From the cheap seats: Heartstopping Saints win over Eagles

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Observations: Part one

Alvin Kamara
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – JANUARY 13: Alvin Kamara #41 of the New Orleans Saints is pushed out of bounds by Avonte Maddox #29 of the Philadelphia Eagles during the fourth quarter in the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Mercedes Benz Superdome on January 13, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

The energy coming into the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Sunday was outstanding. The Who Dat Nation was absolutely geeked for the game. I’ve been a regular at games since 2003 and only a few had more buzz and energy.

It was disappointing for the Saints to take a quarter to get started. Had they taken off early, the roof would have come off the dome and there might not have been any way to put it back on.

The Saints began sluggish on both sides of the ball. After the Drew Brees interception on the first play from scrimmage, Eagles QB Nick Foles completed eight of his first nine passes before being intercepted by Marshon Lattimore.

As well, the Saints offense was stagnant. Brees had a few under-thrown passes as well as a fumble on a center exchange. Then there was a sack/fumble that led to some controversy but was correctly ruled. Fortunately that play was the end of the horribly bad first quarter for the Saints.

Often after layoffs the players take a quarter to get right. After that, the Saints got back to business. However, they only had 17 yards of offense in that first period, and gave up two TDs.

One play before the interception, Lattimore, who rarely leaves the field on defense, was on the sidelines. Don’t know if it was an injury or what, but he was out that one play.

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Injuries played a big part in this game, particularly in the Saints favor. One thing that happens when a team plays a lot of games, especially big meaningful games, is they get tired. Philadelphia had to have been fatigued. This was their fifth road game in six weeks. Since the Saints game, for them every week has had to have been like a playoff game. That type of emotion that many weeks takes a mental and physical toll.

That may have been part of the reason for so many injuries. At several points, the Eagles were playing without Jason Peters, Rasul Douglas, Fletcher Cox, and Michael Bennett among others. All those guys returned, but Brandon Brooks left with a torn Achilles (two plays after our own Sheldon Rankins went out with the same injury). When a player comes back after being hurt, it’s often not the same player you get back on field. Those little injuries worked in the Saints favor.

The one big injury that did NOT work in the Saints’ favor was the Rankins Achilles tear. Yes, he’s done for this season and maybe a good bit of next season. Look for him on the PUP. Achilles injuries are notorious for being iffy and tough to get back to 100-percent from. And at Rankins’ size, that won’t make it any easier.

Likely we will look to do something with our lineup, whether its to bring up one of the defensive tackles on the practice squad, sliding one of our defensive ends inside on occasion or just rolling with the three guys we still have. You may also see them pull out another linebacker and play a faux 3-4 defense.