les Rams next Sunday for the NFC championship.
The Kansas City Chiefs host the New England Patriots in the nightcap.
The Eagles took a 14-10 lead into the intermission. It was a tale of two quarters, a dominant first and an injury-riddled second.
The Saints got their first lead with 1:40 left in the third quarter. And the Eagles made them work for it.
Thomas caught a two-yard pass from Brees to cap an 18-play, 92-yard touchdown march that officially consumed 11-minutes, 29-seconds but seemed like a lifetime to the Eagles.
It gave the Saints a 17-14 advantage.
Brees converted tough third down after tough third down due to 25 yards worth of penalties – one of which wiped out an apparent TD - as Carl Cheffers and his crew staked out their territory.
The biggest play was when Brees stepped up in the pocket and zipped a 20-yard strike to Thomas on third-and-16 from the 32-yard line of the Eagles to set up the go-ahead tally.
Thomas beat Cre’Von LeBlanc on the throw, just not by much. LeBlanc flipped him on his spine just to see if he’d hold on.
LeBlanc intercepted Brees’ first pass of the game, a deep ball intended for Ted Ginn to give the Eagles a spark.
Foles guided the Eagles on a 76-yard scoring march, completing all six of his passes, including a 37-yarder to Jordan Matthews for a 7-0 lead.
Foles completed his first seven attempts for 83 yards, one TD and a 155.7 rating, and he reached the ball over the pile to get the Eagles their second TD and a 14-0 lead with 4:37 left in the first quarter.
Brees started 0-for-3 with the pick.
Eagles lead 7-0 7:04 left in first quarter.
OG Brandon Brooks being carted off now. A big loss for offensive line. Stefen Wisniewski replaces Brooks on right side.
Rasul Douglas, the cornerback, also was carted off yet returned. It was that kind of day.
With 10:28, the Eagles weren’t done. They held the Saints to a Wil Lutz 39-yard field goal hiking the deficit to 20-14.
At that point the Eagles were short of healthy bodies, just as in their earlier loss to the Saints this season.
With half the Philly defense injured, Brees hit Thomas for 40 yards to the 24-yard line of the Eagles. On fourth-and-goal at the 2, Brees lobbed a scoring pass to Keith Kirkwood for the Saints’ first points.
The biggest play on the 79yard drive was a fake punt on fourth-and-one at the Saint’s 30. Taysom Hill, the protector, took the snap and picked up four yards.
The Superdome crowd, true to its reputation, brought it. The Eagles’ offensive timing was off so drastically in the fourth quarter, it looked like Foles was playing in slow motion.
The turnover proved costly, with the Patriots scoring just four plays later when Michel crossed the goal line from 5 yards for his third touchdown of the half.
New England established the run early, creating big holes in a Chargers defense that ended the regular season ranked ninth in the NFL, allowing just 106 rushing yards per game.
Michel carried 16 times for 105 yards in the first half.
He set the tone early, scoring from 1 yard on the opening possession of the game. It capped a 14-play, 83-yard drive in which he rushed five times for 15 yards and had a 9-yard reception.
The Patriots added scoring drives of 67, 58, 87 and 35 yards. MILESTONES >> Michel became just the second Patriots rookie in franchise history to have a rushing touchdown in the postseason. He joined fellow Georgia alum, Robert Edwards, who ran for a touchdown as a rookie in New England’s 1998 wild-card loss to Jacksonville.
Michel also became the first New England player with two rushing TDs in the first quarter of a playoff game since LeGarrette Blount did it in the 2013 divisional-round win against Indianapolis.
Brady extended his postseason record with his 15th career 300-yard passing game. Next is Peyton Manning with nine.
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas (13) pulls in a touchdown reception against Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Cre’von LeBlanc (34) in the second half of an NFL divisional playoff football game in New Orleans, Sunday.