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Playoff Chances Take a Hit in 38-23 Home Loss to Eagles

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Reggie Brown (86) catches a touchdown pass in front of New Orleans Saints linebacker Usama Young (38) in their NFL football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Dec. 23, 2007.

The Saints let one slip from their grasp as they lost to Philadelphia 38-23 Sunday at the SuperDome, hurting their playoff chances in 2007. Luck just was not on their side Sunday. It started with Donovan McNabb fumbling while running on the Saints 20 yard line. The ball rolled into the end zone with about three saints around it but after a few bobbles the ball ended up in the hands of Kevin Curtis for an Eagles touchdown.

Even though the Saints would answer, they had awful luck throughout the day. On the same McNabb running play, star cornerback Mike McKenzie was hurt and did not return. A few plays later Marques Colston left the game. Aaron Stecker would also leave in the first half, but he did return in the second half. Even with all the injuries, the first half proved to high scoring for both teams with Philly leading 24-17. On the opening drive of the third quarter, the Saints had a chance to tie the game.

Drew Brees threw a pass to David Patton who the officials marked as down on the one foot line. After a failed Sean Payton challenge, the Saints ended up turning the ball over on downs as they tried running the ball three consecutive times. McNabb took control after that and marched down the field to put the Eagles up two touchdowns. Although the Saints tried to make it interesting, they never really had a shot after that, as Philadelphia only allowed two field goals the rest of the game.

It was a game the Saints probably felt they could have won. Minus a few dropped passes, a few injured players, and add a bit of luck and they would have been right there. While watching the game it just seemed that McNabb came to play today while the defense was in the clouds. Brees did all he could do, but without Colston it was very tough to get something going. Brees still threw for 289 yards compared to McNabb’s 263 yards in the air. Brian Westbrook had a solid game with 100 yards rushing. Limited by injury, Aaron Stecker only rushed for 49 yards though he did have 2 touchdowns.

Although the Saints seemed to have a really unlucky day (in fact they did!), grace did shine on them at least a bit. The Vikings lost in their Sunday night to Washington keeping the Saints hope of the playoffs alive. For the Saints to go, they will need to win their game against the Bears next week, and both Minnesota and Washington must lose.


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