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Graham's FG on final play sends Saints over Eagles

Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - The New Orleans Saints turned to their run game and drastically improved defense in frigid Philadelphia and ended their road hex in the playoffs.

It won't get easier next week in rowdy Seattle.

Shayne Graham nailed a game-winning 32-yard field goal as time expired and the Saints defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 26-24 in the NFC Wild Card Round on Saturday night.

After Eagles quarterback Nick Foles flipped a go-ahead 3-yard touchdown pass to Zach Ertz with 4:54 left, Drew Brees converted two key third downs with a pair of quarterback sneaks on the ensuing Saints possession.

Graham, who replaced Garrett Hartley last month, then kicked New Orleans to its first road playoff win in six tries since coming into the NFL in 1967.

"I felt comfortable and confident and luckily got bombarded on the field after the play and it was a great feeling," Graham said.

The sixth-seeded Saints moved on to face the top-seeded Seahawks next Saturday afternoon in Seattle, where they lost 34-7 in Week 13.

In January 2011, the reigning Super Bowl champion Saints lost 41-36 to a 7-9 Seahawks team in Seattle in the Wild Card round.

"It's loud, it's crazy, they've got a good thing going there," Brees said. "We're going to need our best game, that's for sure."

New Orleans, which was without Pierre Thomas, totaled 185 yards rushing on 36 carries, while its defense limited Chip Kelly's high-powered offense to just 256 yards. The NFC East-champion Eagles averaged 417.3 yards per game during the regular season.

"Defense played fantastic all game long," Brees said.

Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan patched up and improved New Orleans' porous defense, which became the first team in NFL history to allow over 7,000 yards of offense a year ago, after being brought in when Dallas fired him following the 2012 season. The Saints finished 2013 fourth in yards given up with 4,891.

"He had a really good game plan," Kelly said of Ryan.

Brees was 20-of-30 for 250 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions, while Mark Ingram carried the ball 18 times for 97 yards and a touchdown.

Foles completed 23-of-33 passes for 195 yards and two touchdowns and LeSean McCoy ran for 77 yards and a score, but averaged just 3.7 yards on 21 carries.

"It's tough to lose. It hurts. But we're going to keep building," Foles said.

Ingram's 4-yard TD plunge staked New Orleans a 20-7 lead with 3:54 left in the third quarter, but the Eagles tallied the next 10 points to whittle the deficit to 20-17.

DeSean Jackson made his first catch of the game, a 40-yard reception down to the Saints' 9, at the 3:06 mark of the third. He ran an out-and-up against cornerback Corey White, who came into the contest after Keenan Lewis was injured the play prior, and boxed him out to haul in the underthrown pass.

McCoy darted through the right side of the line for a 1-yard score four plays later on fourth-and-goal.

A holding penalty led to a Saints three-and-out on their next touch, and Alex Henery's 31-yard field goal pulled the Eagles within three with 11:14 left.

Graham then split the uprights from 35 yards out before Ertz's TD catch capped an 8-play, 77-yard march. A 40-yard pass interference call on White led to the score.

Earlier, Graham's 36-yard field goal midway through the second quarter opened the scoring.

Prior to that, the first miscue of the game came late in the first quarter when Brees lofted a pass too far of Kenny Stills running down the right sideline and Eagles cornerback Bradley Fletcher hauled in the overthrow.

The Eagles, though, were unable to come away with points.

Henery hooked a 48-yard field goal to the left two plays after Saints linebacker Curtis Lofton sniffed out Brent Celek on a tight-end screen for an eight-yard loss and defensive end Cameron Jordan sacked Foles for an 11-yard loss.

Philadelphia took advantage of Brees' second interception, however.

After Eagles linebacker DeMeco Ryans returned Brees' pass intended for Lance Moore 23 yards to the New Orleans 44, Foles found Riley Cooper in the back of the end zone for a 10-yard score to finish off a 6-play, 44-yard trek.

Graham booted through a 46-yard field goal on the final play of the half to get the Saints within 7-6 heading into the break.

Philadelphia went three-and-out on its first touch of the second half and Brees completed a 6-play, 53-yard sequence with a 24-yard TD pass to Moore to give New Orleans a 13-7 cushion.

The Eagles recorded four three-and-outs on their first seven possessions of the game.

Game Notes

New Orleans was 7-of-13 on third down, while Philadelphia finished 3-of-12 ... The Saints averaged 6.4 yards per carry ... New Orleans controlled the ball for 34:53.

01/05 03:27:43 ET

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Standings

 2013 American Football Conference Standings 
East Division W L T Pct. PF PA Home Away Div Conf
y-New England 12 4 0 .750 444 338 8-0 4-4 4-2 9-3
NY Jets 8 8 0 .500 290 387 6-2 2-6 3-3 5-7
Miami 8 8 0 .500 317 335 4-4 4-4 2-4 7-5
Buffalo 6 10 0 .375 339 388 4-4 2-6 3-3 5-7
 
North Division W L T Pct. PF PA Home Away Div Conf
y-Cincinnati 11 5 0 .688 430 305 8-0 3-5 3-3 8-4
Pittsburgh 8 8 0 .500 379 370 5-3 3-5 4-2 6-6
Baltimore 8 8 0 .500 320 352 6-2 2-6 3-3 6-6
Cleveland 4 12 0 .250 308 406 3-5 1-7 2-4 3-9
 
South Division W L T Pct. PF PA Home Away Div Conf
y-Indianapolis 11 5 0 .688 391 336 6-2 5-3 6-0 9-3
Tennessee 7 9 0 .438 362 381 3-5 4-4 2-4 6-6
Jacksonville 4 12 0 .250 247 449 1-7 3-5 3-3 4-8
Houston 2 14 0 .125 276 428 1-7 1-7 1-5 2-10
 
West Division W L T Pct. PF PA Home Away Div Conf
y-Denver 13 3 0 .813 606 399 7-1 6-2 5-1 9-3
x-Kansas City 11 5 0 .688 430 305 5-3 6-2 2-4 7-5
x-San Diego 9 7 0 .563 396 348 5-3 4-4 4-2 6-6
Oakland 4 12 0 .250 322 453 3-5 1-7 1-5 4-8
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
 2013 National Football Conference Standings 
East Division W L T Pct. PF PA Home Away Div Conf
y-Philadelphia 10 6 0 .625 442 382 4-4 6-2 4-2 9-3
Dallas 8 8 0 .500 439 432 5-3 3-5 5-1 7-5
NY Giants 7 9 0 .438 294 383 4-4 3-5 3-3 6-6
Washington 3 13 0 .188 334 478 2-6 1-7 0-6 1-11
 
North Division W L T Pct. PF PA Home Away Div Conf
y-Green Bay 8 7 1 .531 417 428 4-3-1 4-4 3-2-1 6-5-1
Chicago 8 8 0 .500 445 478 5-3 3-5 2-4 4-8
Detroit 7 9 0 .438 395 376 4-4 3-5 4-2 6-6
Minnesota 5 10 1 .344 391 480 5-3 0-7-1 2-3-1 4-7-1
 
South Division W L T Pct. PF PA Home Away Div Conf
y-Carolina 12 4 0 .750 366 241 7-1 5-3 5-1 9-3
x-New Orleans 11 5 0 .688 414 304 8-0 3-5 5-1 9-3
Atlanta 4 12 0 .250 353 443 3-5 1-7 1-5 3-9
Tampa Bay 4 12 0 .250 288 389 3-5 1-7 1-5 2-10
 
West Division W L T Pct. PF PA Home Away Div Conf
y-Seattle 13 3 0 .813 417 231 7-1 6-2 4-2 10-2
x-San Francisco 12 4 0 .750 406 272 6-2 6-2 5-1 9-3
Arizona 10 6 0 .625 379 324 6-2 4-4 2-4 6-6
St. Louis 7 9 0 .438 348 364 5-3 2-6 1-5 4-8
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
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7:05pm Tonight
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7:10pm Tonight
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8:05pm Tonight
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PHI
 
10:05pm Tonight
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COL 5
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MON
7:30pm Tonight
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7:05pm Tonight
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