The game wasn't supposed to end this way,with the Saints, a team many said could not win in cold weather waltzing out of the Linc with a 26-24 win, on a last second field goal by Shayne Graham. Now the Eagles are left to ponder another what should have, what could have been type of game.
Fans came into this year with conservative expectations for the Eagles. A four to six win season would have been acceptable. But when the team started to overachieve the fans started to get wrapped up in the idea the team could go far into the playoffs. There was even some ill advised talk in the Philly area of a possible trip up the Jersey Turnpike.
As one fan on Facebook put it, "Well, there's always next year....."
The first half the game did not go well for the Eagles. Three times the Eagles went 3 and out and a fourth time Henry missed a 48 yard field goal which went wide. Still the Eagles managed to scrounge up a touchdown on a Foles pass to Riley Cooper to take a 7 - 6 half time lead.
The third quarter for the Eagles started out the same way the first half ended with the Eagles going three and out. Drew Brees guided the Saints through a 66-yard drive highlighted by a Benjamin Watson 27-yard reception which led to and Ingram's TD from the 4 for a 20-7 Saints lead.
The Eagles battled back with the help of a DeSean Jackson 40 yard leaping catch over Corey White which led to Shady McCoy forth and 1 touchdown run. The Saints lead was cut to 20 - 14. Jackson's 39 yard put return helped set up a Alex Henry 31 yard field goal. The Saints lead is now 20 -17.
In the fourth quarter as SI.com noted, "Jackson was once again the central figure in setting up Ertz's go-ahead score, drawing a 40-yard pass interference call on the beleaguered White."
The Eagles now led 24 - 23.
On the next play a blown coverage by the Eagles allows a Darren Sproles kick return to the 48 with an additional 15 penalty yards tacked on to the end for a horsecollar tackle. The Saints are in Eagles territory and on their way to a dramatic last second 26 - 24 win.
At the end of the game it was abvious the Eagles high flying offense was held in check by the New Orleans Saints because Foles was 23 - 33 in passing for only 195 yards, Sean McCoy only rushed for 77 yards and DeSean Jackson only had 3 receptions for 53 yards most of which came on one catch.
Still the Eagles had a chance to win the game had it not been for a missed catch here or a blown play there.
" This doesn't feel good," said Foles in a post game news conference on Eagles.com, " We wanted to keep playing. It's tough to lose. It hurts. But we're going to keep building."
While there are no moral victories the Eagles have a lot to build on for next year. Add a few pieces on defense and another receiver for Foles to throw to and the Eagles should make it back to the playoffs for what is hopefully a longer run.