When the Eagles-Saints game was placed on the NFL schedule, few thought a Taysom Hill-Jalen Hurts quarterback duel would take place. But that is what we had. New Orleans was looking to clinch a division title at 10-2, while the 3-8-1 Eagles were attempting to get back in a crazy NFC East playoff race.
Against the odds, the Eagles earned a 24-21 upset win. Hurts enjoyed an impressive debut; and the defense, despite being banged up, was dominating.
Here’s what the reaction looked like on social media.
In the press box, the Eagles put together a great tribute to our late colleague John Smallwood.
There was a bold prediction.
After the Eagles held the Saints to a three-and-out in the first series, Hurts had the Eagles moving. But on a fourth-and-2 from the Saints 34-yard line, former Eagle Malcolm Jenkins stopped Miles Sanders for a 3-yard loss.
A little encouragement from a former Eagle for the D:
The Saints’ Will Lutz was wide right on a 45-yard field goal attempt with 58 seconds left in the first quarter, and the game remained scoreless.
The Eagles took a 7-0 lead when Hurts hit Alshon Jeffery (remember him?) on a 15-yard scoring pass with 13:25 left in the first half. It was a fourth-and-2 play, the and third time in the game Doug Pederson went for it on fourth down.
More impressive was that Hurts was clobbered on the play by Kwon Alexander, who was called for a roughing the passer penalty.
A groundswell for Alshon? (Or sarcasm?)
Already our Inquirer columnist was deep in thought:
Hill, who has been looking a lot like Carson Wentz, was intercepted by Duke Riley, allowing the Eagles to take over on the Saints’ 32-yard-line. That set up a 44-yard field goal by Jake Elliott, extending the lead to 10-0 with 6:05 left in the half. Hurts, meanwhile, kept showing plenty of poise.
Before the field goal, it looked like the Saints lucked out when what would have been a first down catch on the drive by Zach Ertz was ruled incomplete. Pederson challenged the call and lost.
Lost in the good play by Hurts was the Eagles’ D is smothering the Saints. Hill looked over-matched. There was a call for change:
With 1:35 left in the first half, Miles Sanders exploded for an 82-yard touchdown to increase the lead to 17-0.
A proud Nittany Lion voiced his pleasure after seeing Sanders’ touchdown:
This former Eagle was impressed by his ex-team:
Hurts again got the Eagles in scoring position, but Elliott missed a 22-yard field goal as time expired in the first half, with the Eagles up 17-0.
Elliott may not want to go on social media for a bit.
No more QB controversy?
A little first half math:
The Eagles impressed this former NFL offensive lineman.
After holding the Eagles to their first three-and-out of the game to begin the third quarter, the Saints scored on their first second-half possession. Alvin Kamara found the end zone on a 5-yard run, capping a 10-play, 65-yard drive.
On the next series, Hurts was stopped on a quarterback sneak for no gain on fourth-and-1 from the New Orleans 40-yard line.
That led to this:
The Saints then scored on a sensational 37-yard TD reception by Emmanuel Sanders with 1:40 left in the third quarter. New Orleans took advantage of a banged-up Eagles secondary with Darius Slay, Rodney McLeod and Avonte Maddox out for the game. Kevon Seymour was beaten for the TD.
After Josh Sweat forced a fumble on fourth down, the Eagles went down the field and scored. Sanders charged in from one yard out, making it 24-14 with 6:22 left.
The Eagles have inspired confidence, and Hurts got a celebrity endorsement:
The Saints recovered a fumble with 1:42 left and after a big gain, Hill missed a wide-open Sanders in the end zone. But on the next play, Hill found Jared Cook for a 20-yard scoring pass with 1:24 left. The Saints with one timeout in hand, cut the lead to 24-21.
The Saints almost recovered the onside kick, but the Eagles gained possession.
The Eagles ran out the clock for their most impressive win of the year in improving to 4-8-1. This snapped the Saints’ 9-game win streak.