NEW ORLEANS — Injuries overshadowed an amazing start to Sunday’s divisional round playoff game for the Eagles.
All-Pro defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, starting cornerback Rasul Douglas, and Pro Bowl right guard Brandon Brooks were out by the time the second quarter reached its midway point, though Cox and Douglas eventually made it back.
Cox was injured on a play that seemed a huge momentum-turner.
The Saints, down 14-0, faced fourth-and-1 at their 30. The Eagles had declined a holding penalty on the third-down play. New Orleans faked the punt, using jack-of-all-trades Taysom Hill, lined up behind the center. Hill ran for 4 yards and a first down, and Cox left with a foot injury.
New Orleans eventually scored on the drive, Drew Brees hitting Keith Kirkwood, who was covered by Josh Hawkins, with Douglas out. The Eagles signed Hawkins to their practice squad Dec. 11 and brought him up to the roster Dec. 26.
Douglas injured an ankle. Brooks’ injury was described as “leg” and he was ruled out.
Cox returned to the field with 35 seconds left in the half. Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery exited the field before halftime with an apparent injury, too.
The offense, and the run game in particular, seemed to bog down without Brooks, who was replaced by veteran guard-center Stefen Wisniewski.
The Eagles continued to play without cornerback Sidney Jones and wide receiver Mike Wallace, both of whom were inactive even though their practice participation increased during the week.
Wallace has not played since Week 2 because of a foot injury. Jones did not play the last four games because of a hamstring injury. Both players were listed as questionable.
The Eagles’ other inactive players were linebacker B.J. Bello, defensive tackle Bruce Hector, offensive lineman Matt Pryor, offensive lineman Chance Warmack, and quarterback Carson Wentz (back). Wentz, Jones, and Wallace were missing the game because of injuries; the other four were healthy scratches.
Linebacker D.J. Alexander was back in the lineup after missing three games with a hamstring injury, giving a boost to special teams.