Philadelphia Eagles run over Saints for first home victory since Dec. 13, 2020 -- also over New Orleans

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PHILADELPHIA – On the surface, the Eagles ran all over the New Orleans Saints in their 40-29 win on Sunday.

The Eagles got 242 yards rushing against the NFL's top rushing defense as the Saints came in allowing only 72.9 yards per game.

They built a 33-7 lead late in the third quarter before the Saints cut it to 11. Then Jalen Hurts' nifty move on a 24-yard touchdown run with 3:59 left put the game away before the Saints added a meaningless touchdown.

It was Hurts' third rushing touchdown of the game.

Yet Miles Sanders, who led the Eagles with 94 yards rushing in his return from an ankle injury, hardly had a smooth game. He fumbled once deep in Eagles' territory and nearly fumbled again inside the Eagles' 10, both in the first half.

After the near fumble, he didn't carry the ball again until Jordan Howard, who had 63 yards rushing, left with a knee injury late in the third quarter.

Howard was among three key players to leave with injuries, joining linebacker Davion Taylor and cornerback Darius Slay, whose 51-yard interception return for a touchdown gave the Eagles a 27-7 lead just before halftime.

The Saints, meanwhile, kept cutting into the Eagles' lead until Hurts put the game away, giving the Eagles (5-6) their first home win after four straight losses to start the season.

Hurts had 69 yards rushing and went 13 of 24 passing for 147 yards.

Sanders had gotten off to a good start. He had a nice 25-yard run early, but fumbled the ball away at the Eagles' 6 on another run and nearly coughed up another fumble deep in Eagles' territory.

Still, the Eagles were running at will and Siemian couldn't get anything going through a first half in which he was 6-for-18 for 60 yards and 2 interceptions.

It was the Eagles' first home victory since their 24-21 over the Saints last Dec. 13. That was Hurts' first start as an NFL quarterback, and the Eagles rushed for 246 yards that game against the Saints, who had the NFL's top-ranked rushing defense coming in.

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On Sunday, Hurts got the Eagles on the board with his 1-yard sneak in the first quarter. That was set up with three completions to Dallas Goedert, who on Friday signed a four-year contract extension worth as much as $59 million.

Hurts' 3-yard TD run made it 14-0. That was Hurts' 7th rushing TD of the season, the most in Eagles' history through 11 games.

Jake Elliott hit two field goals – from 50 and 37 yards – to give the Eagles a 13-point lead before Slay stepped in front of Deonte Harris on the sideline and didn't stop until he reached the end zone.

The Eagles, however, settled for field goals on two straight drives in the third quarter before finally putting the game away.

Philadelphia Eagles QB  Jalen Hurts runs past the New Orleans Saints defense during the first half.
Philadelphia Eagles QB Jalen Hurts runs past the New Orleans Saints defense during the first half.

Darius Slay leaves with head injury

Darius Slay left the game with a head injury in the fourth quarter. He went into the locker room for evaluation.

Slay had already returned an interception 51 yards for a touchdown in the final seconds of the first half.

He became the second defensive player to leave with an injury. Linebacker Davion Taylor left in the first quarter with a knee injury and didn't return.

Rookie Zech McPhearson replaced Slay while Alex Singleton replaced Taylor.

Jordan Howard leaves with knee injury

The Saints couldn't top Jordan Howard, who was running all over them Sunday.

But Howard, who 10 carries for 63 yards, left the game with a knee injury in the third quarter and didn't return. Howard had just picked up 7 yards when he was sent head over heels on a tackle, landing on his shoulder.

But Howard stayed on the ground and ended up limping off the field.

Jake Elliott keeps making FGs

Eagles kicker Jake Elliott made his fourth field goal Sunday as he moved into third place all-time in scoring in Eagles' history.

Elliott hit from 50 yards, 37, 33 and 47. He also made four extra points. That gave him 478 points in his career.

In one game, Elliott passed Steve Van Buren, Harold Carmichael and Sam Baker. But Elliott has a long way to go to catch Bobby Walston (881 points) and David Akers (1,323 points) to take over first.

Still, Elliott is 18-for-20 on field goals this season, and 3-for-3 from 50 yards and beyond.

Sanders up and down in return

Sanders had some good plays and some bad ones in the first half.

His 25-yard run on the Eagles' first play of their third drive gave the Eagles the ball at the Saints' 33. They went in to score for a 14-0 lead.

But on the Eagles' next possession, he fumbled the ball away at the Eagles' 6, and the Saints converted that into a touchdown, cutting the Eagles' lead to 14-7.

On the next possession, the Eagles had the ball on the Saints' 34. Hurts scrambled and threw deep to Sanders, who was wide open. But Sanders waited for the ball to come to him and Marcus Williams sprinted over and broke it up.

Sanders didn't touch the ball again until near the end of the first half, when he again took a handoff at the 4. He would have fumbled again had the referees not blown the play dead after Sanders picked up 4 yards.

Sanders didn't touch the ball through the Eagles' first two drives of the second half. In fact, he was on the field for only one play. Then Howard got hurt.

T.J. Edwards shines on defense

Linebacker T.J. Edwards showed why he is worthy of being an every-down linebacker after he intercepted Siemian with 9:37 left in the first quarter, giving the Eagles the ball at New Orleans' 39.

It was Edwards' first interception of the season and second of his career. Edwards also had a fumble recovery and broke up a 2-point conversion.

Contact Martin Frank at mfrank@delawareonline.com. Follow on Twitter @Mfranknfl.

This article originally appeared on Delaware News Journal: Philadelphia Eagles beat New Orleans Saints with potent rushing