The Philadelphia Eagles are 13-3 after losing to the New Orleans Saints at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday afternoon. Final score: 20 to 10.
Had the Eagles won, they would’ve clinched the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoff picture. Instead, they’re now forced to play their starters against the New York Giants in Week 18. It remains to be seen how their opponents approach that game since the G-Men clinched a playoff spot with a Week 17 win.
Getting back to the Eagles-Saints game, this was a really rough outing for Gardner Minshew. The offense opened the game with FOUR straight three-and-outs, failing to pick up a first down until 11 seconds remaining in the first half. Minshew often held on to the ball for too long, taking bad sacks. He also threw way too many inaccurate passes.
The Eagles were really missing Jalen Hurts in this one. The good news is that he’s reportedly available to play in Week 18. The bad news is he has to play a couple weeks after suffering a shoulder injury when he could’ve rested.
Sorry. Again, getting back to the game, the defense is not blameless in this one. They only allowed 13 offensive points, yes. But the reality looked worse than the box score indicates with Andy Dalton and Taysom Hill combining to start the game by completing 14 of their 14 first passing attempts. The Saints were successfully executing the ball control offense that the Washington Commanders pulled off to upset Philly earlier this year. At some point, you would like to see Jonathan Gannon actually challenge the opposing quarterback instead of sitting back and letting him pick the defense apart.
In fairness, the Eagles’ defense DID rebound in the second half, allowing zero points in no small part to the defensive line getting home with pressure. The Eagles generated seven sacks in total.
It looked like the Eagles were going to overcome a 13-point deficit when they trimmed the Saints’ lead to three points. But Minshew failing to get a first down on a sneak and then Minshew later throwing a pick six ended the Eagles’ hopes of staging a comeback they never really should’ve needed in the first place.
The Eagles’ loss to the Saints is even worse when one considers how it makes the New Orleans first-round pick owed to Philly in the 2023 NFL Draft less favorable. Not fun!
And now it’s up to the Birds to wash the very bad taste of two straight losses out of their mouths with a win at home in Week 18. If they blow that game and wind up as the No. 5 seed ... man. What a disaster that would be.
Read on for a recap and stay tuned for BGN’s postgame coverage, including the BGN Radio postgame show!
- The Eagles won the coin toss and elected to defer, per usual. The Saints opened by going right at Darius Slay, with Andy Dalton completing his first pass for a first down. The Saints brought in Taysom Hill with Dalton coming off the field and ran the quarterback for no gain. Big cheers at The Linc for that tackle. On 3rd-and-4, Dalton came back in an completed a pass over the middle for another first down into Eagles territory. The Saints got into another 3rd-and-4 situation and converted with another Dalton short completion over the middle, this one allowed by Josiah Scott. Hill completed a pass with Haason Reddick trailing in coverage to bring up 3rd-and-1. On third down, the Saints converted with a run up the middle. Josh Sweat got hurt on the play and was taken off the field on a stretcher. Ugh. Patrick Johnson made a nice play in coverage to take away Dalton’s tight end on a rollout and forced the Saints into an illegal man downfield penalty. The Saints got into yet another 3rd-and-4 situation, this one from the 11-yard line. On third down, Hill took the shotgun snap and tried to run forward but got stopped. The Saints went for it on 4th-and-2 and Hill powered through to bring up 1st-and-goal from the 2-yard line. One play later, Hill took it into the end zone for the game’s first score. Not a good start for Jonathan Gannon’s unit! EAGLES 0, SAINTS 7.
- Gardner Minshew got sacked (by Christian Elliss’s brother, Kaden) on the Eagles’ first offensive play. Minshew slid for a sack on the Eagles’ second play. On 3rd-and-7, Minshew checked down to Kenneth Gainwell to set up a punt. Three-and-out. Seemed like Minshew needed to have better pocket management there. Also, maybe open the game with some running against a Saints defense that’s better against the pass than run?
- The Saints got to another 3rd-and-4. They converted with a Dalton pass over the middle. Then they converted a 3rd-and-1 with another Hill run. The Saints got knocked off schedule with Javon Hargrave tripping up Dalton for a sack to bring up 2nd-and-14 at the end of the first quarter.
Time of possession after the first quarter— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) January 1, 2023
Saints — 12:52
Eagles — 2:08
- The Saints got into 3rd-and-6 and Dalton tried scrambling around but got taken down by Brandon Graham for his first career double-digit sack season! Congrats, BLG. Finally, a stop by the defense.
- The Eagles took over at their own 10-yard line. Two straight Miles Sanders runs set up 3rd-and-2. On third down, Minshew tried running after seeing no options to pass and got stopped short. Another three-and-out. It looked like New Orleans should’ve been flagged for running into the kicker on Brett Kern’s punt but the refs ruled that the Saints player was pushed into Kern.
- The Saints got to 3rd-and-16 from their own 47-yard line after a holding penalty set them back. On third down, the Eagles allowed a completion short of the sticks to set up a 54-yard field goal from Will Lutz. EAGLES 0, SAINTS 10.
- Minshew started the Eagles’ third drive with a really bad pass intended for DeVonta Smith low and off target for an incompletion. Then Minshew took another sack. Then he dumped off to Gainwell short of the sticks to bring up a third straight three-and-out. Abysmal offensive showing early on.
Gardner Minshew has already been sacked 4 times even though the Eagles have run just 9 offensive plays.— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) January 1, 2023
- On 3rd-and-4, Dalton aired it out and completed a deep pass to Rashid Shaheed, who roasted James Bradberry down the right sideline, for a 58-yard gain. Yikes. The Saints to go 3rd-and-goal from the 2-yard line. On third down, Milton Williams helped to disrupt Hill’s run to the right side to allow the Eagles defense to gang tackle (with T.J. Edwards leading the way) the QB to get him down. The Saints ended up settling for a field goal to keep it a two possession game. Still the feeling of an insurmountable lead. Saints opting to not go for it there was a big gift to the Eagles, considering a failed conversion would’ve made a struggling offense go 99 yards or so for a touchdown. EAGLES 0, SAINTS 13.
- Minshew had a bad miss that prompted loud boos from the crowd. Then Minshew actually completed a pass to A.J. Brown to bring up 3rd-and-3. A sign of hope?! Nope. Minshew underthrew to a ball to a then-tightly covered DeVonta Smith on the opposite side of the field who faced the sun in his eyes on third down. FOUR STRAIGHT THREE-AND-OUTS TO OPEN THE GAME. Terrible.
- The Saints drove into Eagles territory but got set back by Haason Reddick’s 15th sack of the season. Then Dalton threw his first pass NOT caught by a Saints target; an underthrown ball was intercepted by Josiah Scott. Really needed that one to prevent a three-possession game.
- Minshew took his fifth sack of the day. Then he completed another pass to Brown to bring up 3rd-and-7 with 0:19 left in the first half. Then he completed a pass to Dallas Goedert for the Eagles’ first first down of the day! The crowd at The Linc went wild! The Eagles burned their final timeout with 0:12 on the clock at their own 40-yard line. In lieu of a Hail Mary, the Eagles tried to run a screen to DeVonta that only went for 25 yards before being stopped. End of the first half. A very bad first half for the Birds.
- The Eagles opened the second half with two straight runs by Sanders. The first one went for nine yards. The second one looked like it had a chance to be a house call but Sanders was tackled by the safety for 14 yards instead. Minshew completed a pass to Goedert for yet another first down. Signs of life from the offense! Minshew completed another pass to DeVonta on a screen that went for a first down. Then Boston Scott got involved with an eight-yard carry ... and another that lost two yards. On 3rd-and-4, Kenneth Gainwell ran through a huge hole for a touchdown ... but Landon Dickerson got called for holding. I don’t know when pancaking a defender became holding. Minshew’s third down pass was knocked down to set up a 56-yard Jake Elliott field goal make. Not an easy kick! After 34 minutes and two seconds of game action, the Eagles had their first points. EAGLES 3, SAINTS 13.
Pancake called as a holding. Brings back the Gainwell touchdown pic.twitter.com/tAZy6GOhe9— Laurie Fitzpatrick (@LaurieFitzptrck) January 1, 2023
- The Saints got into 3rd-and-4 ... and Dalton’s third down pass was slightly off target with K’Von Wallace (!) credited for a pass defensed in coverage. A three-and-out forced by the Eagles defense! Wow. Is that allowed?
K’Von Wallace with the coverage to force the 3 and out. K’Von Wallace and Josiah Scott stepping up in big spots today. pic.twitter.com/Deeh23jtRm— Shane Haff (@HAFFnHAFF_TPL) January 1, 2023
- The Eagles opened their second second half drive with four straight Sanders runs for 21 yards. Facing 3rd-and-2, Dickerson got called for a false start. On 3rd-and-7, Jason Kelce got called for the false start. Bad. On 3rd-and-12, Minshew completed a pass to DeVonta to bring up 4th-and-1. Well, at least that’s how it was listed in the stadium. The refs were late to signal the chains to move for the first down, which caused some confusion and forced the Saints to burn their first timeout. Minshew, unaware, had a free rusher bearing down on him and he was fortunate to get a pass off to Brown, though the ball was high and out of bounds. Isaac Seumalo got in on the false start party to set up 3rd-and-13. Minshew’s third down pass to DeVonta was high and incomplete. Looked like it had a better chance of being picked than caught by his own team.
- Shank of a punt from Kern allowed the Saints to start at their own 40-yard line. Alvin Kamara took a carry for 15 yards into Eagles territory. Fletcher Cox came up with a big sack on Dalton to set up 3rd-and-20. On third down, the Saints picked up nine yards before having to punt.
- The Eagles took over at their own 4-yard line after the Saints were able to down a punt deep. Minshew’s first throw was a completion to DeVonta for a first down. That No. 6 dude is kinda good. You know who else is good? No. 11. Minshew aired it out deep to Brown, who had Paulson Adebo near him until he suddenly disappeared out of the picture, for a 78-yard touchdown. Much-needed huge play by this offense. EAGLES 10, SAINTS 13.
- The Saints picked up a first down and then got to a 3rd-and-3 where Dalton was taken down by Brandon Graham for BLG’s 11th sack this season. After waiting so long to finally get 10, it didn’t take him too much longer to get beyond that point.
- The Eagles took over at their own 14-yard line. Minshew made a nice throw over a linebacker to Goedert for a first down. A big catch-and-run by Scott was called back for Kelce blocking several yards downfield as an ineligible receiver on the play. Minshew was almost picked off (credit Quez Watkins with the PBU) to bring up 3rd-and-15. On third down, Minshew’s target for Brown was out of bounds and incomplete.
- Haason Reddick picked up his 16th sack of the season to bring up 3rd-and-18. It looked like Javon Hargrave jumped offside to give the Saints a free play ... but it was called a false start after the refs originally let the play continue. Strange. On 3rd-and-23, the Saints ran a coward’s draw to Kamara to bring up another punt.
- The Eagles took over at their own 41-yard line with 10:11 remaining in the game. DeVonta made a nice catch on a ball thrown behind him to bring up 3rd-and-4. On third down, Sanders took a carry to set up 4th-and-1. On fourth down, the Eagles went for the sneak and Minshew couldn’t get past the marker. Turnover on downs at midfield. Killer. Eagles clearly missing Jalen Hurts.
Jalen Hurts is every Eagles fan pic.twitter.com/jsJvFwrkxa— Crossing Broad (@CrossingBroad) January 1, 2023
- The Saints ran a flea flicker where Hill got sacked by Ndamukong Suh and Milton Williams. A really bad Saints drop brought up 3rd-and-17, where Cox forced Dalton into a throwaway. Big stop by Gannon’s defense, which rebounded after a poor first half.
- The Eagles took over at their own 9-yard line 6:07 remaining in the game. Minshew threw a pick six to Marshon Lattimore. Game over. EAGLES 10, SAINTS 20.
It's because of Lane Johnson though.... pic.twitter.com/Wz92KCfo4y— Laurie Fitzpatrick (@LaurieFitzptrck) January 1, 2023
- Minshew had his second pick of the day dropped on 3rd-and-17. The Eagles went for it on 4th-and-17 ... and Jack Driscoll was called for a false start. The Eagles went for it on 4th-and-23 ... and Minshew completed a pass short of the sticks to DeVonta for another turnover on downs.
FINAL SCORE: EAGLES LOSE, 20 to 10
- Josh Sweat got hurt on the first drive of the game. He was stretchered off the field in a cart. Scary scene. Sweat gave a thumbs up to the crowd as he was being taken off.
- DeVonta Smith was limping a bit and slowly walking into the tunnel at halftime after the unnecessary final play of the second quarter. He did not miss time and looked good early in the third quarter.
- Shaun Bradley visited the medical tent early in the fourth quarter. He seemed to have an arm injury but later returned.