The New Orleans Saints 2020 season has now come and gone following their Divisional Round loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Despite falling short of the ultimate goal of a Super Bowl title, New Orleans claimed their 4th consecutive NFC South Championship and displayed consistent resilience in the face of adversity.
Until the Super Bowl, we will look at 10 moments that defined the New Orleans Saints’ 2020 campaign. The #8 moment came from Lincoln Financial Field, where the Saints were defeated by the Eagles in Week 14.
Not every defining moment in a season is a positive one. Sometimes a gut-wrenching loss, adversity, or a key injury can define a season in more ways than winning and that is the case of our #8 moment, New Orleans’ Week 14 loss to the Eagles.
When the regular season starts to come to a close, teams in playoff contention have minimal room for error. For teams competing for the #1 seed and first-round BYE, one game can make all the difference in determining your seeding.
In Week 14, just three weeks before the regular season concluded, the New Orleans Saints traveled to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles (3-8-1) in what many fans thought would be a simple and smooth victory for the Saints. New Orleans entered as one of the hottest teams in football and in the middle of a battle for the NFC’s top seed. Philadelphia however, just made a quarterback change and were in search of any momentum as they remained in contention for the NFC East title.
With Drew Brees still sidelined with cracked ribs and a punctured lung, Taysom Hill was the Saints starting quarterback for the 4th consecutive game. Hill began his starting quarterback career with three consecutive victories, including two impressive showings against NFC South rivals, the Atlanta Falcons.
The Saints' offense in the first half was a shell of itself. New Orleans recorded 4 first-half punts, a missed field goal by Wil Lutz, and a turnover on a screen pass to Alvin Kamara that was tipped off his hands and intercepted by Eagles linebacker Duke Riley.
New Orleans’ defense was able to keep the team in the game, but surrendered a score on the Eagles 2nd possession of the game. Rookie QB Jalen Hurts found Alshon Jeffery for a 15-yard score on a back shoulder fade over CB Marshon Lattimore.
Philadelphia then extended their lead capitalizing on the Taysom Hill interception by kicking a field goal late in the 2nd quarter. The Saints now found themselves down 10-0 with 6 minutes left to play in the half and still could not get anything going offensively.
Just as Who Dat Nation thought things couldn’t get worse before half, Eagles RB Miles Sanders broke off an 82-yard touchdown run with just under 2 minutes remaining putting the Eagles up 17-0 headed into the locker room.
In the second half, New Orleans was able to put together their two best drives of the day, resulting in 2 touchdowns. With momentum on their side, Sean Payton decided to trot the offense on the field and attempt to convert on 4th and 2 from the Eagles 42-yard line. Taysom Hill fumbled and the Eagles recovered near mid-field. The Eagles would go on to convert the turnover into points and put them ahead 24-14 in the 4th Quarter.
Following the turnover, the momentum was now completely gone for New Orleans. Wil Lutz would go on to miss his 2nd field goal attempt of the game in the fourth quarter, all but sealing the deal for the Eagles. Philadelphia went on to win the game 24-21, snapping the Saints’ nine game win streak.
Along with the win-streak, New Orleans saw another streak come to an end. The Saints 55-game streak of not allowing an 100-yard rusher was snapped by Philadelphia. New Orleans allowed two 100-yard rushers in the Week 14 matchup as RB Miles Sanders rushed for 115 yards and QB Jalen Hurts rushed for 106 yards.
In what was a poor performance in all three phases of the football, the Saints fell one game behind the NFC’s #1 seed, the Green Bay Packers who held the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Black and Gold.
Every win or loss in the NFL can be crucial and certainly define a season. This matchup ultimately set the Saints back and kept them from securing the NFC's #1 seed and that is why this specific loss earned a spot on our list of 2020's Top 10 defining moments for the New Orleans Saints.
Saints News Intern Joe Mcguan contributed to the Article Series: Top 10 Defining Moments of Saints 2020 Season.
For all the latest New Orleans Saints News & Rumors follow:
The Saints News Network at www.saints.media.
Follow Saints News Network’s Writer, Brendan Boylan, on Twitter & Instagram at @btboylan.
Continue to follow all Saints’ coverage on Social Media with Saints News Network at @SaintsNews on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.