NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Two teams with the same record. Two teams heading in strikingly different directions.
Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints appear to be on the rise again.
Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles are down, and nearly out.
Brees threw two touchdown passes, extending his NFL record streak to 51 games in a row, while Vick was sacked seven times and took an awful beating as the Saints romped to a 28-13 victory over the Eagles on Monday night.
Not that Philadelphia didn't have its chances. But four first-and-goals resulted in two measly field goals, a tipped pass led to Patrick Robinson's 99-yard interception return for a New Orleans touchdown, and the Eagles messed up a trick play when they had the home team totally fooled, costing them a score.
"As coaches and as players, we obviously have to do a better job," embattled coach Andy Reid said of the Eagles (3-5), who are mired in a four-game losing streak. "That starts with me."
The Saints (3-5) revolve around Brees, of course, and he played much better than he did the previous week in a 34-14 loss to Denver. But his performance was more efficient than spectacular, as New Orleans seemed intent on proving it's not just a one-man team.
The NFL's worst-ranked running game relied on a trio of backs — Chris Ivory, Mark Ingram and Pierre Thomas — and finished with 140 yards, nearly double its season average. Ivory had a 22-yard touchdown run.
The defense came up with two huge turnovers near its own end zone. There was Robinson's interception and return, which matched Darren Sharper's franchise record. Then, with just over 3 minutes left and the Eagles down to their last gasp, Brent Celek caught a pass at the New Orleans 8 but fumbled it away.
The Saints recovered, and the Superdome celebration was on.
"There are defining moments throughout a season," Brees said. "Big plays, big wins, that kind of bring you together and let you see a vision of what you can be, what you can accomplish. Here we are the midway point. It's gone by fast.
"This," he added, "is the type of momentum we want going into the second half of the season."
Another dismal performance by the Eagles is sure to keep the heat on Vick and Reid.