Watch: NFL playoff final four set as Saints advance
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Watch: NFL playoff final four set as Saints advance

Michael Thomas #13 of the New Orleans Saints makes the catch under pressure from Josh Hawkins #48 of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Michael Thomas #13 of the New Orleans Saints makes the catch under pressure from Josh Hawkins #48 of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Drew Brees threw two touchdown passes and the New Orleans Saints beat defending champion Philadelphia 20-14 Sunday, joining the history-making New England Patriots in the NFL playoff semi-finals.

Two days before his 40th birthday, Brees overcame a first-pass pickoff to complete 28 of 38 throws for 301 yards and rally the host Saints from a 14-0 deficit in the team's greatest playoff fightback.

"We just had to find our rhythm," Brees said. "I tried to take a shot on the first play and that didn't work. They got off to a phenomenal start."

But the Saints will go marching into next Sunday's National Conference final against the visiting Los Angeles Rams for a berth in Super Bowl 53 on February 3 at Atlanta.

The Rams and Saints each went an NFL-best 13-3 this season, with New Orleans beating the Rams 45-35 in November.

The Saints won their only Super Bowl in 2010. The Rams own three NFL titles from three different cities -- Cleveland in 1945, Los Angeles in 1951 and the 2000 Super Bowl while based in St. Louis. They moved back to LA in 2016.

Eagles fly high early

The Saints blasted Philadelphia 48-7 in a November meeting, but the Eagles served notice early they wouldn't suffer another disaster.

Philadelphia's Cre'Von LeBlanc intercepted Brees's first pass to set up a 37-yard Nick Foles touchdown toss to Jordan Matthews. Foles followed with a 1-yard touchdown run later in the first quarter for a 14-0 Eagles lead.

New Orleans answered with a 12-play, 79-yard touchdown drive -- sustained by a Taysom Hill fake punt run and capped by a 2-yard Brees touchdown pass to rookie Keith Kirkwood on fourth down -- and Will Lutz's 45-yard field goal made it 14-10 at half-time.

The Saints took their first lead on a season-longest 18-play, 92-yard touchdown march that took 11:29 of the third quarter and ended with a 2-yard Brees touchdown pass to Michael Thomas.

Lutz added a 39-yard field goal for a 20-14 New Orleans lead but missed from 52 yards with 2:58 remaining.

Foles drove the Eagles into Saints territory but a pass deflected off the hands of Alshon Jeffery and into those of Saints defender Marshon Lattimore for an interception and New Orleans ran out the clock.

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