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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — When the New Orleans Saints finally found their rhythm Womens Marcus Davenport Jersey , they marched one step closer to the Super Bowl.Using a dominant ball-control offense and a few gambles that paid off, the Saints got two touchdown passes from Drew Brees and two interceptions from Marcus Lattimore in a 20-14 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.Brees took the Saints on scoring drives of 92, 79 and 67 yards after falling behind 14-0. Lattimore clinched it when Nick Foles‘ pass from the Saints 27 deflected off usually sure-handed receiver Alshon Jeffery with about two minutes remaining. A couple dozen Saints players surged off the sideline toward the end zone in celebration, while Jeffery fell face-first to the turf in agony.Article continues below ...“We were real calm and poised and we knew we were going to get things done,” Brees said.New Orleans (14-3) will host the NFC title game next week against the Rams (13-4). Los Angeles, which fell 45-35 at the Superdome in November, will try again next week, with the winner going to the Super Bowl. The Saints’ win finished off a sweep of the divisional round by teams coming off byes.Wil Lutz added two field goals for the Saints, who last got this far in 2009, when they won the Super Bowl.Philadelphia (10-8) will not repeat as NFL champion; no team has done so since the 2004 Patriots.“We were going down to win, but I just felt like we beat ourselves, honestly,” Jeffery said. “Hats off to those guys.”Eagles coach Doug Pederson thought his team was on its way on that final drive to pulling off another stunning comeback win“It just felt like the momentum at that point was in our favor,” he said. “It’s been that way all season, and we felt like that sort of magic was going to continue.”This was really two games in one. Philly scored on its first two drives as the Saints could do virtually nothing right.“Listen, they got off to a fast start, they’re a great team,” Brees said. “Nick Foles has done a phenomenal job for them. We knew it was going to be different than last time.”After that opening period, it was all New Orleans, yet the resilient Eagles kept it close enough that when Lutz missed a 52-yard field goal with 2:58 remaining, they were only one-score behind.Foles Tre'Quan Smith Jersey White , the hero of last year’s Super Bowl run, got them in position for yet another late winning score — just like last week at Chicago and last February against New England for the championship.Then, Jeffery couldn’t handle a second-down pass, and it was over.“That’s a great championship team,” Saints coach Sean Payton said of the Eagles. “We remained confident.”Brees had 2-yard touchdown passes to rookie Keith Kirkwood and All-Pro wideout Michael Thomas, who had 12 receptions for a franchise playoff-record 171 yards.Thomas’ touchdown capped an 18-play, 92-yard drive in which the Saints actually covered more than 100 yards because of penalties. It lasted 11½ minutes.“What you saw from him today is what I see every day in practice,” Brees said of Thomas. “He’s a big-time player who wants to be the guy to make plays.”Philadelphia had the ball for more than nine minutes in the first quarter, after which the Eagles had the ball about 13 minutes and never scored.New Orleans, which routed Philadelphia 48-7 in November, gambled on its first play — and lost. Brees was a bit short on a deep pass to Ted Ginn Jr., and it was picked off by Cre’Von LeBlanc, one of several Eagles backups being used in the secondary due to injuries during the regular season.“I just think we had to find our rhythm,” Brees said. “I tried to take a shot on the first play. Unfortunately, that didn’t work.”After the first quarter, though, a lot worked for New Orleans.Foles completed all five throws on a 76-yard drive capped by Jordan Matthews‘ 37-yard TD catch . The Eagles, who quickly fell behind 17-0 in that previous Superdome loss, suddenly led 7-0.Not long after, a 75-yard drive highlighted by a 30-yard pass to Jeffery ended with Foles’ short leap over the goal line for a 14-0 edge.Indeed, the visitors were in control until Lattimore picked off Foles’ deep throw to Zach Ertz. The Saints showed plenty of moxie on their 79-yard march to a touchdown Womens Alvin Kamara Jersey , faking a punt at their 30, with Taysom Hill running 4 yards for a first down. They also went on fourth-and-goal from the 2, and Philadelphia’s rapidly depleting defense surrendered Kirkwood’s 2-yard touchdown.“When you just get that in guys’ minds that we’re going to be aggressive, that we’re going to play to win, it allows guys to relax and to cut loose,” Brees said.With Brees finding the range and his receivers finding loads of room to roam, New Orleans crept to 14-10 at halftime on Lutz’s 45-yard field goal.UGLY STARTMaybe the Saints were rusty after their wild-card bye, but they got two first downs, including one by penalty, gained 17 yards, and Brees threw an interception and had a fumble that was recovered by teammate Ryan Ramczyk in the opening period. Meanwhile, Philly gained 153 yards and scored two TDs, and Foles went 8 of 9 for 113.But Foles was intercepted by Lattimore early in the second quarter, and the Saints finally got going.NUMBERSBrees, who turns 40 Tuesday, finished 28 for 38 despite the awful start, throwing for 301 yards. Aside from Thomas, who was targeted 16 times — he led the NFL with 125 catches — no one caught more than four passes for New Orleans. Alvin Kamara had four for 35 yards and also rushed for 71 yards. Mark Ingram added 53 yards on the ground as the Saints outrushed the Eagles 137-49. New Orleans is 6-0 at home in the playoffs with Payton and Brees.Foles was 18 for 31 for 201 yards. Jeffery had five catches for a team-leading 63 yards before the game-sealing drop.INJURIESIn a span of three plays, two starters were hurt and needed to be carted off.First, Saints defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins went down midway in the first quarter, unable to put any weight on his left foot.Two plays later Michael Thomas Saints Jersey , Eagles right guard Brandon Brooks hurt his right leg and departed.Several Saints players said they would be playing for Rankins the rest of the way because his season was done.Philly also lost DB Rasul Douglas in the second quarter to an ankle injury, but he was back in the second half. DLs Fletcher Cox, an All-Pro, and Michael Bennett also were sidelined at times before returning. In the fourth quarter, left tackle Jason Peters left.UP NEXTThe Saints host the Rams in the early game next Sunday, with the winner going to the Super Bowl. Saints quarterback Drew Brees doesn’t see himself and Pelicans rookie forward Zion Williamson as an odd couple from different generations and sports.Brees sees key parallels in the timing of each of their arrivals on New Orleans’ pro sports scene, and is eager to share what he’s learned if it can help Williamson understand the task — and opportunity — at hand.“Certainly, I am always going to be there for Zion,” Brees said after practice Thursday at Saints training camp. “Whatever I can do to help guide, to help advise, to help mentor, I’m there.“If he wants to go one-on-one, I’ll do that, too,” Brees added smiling, but perhaps only half-joking, given his strong reputation in the Saints’ locker room as a pick-up basketball player. “There’s a kinship regardless of a generational gap, right? There’s a kinship because I’m in a different sport and yet I understand the pressures.”The Saints and Pelicans have been under the same ownership since 2012, when Tom Benson and his wife, Gayle, bought the NBA franchise. Gayle Benson Marcus Davenport Jersey , a widow since 2018, continues to own both teams, whose practice headquarters are on the same campus in suburban New Orleans.Shortly after the Pelicans used their top overall draft choice to select Williamson , a former Duke star and consensus top pro prospect coming out of college, Brees gave Williamson a signed jersey.“That was just my personal statement to him, welcoming him to the city, letting him know that I want to be there for him as a resource — whatever I can do,” Brees said.“For me, being a guy who knows what it’s like to come to a city feeling like it’s just kind of starting from scratch, building something from the ground up — that’s the way we felt when came here in ’06 with Sean Payton and all the guys that came in that year,” said Brees, who led the Saints to the NFC title game in his first season in New Orleans and a Super Bowl title in his fourth season.“Here we are 14 years later; we’re able to look at all that we’ve accomplished and how we’re still trying to climb and get better,” Brees said. “I think we’re at that point with the Pelicans in a lot of ways. There’s a lot of turnover.”Williamson was drafted less than a week after the Pelicans accommodated six-time All-Star Anthony Davis’ trade request by dealing him to the Los Angeles Lakers. The Pelicans also let several other starters or regulars leave in free agency.Earlier this week, Brees invited Williamson to take part in a skills contest that the Brees routinely organizes with all of New Orleans’ reserve QBs. The challenge, in this case, entailed three jump shots with a basketball, followed by a couple of attempts to throw a football through a basketball hoop from distances of 30 and 50 yards (with points available for hitting the backboard and rim). Brees won; Williamson narrowly missed the basket on his 50 yard heave.“For me, it’s allowing these young guys to see the opportunity they have here in New Orleans,” Brees continued. “This is an incredible fan base. It’s an incredible city that’s ready to embrace them, but there’s a right way to do it. It’s not like you just snap your fingers and it happens. It takes work. It takes hard work. It takes dedication and there’s going to be some bumps in the road.”



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Sat Jun 06, 2020 2:44 am