NEW ORLEANS - You knew Drew Brees was going to be a problem for the Eagles' defense Monday night. You knew tight end Jimmy Graham and wide receiver Marques Colston were going to be a challenge for Todd Bowles' linebackers and safeties, particularly with Nate Allen out and David Sims in.
But Chris Ivory?
The Saints entered Monday night's game with the worst rushing offense in the National Football League. Seventy-two yards per game and 3.7 yards per carry. Had rushed for more than 83 yards in a game just once the entire season, and that was way back in Week 2.
And Darren Sproles, perhaps their best running back, didn't play against the Eagles because of a hand injury.
Yet, the Saints managed to gash the Eagles' defense for 163 rushing yards in the first three quarters on their way to a 28-13 win.
The Saints' rushing success only made Brees and the passing game that much more difficult to deal with for the Eagles defense. Brees, who completed just 22 of 42 passes last week against the Broncos, was 19-for-25 for 237 yards with two touchdown passes in the first three quarters.
The Eagles' run defense, which played so well in the first four games, has fallen off the map the last four games. The Eagles held their first four opponents to 91.5 rushing yards per game and 3.8 yards per carry. In the last four games, they've given up 137 yards per game and 4.6 yards per carry.
After running the ball just twice for 4 yards in the first quarter, the Saints rushed for 102 yards on eight carries in the second quarter and 57 more yards on nine carries in the third quarter as the Eagles were guilty of numerous missed tackles. The Saints' offensive line easily handled the Eagles' front seven.
Opponents have averaged 6.9 yards per carry in the second quarter against the Eagles this season, and 5.1 yards per carry in the third quarter.
Early in the second quarter, after the first of two Alex Henery field goals made it a 7-3 game, the Saints began gashing the Eagles. Their second scoring drive featured 9-, 23- and 22-yard runs by Ivory, who hadn't had a carry all season.
Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha had a costly missed tackle on his 23-yard run. Left end Brandon Graham got sucked inside and left the entire right side for him to run through on a counter play for his 22-yard TD.
Contact Paul Domowitch at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Pdomo. For more Eagles coverage and opinion, read the Daily News' blog at eagletarian.com.