The New Orleans Saints (10-3) dropped their first game since late-September, losing to the Philadelphia Eagles (4-8-1) on Sunday afternoon, 24-21. The Eagles offense found new life with rookie QB Jalen Hurts leading the offense, and the Saints did not have an answer. Philadelphia jumped out to a 17-0 lead and never looked back, snapping the Saints nine-game winning streak.
Here are three takeaways from the Saints-Eagles action in Week 14.
Saints Offense Found its Groove a Little too Late
After getting blanked in the first half, the New Orleans Saints offense found success out of the halftime gates stringing together two drives ending in touchdowns. The two 60+ yard drives were capped in different ways, the first on a toss play to Alvin Kamara and the second was a 37-yard heave from Taysom Hill to Emmanuel Sanders.
Even the drives in which the Saints did not score in the second half, it looked like a polar opposite team from the one that took the field in the first half. Taysom Hill's accuracy was much better in the second half, and his career-high nearly sparked the Saints to a near comeback performance, but alas, the efforts were too late.
Despite becoming one dimensional due to the deficit, the Saints still managed to move the ball fairly well and used Alvin Kamara more in the passing game than the last three weeks combined. If you are looking for a positive out of this game, Hill continues to get more players/receivers involved and passed more from the pocket. The downside is that it takes away from what makes him special as a mobile quarterback and helped result in Philly's 5 sacks.
Saints Defense Surrenders a 100-Yard Rusher for the 1st Time in 55 Games
One of the most impressive team defensive stats of the last decade has come to an end. With a 100+ yard rushing performance, including an 82-yard touchdown scamper, Eagles RB Miles Sanders broke the Saints 55 game streak of not surrendering 100 rushing yards to a single player. On Sunday, Sanders' 100+ yard performance was his first in 4 weeks when he put up a season-high 118 rushing yards against Baltimore.
The Saints defense was gashed on the ground right out of the gate by Sanders and QB Jalen Hurts. Especially in the second quarter, where their legs led the Eagles to three consecutive scoring drives. As a whole, the Eagles racked up over 240 rushing yards and had both their starting running back and quarterback eclipse 100 rushing yards against the Saints' top-five rushing defense.
Jalen Hurts Shines in his NFL Debut
The Heisman Trophy runner-up from a year ago shined in his 1st NFL start accounting for over 260 yards, including 106 rushing yards. Hurts completed 17 of 30 passes for 167 yards and a touchdown that gave the Eagles an early 7-0 lead. Along with his efficient passing performance, Hurts 100+ yard rushing performance made him the second QB to eclipse the century mark on the ground in his 1st start, joining Lamar Jackson.
Hurts' ability to escape pressure and his collective nature that haunted the Saints' defense for the majority of the afternoon's action. The Alabama and Oklahoma product helped lead the Eagles to over 400 total yards and a 66% red zone efficiency against the league's 2nd ranked total defense. The victory is the Eagles first in a month and keeps them in the hunt for the NFC East title.
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