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The top 10 games in Saints history - #5

Saints win first ever road playoff game in last second thriller.

Wild Card Playoffs - New Orleans Saints v Philadelphia Eagles

#5 - 2013 Wild Card: New Orleans Saints - 26 @ Eagles - 24

Up until the 2013 postseason, the New Orleans Saints had never won a road playoff game in their history. They were 0-5 up until that point as they headed up to Philly to face the Eagles, a team with a worse record than the Saints. Looking to further avoid the “dome team” label and looking to shake off a 2012 season marred by suspensions, the Saints marched into Lincoln Financial Field sporting both a top four offense and top four defense in the NFL. In a game that was 25 degrees at kickoff however, this one had all the makings of yet another road playoff loss.

New Orleans Saints v Philadephia Eagles

The Saints entered the game with an 11-5 record, featuring a passing attack that ranked second only behind the Broncos, the highest scoring offense of all time, and a pass defense that ranked second only behind the Seahawks Legion of Boom. Despite this, a Week 16 loss to the Panthers on a last second touchdown cost them a chance at the division crown and a first-round bye.

The Eagles had won a weak NFC East but were still a strong team in Chip Kelly’s first season as head coach. They had started the season with Michael Vick as their starting QB, but once he was lost to injury Nick Foles was forced to step in, and step in he did. Foles went 8-2 as a starter and led the Eagles from a 3-5 record to finishing 10-6 and earning a playoff berth. The offense also featured LeSean McCoy, who had gained over 2,100 yards from scrimmage in the NFL’s #1 rushing attack, and DeSean Jackson, who had gained 1,332 yards and 9 touchdowns on only 82 catches.

Despite the high-powered offenses, the first five drives of the game all resulted in punts as this wild card matchup got off to an incredibly slow start. The next two drives would result in an interception thrown by Drew Brees and a missed field goal by the Eagles before a Shayne Graham field goal put the Saints ahead 3-0 with 8:41 left in the first half. Nick Foles and the Eagles would respond following Brees’ second interception of the first half by scoring a touchdown to go up 7-3 with 1:48 left in the first half. The Saints would ultimately drive down the field and convert a field goal for an important three points as time expired in the first half.

Despite a rough first half for Brees, he and the Saints offense would hit their stride in the second half. Their first two drives would result in touchdowns to Lance Moore and Mark Ingram as they jumped out to a 20-7 lead. The Eagles would respond with a touchdown of their own to make it a one score game headed into the fourth quarter.

The teams would trade field goals on the first two drives of the fourth quarter before the Eagles would ultimately score a go-ahead touchdown aided by a 40-yard pass interference call drawn by Jackson. The score put the Eagles ahead by one with 4:54 left in the game. Darren Sproles would return the ensuing kickoff all the way to the Saints 37-yard line while a horse collar tackle gave the Saints and extra 15 yards, setting them up in plus territory needing only one point to regain the lead.

The Saints managed to burn the remaining time off the clock with their run game, aided by two QB sneaks to pick up first downs on two 3rd and 1’s and hard running from Mark Ingram and Khiry Robinson. The Saints would set Shayne Graham up for a 32-yard field goal which he would nail to give the Saints the win.

The Saints would ultimately fall the next week to the buzzsaw that was the Seattle Seahawks, but despite this they had little to be ashamed of that year. Coming off of the 2012 season and winning a road playoff game finally in last second fashion firmly puts this game in the top 5.

Watch highlights of the game here:

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