIA 21
    NEW ORLEANS 14 1:51 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Eagles vs. SaintsDec 23 1:46 PM


  • NFL
    TD PHI
    CORRELL BUCKHALTER 20 YD RUN
    (DAVID AKERS KICK)
    PHILADELPHIA 14
    NEW ORLEANS 14 5:47 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Eagles vs. SaintsDec 23 1:32 PM


  • NFL
    TD NOR
    AARON STECKER 1 YD RUN
    (MARTIN GRAMATICA KICK)
    PHILADELPHIA 7
    NEW ORLEANS 14 8:52 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Eagles vs. SaintsDec 23 1:23 PM


  • NFL
    TD NOR
    AARON STECKER 3 YD RUN
    (MARTIN GRAMATICA KICK)
    PHILADELPHIA 7
    NEW ORLEANS 7 11:07 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Eagles vs. SaintsDec 23 1:15 PM


  • NFL
    TD PHI
    KEVIN CURTIS RECOVERED FUMBLE IN END ZONE
    (DAVID AKERS KICK)
    PHILADELPHIA 7
    NEW ORLEANS 0 13:15 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Eagles vs. SaintsDec 23 1:09 PM
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