Early in the fourth quarter on Nov. 18, the Saints were already up 38-7 over the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles, but that didn’t stop them from going for it on fourth down.
On 4th-and-6 with 13:22 remaining, Sean Payton dialed up a wheel route for Alvin Kamara on 4th-and-6 from the Eagles’ 37-yard line. Kamara beat Malcolm Jenkins for a touchdown to put the Saints up 38 points in their 48-7 win.
After the play, Jenkins dialed up his own one-finger salute for his former coach.
It certainly seemed like the Saints ran up the score the last time these two teams played, but Eagles head coach Doug Pederson claimed Wednesday he didn’t think so.
No. I did not. Listen, we get paid to play just like they do. We just didn’t make enough plays. We have to keep them out of the end zone and we have to score. And we didn’t do either one very well.
OK, so here’s the thing. The Saints did run up the score, but should that really bother the Eagles? The best way to prevent a team from running up the score is by stopping them. This isn’t little league, this isn’t high school. Everyone on that field was professional athletes.
But if it bothers the Eagles, so be it. They’ve been able to manufacture some motivation before. Now they’re going back to a stadium where they suffered their worst defeat of the season against a team it seems at least some Eagles think tried to disrespect them a couple months back.
Even Jason Peters on Sunday night, via NJ.com, seemed to be ready to use that last blowout for some fuel.
We didn’t play well at all. They ran up the score. We wanted them again, we got them again. We’ll be ready this time.
Pederson on Wednesday said just being in the divisional round as one of four NFC teams left standing is enough fuel. (But any added fuel surely wouldn’t hurt.)
Looking back on that last matchup, the Eagles think there are things they can learn, but they also have a year’s worth of tape to use when getting ready to play the Saints this time.
After the loss to the Saints, the Eagles were 4-6 and the playoffs seemed like a pipe dream. And then when they lost in OT to the Cowboys, the season really seemed over. But they went 5-1 down the stretch and are now 6-1 in their last six games. The Eagles seem to be hot at the right time.
Pederson said the goal all along was just to find a way to get into the playoffs.
“We’re not just satisfied with getting in,” he said. “Now that you’re in … it was presented this way. You’re in the dance, right? How close can you get to the stage. That’s where we’re at. We’re inching ourselves closer and closer to that stage. That’s all you want. That’s all you can ask for. The guys are prideful. The guys know what’s expected. Our expectation is to be playing every year in the month of January with an opportunity to compete for a title.”
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