8:30 PM ET, November 5, 2012
Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA
Patrick Robinson's 99-yard pick-6 lifts Saints by struggling Eagles
Michael Vick kept picking himself up off the Superdome turf, the recipient of an awful beating.
The Philadelphia Eagles are down -- and nearly out.
Brees threw two touchdown passes, extending his NFL record streak to 51 games, and Patrick Robinson returned an interception 99 yards for a score to lead the Saints past the reeling Eagles 28-13 Monday night.
New Orleans (3-5), which bounced back from a dismal 34-14 loss at Denver, also got a 22-yard touchdown run from Chris Ivory.
"There are defining moments throughout a season," Brees said. "Big plays, big wins, that kind of bring you together and let you see a vision of what you can be, what you can accomplish. Here we are the midway point. It's gone by fast.
"This," he added, "is the type of momentum we want going into the second half of the season."
The Eagles (3-5) lost their fourth straight, which is sure to keep the heat on Vick and embattled coach Andy Reid. Vick threw a 77-yard touchdown pass to DeSean Jackson in the third quarter, but that was about the only highlight for the visiting team.
The elusive Vick was sacked seven times.
"It's very frustrating," Vick said. "These are games that we have the opportunity to win, or get back in the game. At this point, everything has to be dead on. You can't miss, and you almost have to be perfect on every drive."
Philadelphia was far from perfect, but sure had plenty of chances. Four times, the Eagles were staring at first-and-goal, but only managed two field goals by Alex Henery. In fact, they were outscored in those situations, with Robinson going the other way for a touchdown just when it looked like Philadelphia was on the verge of scoring.
Rubbing salt in the wound, Philadelphia squandered a chance to get back in the game with a brilliant trick play on a kickoff return. Riley Cooper laid flat in the end zone, unseen by the Saints, then popped up to take a cross-field lateral from Brandon Boykin.
Cooper streaked down the sideline for an apparent touchdown. Only one problem -- Boykin's lateral was actually a forward pass by about a yard, ruining the play with a penalty. Cooper stood with his hands on his hips, in disbelief, as the officials brought it back.
Philadelphia finished with 447 yards -- the eighth straight team to put up more than 400 yards on the Saints. That was already the longest streak of 400-yard games given up by a defense since at least 1950, and maybe in the history of the NFL, putting New Orleans on pace to shatter the record for most yards allowed in a season.
But New Orleans came through where it mattered most, giving up a season low in points. Their previous best was a 31-24 victory over San Diego.
"The most important stat at the end of the day is points," Brees said. "Our defense came up with some huge plays tonight. If we can hold teams to 13 points, we're going to win a lot of games."
Philadelphia's last gasp was a fourth-down pass that Vick threw away in the back of the end zone with 7 seconds left, apparently more concerned about avoiding another pick than tacking on a meaningless TD.
The Saints quarterback finished 21 of 27 for 239 yards, a big improvement on his 22-of-42 showing against the Broncos. Brees also got plenty of help from the running game, which came into the league ranked last in the league.
Ivory, Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram combined for 136 yards, each breaking off double-digit gains. Ivory, the Saints' leading rusher two years ago but playing for the first time this year, provided a much-needed boost to the backfield.
Meanwhile, the embattled Saints defense kept the heat on Vick, and the brutal beating made it tough for No. 7 to establish any rhythm. He finished 22 of 41 for 272 yards and really couldn't be blamed for Robinson's interception, which went off the hands of tight end Brent Celek.
Reid moved quickly to snuff out any talk about replacing Vick, which has become a weekly ritual.
"Michael Vick will be the quarterback," the Eagles coach said.
The Press of Atlantic City reported after the game that Vick's brother, Marcus, posted on Twitter during the first quarter: "Please trade my brother. We requesting out of Philly!!!! Please please please."
According to the newspaper, the post was taken down later in the first half, and Michael Vick said after the game that he did not want a trade.
"That's something I'm going to have to address (with Marcus) once I leave here," Vick said, according to the newspaper. "We're out here fighting as hard as we can, giving it everything we've got. (A trade request) is certainly not the case. I love each and every guy in that locker room."
Celek had a tough night. He also lost a fumble deep at the New Orleans 8 with just over 3 minutes remaining, essentially ending any hope of a Philadelphia comeback.
The Saints raced to a 21-3 halftime lead, putting the Eagles in a big hole for the second straight game. Over the last two weeks, they have been outscored 45-10 in the first and second quarters.
New Orleans was on the verge of blowing it open when it took the second-half kickoff and drove deep into Philadelphia territory. But the Eagles defense came up with a big turnover, as Brandon Graham stripped the ball from Brees and fell on it at the Eagles 17. Two plays later, Vick found Jackson wide open down the right side on a deep throw, and he took it the rest of the way for a touchdown.
Rookie Travaris Cadet, filling in on returns for the injured Darren Sproles, fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Philadelphia recovered again. Vick broke off a 14-yard run to the 8, but yet another sack stifled the drive. The Eagles settled for Henery's second field goal from 37 yards.
Henery connected from 22 yards early in the second quarter after the Eagles squandered a chance for more. Jackson appeared caught off guard by Vick's third-down pass in the back of the end zone, doing little more than sticking out his left hand in a halfhearted attempt to make the catch.
Philadelphia moved the ball effectively in the early going and looked to strike first after Brown broke off a 40-yard run to the New Orleans 5. After losing 1 yard on a run, the Eagles went to the air looking for the touchdown.
Instead, it was the Saints who scored. Vick's pass in the flats deflected off Celek's hands -- right into the arms of Robinson, the right cornerback. He took off down the sideline in front of the shell-shocked Philadelphia bench, matching Darren Sharper's franchise record for longest interception return.
Graham, who has battled an ankle injury and had a problem with drops, led the Saints with a season-high eight catches for 72 yards. ... Jackson finished with 100 yards receiving on just three catches. ... Philadelphia's LeSean McCoy had 19 carries for 119 yards, but only 18 yards came after halftime. ... Eagles defensive end Darryl Tapp remained in Philadelphia with his wife, who is expecting their first child, the Press of Atlantic City reported. Tapp has 23 tackles, the best mark among the Eagles' defensive ends. His spot was taken by defensive tackle Mike Patterson, who made his season debut following January brain surgery, the newspaper reported.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
NEW ORLEANS, LA - NOVEMBER 05: Lance Moore #16 of the New Orleans Saints catches a pass over Dominique...(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Team Stat Comparison
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
|Yards per play||5.8||6.9|
Yards per pass
Yards per rush
|Red Zone (Made-Att)||0-0||0-0|
|Defensive / Special Teams TDs||0||1|
|TD||2:51||Patrick Robinson 99 Yard Interception Return (Garrett Hartley Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 52 yds, 2:40
|FG||12:07||Alex Henery 22 Yard Field Goal is Good|
Drive info: 11 plays, 76 yds, 5:33
|TD||8:40||Chris Ivory 22 Yard Run (Garrett Hartley Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 76 yds, 3:30
|TD||1:18||Marques Colston 1 Yard Pass From Drew Brees (Garrett Hartley Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 74 yds, 3:46
|TD||8:56||Desean Jackson 77 Yard Pass From Michael Vick (Alex Henery Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 2 plays, 83 yds, 0:49
|FG||7:04||Alex Henery 37 Yard Field Goal is Good|
Drive info: 5 plays, 3 yds, 1:34
|TD||1:26||Jimmy Graham 6 Yard Pass From Drew Brees (Garrett Hartley Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 10 plays, 70 yds, 5:40
Michael Vick went over 20,000 yards passing for his career on Monday, becoming the first player in NFL history with 20,000 passing yards and 5,000 rushing yards in a career
NEXT LEVEL: LeSean McCoy had 119 yards on 19 rushes despite being contacted behind the line of scrimmage on eight of them, tied for second most in a game this season by any running back. McCoy has been contacted in the backfield on 26.7 percent of his rushes this year, second most among qualified running backs behind LaRod Stephens-Howling (32.4).
Drew Brees completed 10 of 12 (83.3 percent) passes using play action Monday including two touchdowns. This continues a strong trend for Brees since the Saints bye week (Week 6) in which he has thrown four touchdowns off of play fakes, the most in the NFL during that stretch.[+]
Drew Brees Play-Action Passing, This Season
Michael Vick was sacked, under duress or hit while throwing on 18 of his 53 dropbacks (34.0 percent). Entering Monday, he was under such pressure on 32.5 percent of his dropbacks, the highest rate in the NFL. When Vick was able to get off a pass when under duress Monday he was 3-8 for 34 yards (4.3 yards per attempt) with an interception. Coming into the game, the Saints had allowed the second-most yards per attempt (7.1) when putting quarterbacks under duress.
DeSean Jackson gets his 3rd career rec TD of 75+ yards; tied for most in NFL since rookie season in 2008
ESPN Stats & Information