Facebook Twitter

EAGLES’ TURNOVERS COSTLY AS SAINTS CAPITALIZE, 30-20

SHARE EAGLES’ TURNOVERS COSTLY AS SAINTS CAPITALIZE, 30-20

The Philadelphia Eagles lived by the turnover all season.

On Monday night, they died by their mistakes at the hands of the New Orleans Saints.The Saints beat the Eagles 30-20, getting 21 of those points off turnovers. Gene Atkins had a fumble recovery and an interception, Brett Maxie recovered a fumble, and Dave Waymer had an interception.

The Saints turned the ball over once.

The Eagles went into the game with a plus-25 turnover ratio, 14 turnovers better than Pittsburgh, in second place.

The loss dropped the Eagles' record to 10-5, a game behind the New York Giants in the race for the championship of the NFC East. Philadelphia must beat Phoenix next week to be assured of a playoff berth, and must get a helping hand from the Los Angeles Raiders, who face the Giants, in order to win the division title.

The Saints (8-7) were knocked out of the postseason chase a week ago mathematically and two weeks ago realistically.

"They made the turnovers and scored off them, and that's the name of the game," Eagles coach Buddy Ryan said.

John Fourcade threw three touchdown passes, two to Eric Martin and one to Dalton Hilliard

Maxie's fumble recovery set up a five-play, 35-yard drive, capped by a 17-yard touchdown pass to Martin. Atkins' fumble recovery at the Philadelphia 38-yard line set up a two-play drive and a 35-yard touchdown pass to Hilliard.

The Saints drove 70 yards to their third touchdown, which came on a 20-yard pass to Martin, and Waymer's interception led to a clinching touchdown on a 1-yard plunge by Buford Jordan.

The Saints also scored on a safety when defensive end Frank Warren, who had a career-high three sacks, nailed Randall Cunningham in the end zone as he tried to pass from his 4-yard line.

The Eagles got Cunningham touchdown passes of 13 yards to Ron Johnson and 1 yard to Dave Little, as well as field goals of 21 and 19 yards by Roger Ruzek.

Philadelphia went ahead 17-16 on the pass to Little and extended it to 20-16 on Ruzek's second field goal, which came with 16 seconds left in the third quarter.

Philadelphia had 408 yards of offense to 291 for New Orleans, but the turnovers killed the Eagles.

Cunningham passed for 306 yards and ran for 92 against the NFL's stingiest rushing defense. The Saints had given up an average of 78 rushing yards a game to previous 14 opponents, but the Eagles got 127.

Fourcade, making only his second start in a real NFL game, said he was knocked woozy in the third quarter and took two more blows to the head that aggravated his disorientation.

For a while, Jordan had to relay plays in the huddle, Fourcade said.

"He'd call the play and sort of confirm what I was mumbling," he said.

He came out of the game for two plays after being clotheslined by Andre Waters. Bobby Hebert, the regular starter, relieved him.

Fourcade played in the USFL, the CFL and Arena Football before catching on with the Saints during the players strike in 1987. He led the Saints to victory over Buffalo a week ago, and he passed for 236 yards and ran for 37 Monday night.

He said the Eagles made no secret of their plan to put an all-out rush on him.

"They told us they were coming. They laughed about coming. And they came. They came hard," he said.

Fourcade was sacked five times for 31 yards in losses, Cunningham four times for 36 yards.

"If there's one guy in their offense you had to control, it's Randall Cunningham," Saints coach Jim Mora said.

"But I really think the strength of their team is their defense. I thought our offense did a good job getting 30 points on them."

Saints linebacker Rickey Jackson said the Saints went after Cunningham as hard as the Eagles went after Fourcade.