Saints roll over the Eagles, 28-13

Posted: November 06, 2012

NEW ORLEANS - Patrick Robinson ran right past the Eagles sideline in plain view of coach Andy Reid and over the fallen body of quarterback Michael Vick.

Robinson, a New Orleans Saints cornerback, returned Vick's first-quarter interception 99 yards for a touchdown. It gave the Saints a lead they never relinquished in a 28-13 win over the Eagles on Monday night in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

All Reid could do was watch. Vick lay helplessly, his attempt for a tackle both penalized and futile. There was much more of the game to be played, just like there is more of the 2012 season to be played.

But the interception was so significant, and the result appeared almost inevitable. The same might be said about the Eagles' season.

The defeat was the Eagles' fourth consecutive loss, dropping them to 3-5. Reid continues to inch dangerously close to the threshold that would prevent the Eagles from making the postseason, from showing the improvement owner Jeffrey Lurie desires, from extending Reid's career in Philadelphia beyond 14 years.

"Pretty simple synopsis of the game," Reid said. "When you're 0 and 5 in the red zone, seven sacks, and your tackling is terrible, then you struggle to win football games in this league."

Vick finished with 272 passing yards, 53 rushing yards, and one touchdown pass, with one interception. He was sacked seven times. Running back LeSean McCoy ran for 119 yards. The numbers were not nearly enough to keep pace with the Saints, who were led by quarterback Drew Brees with 239 yards and two touchdowns.

"Very frustrated," Vick said. "These are games that we have the opportunity to win or get back into the game. But at that point, everything has to be dead-on. You've got to capitalize. You've almost got to be perfect on every drive."

There was a time in the third quarter when it seemed that a comeback could be near for the Eagles and that the game and the season might not be ruined. Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham strip-sacked Brees on the Eagles' 9-yard line and recovered the fumble.

On the next play, Vick found DeSean Jackson for a 77-yard touchdown strike. It was the longest play of the Eagles' season and showed the big-play capability that the offense has lacked during the last two months. It also came on a play-action fake, which worked because of the Eagles' early success rushing the football.

Jackson's touchdown cut New Orleans' lead to 21-10, and the Eagles could have made the game even tighter when they recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff. The Superdome quieted, and the comeback appeared closer to reality. But the Eagles drive stalled in the red zone after offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg called four consecutive passing plays, and the Eagles could not score a touchdown, instead settling for a field goal.

"I'd tell you the red zone, it's not necessarily the same mistakes," Reid said. "The tackling, we got a couple weeks where we didn't tackle very well. We've got to make sure we get back to doing that."

The three points from the field goal were not enough. New Orleans' offense can seemingly score on demand, and Brees led a 10-play, 70-yard touchdown drive that concluded with a 6-yard touchdown pass to Jimmy Graham.

After that drive, an Eagles comeback was improbable. The team attempted a gimmick play on a kick return in which Riley Cooper lay in the end zone to hide from the Saints view and caught a pass after standing up. The trick worked, and Cooper returned the kickoff for a touchdown - except Brandon Boykin actually threw a forward pass, nullifying the score. It was the type of missed opportunity that has come to define the Eagles' season.

Yet even if that had stood, the Eagles were playing from behind after a dismal first half that was highlighted by Robinson's interception. With both teams scoreless and the Eagles threatening to take a lead, Vick made a mistake that has become too common this season. He was careless in the red zone, overthrowing Brent Celek on a pass that tipped off Celek's hands and into the hands of Robinson.

The Superdome erupted, seeing the 99 yards of open field ahead of Robinson. The dramatic swing of events gave the Saints a 7-0 lead. It was the Eagles' fifth red-zone turnover this season and Vick's 14th turnover.

The Eagles responded by running more than earlier this season. McCoy had rushes of 13, 25, and 34 yards. The 34-yarder came on fourth and 1, and McCoy ran all the way to the Saints' 4. But the drive stalled near the goal line, and the Eagles settled for a field goal.

The Eagles host the Cowboys Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field. The Cowboys are also 3-5. The meeting might serve as a quasi-elimination game, with the winner clinging to slight hope and the loser facing the likely emptiness of a lost season.

Contact Zach Berman at or follow on Twitter @ZBerm.

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