Eagles’ title defense ends with loss to Saints, 20-14

Updated: 9:40 p.m.

The Philadelphia Eagles’ Super Bowl title defense is over. The defending champions fought hard, but lost 20-14 to the New Orleans Saints in the Louisiana Superdome Sunday.

The Eagles started the game fast with a 14-0 lead, but the Saints scored 20 straight points to seal the win. A Nick Foles pass to Alshon Jeffery that went through his hands and was intercepted near the end of the the fourth quarter ultimately sealed the Eagles’ fate.

At Fox and Hound sports bar in Center City where the game was shown on more than 20 screens, Birds fan Aquiyl Palmer, of West Philly, said the team played well, but it all came down to luck going the Saints’ way.

“Overall our defense, everything was intact,” he said. “It was just that we lost by a lucky tip.”

Eagles fans could take solace in the fact that the 2018 team was 4-7 in the middle of the season and all seemed lost. But Foles replaced the injured Carson Wentz and this team fought back to play in the divisional round against the No. 1 seed in the NFC, taking the Saints down to the last two minutes before the interception that ended their hopes.

However, it was likely Foles’ final game as an Eagle. The quarterback who led the team through the late season playoff run to the Super Bowl last year and last week’s win in Chicago is expected to become a free agent after this season.

Yet many Philadelphia fans are holding out hope that Sunday’s game was not the last they’ll see of “St. Nick.”

Sam Storch, of Center City, said it was surprising the Eagles got this far and he thinks Foles proved himself well enough to start over Wentz.

“I think Nick Foles should be our quarterback for the future,” said Storch. “I think that he has demonstrated in big games in big moments that Nick Foles should be our quarterback.

Andy Bolat also says, “Foles is the guy.”

“He’s healthy,” said Bolat. “He’s always healthy — never injured or nothing like that. Wentz is on two injuries now, so it’s kind of a tough decision.”

But not everyone leaving the bar was in low spirits or thinking about the possible quarterback controversy in off-season. Auriel Hulin, of Philadelphia’s Graduate Hospital neighborhood, is originally from New Orleans and appeared to be a lone Saints fan standing outside the bar.

“I feel some type of way I don’t have anybody to turn up with,” she said. “But that’s alright — I can turn up by myself.”

WHYY reporter Darryl C. Murphy contributed reporting.

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