NEW ORLEANS (AP) – Upon arriving in the end zone for the first time all season, Joe Horn was in the mood to celebrate.

After a legitimizing win over the Philadelphia Eagles, so are the surprising New Orleans Saints.

Shut out of the end zone through the first five games of the season, Horn did two shoulder-shaking end zone dances after catches of 14 and 48 yards, then John Carney hit a 31-yard field goal as time expired to lift the Saints to a 27-24 victory over the Eagles on Sunday.

New Orleans (5-1) now enters its bye week in first place in the NFC South. If any are still doubting the surprising start of a revamped New Orleans team that went 3-13 last season, the Eagles (4-2), who were favored on the road coming in, can’t be counted among them. Nor could many in the raucous, sold-out Louisiana Superdome, which rained down earsplitting cheers on the Philadelphia offense all game long and erupted in celebration as Carney’s winning kick left his foot clearly on target.

Horn finished with 110 yards on six catches, including a key 20-yard gain on the winning drive.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees completed 27 of 37 passes for 275 yards and three touchdowns and did not take a sack against a defense that has 23 already this season. He led a final drive that went 72 yards on 16 plays and chewed up the final 8:26. Deuce McAllister, who missed much of the first half after tweaking his hamstring, made a key first-down run at the 2-minute warning that allowed Brees to kneel three times to run down the clock before the game-ending field goal.

Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, off to a torrid start this season, was 19-of-32 for 247 yards and two touchdowns. But the Saints defense threw him off his rhythm intermittently, sacking him three times.

The Eagles were down 17-3 to start the second half but needed only three plays to change the tone of the game. McNabb found Reggie Brown wide open along the left sideline, then Brown stopped and ran away from five defenders back toward the far side for a 60-yard touchdown.

Another McNabb-to-Brown connection for 17-yards on a third-and-15 extended the Eagles’ next scoring drive, which ended with a 3-yard pass to tight end L.J. Smith to tie the game at 17 late in the third quarter.

Brown wound up with 121 yards receiving on six catches.

The Eagles were back in scoring position again three plays later after Brees’ pass to Marques Colston was knocked out of the receiver’s hand by Juqua Thomas and the ball landed in the arms of defensive lineman Darwin Walker, who was tackled at the New Orleans 15.

On the next play, Brown scored on a reverse to put the Eagles in front 24-17 early in the fourth quarter.

However, the Saints responded quickly when Philadelphia’s coverage broke down on Brees’ rollout and the quarterback found Horn for a 48-yard TD to tie it at 24.

The Saints scored 10 points on their first two possessions on Carney’s 39-yard field goal, followed by Brees’ 14-yard pass over the middle to Horn for the receiver’s first TD of the season.

Philadelphia did not score until David Akers hit a 47-yard field goal with 3:03 left in the first half.

But a critical error on a punt return put the Saints in position to strike right back. Dexter Wynn muffed the punt as he was run into by teammate Ryan Moats and Terrance Copper recovered for the Saints at the Eagles’ 19.

That set up Brees’ third-down slant pass to Colston for a 7-yard score and the rookie’s fourth TD of the season.

AP-ES-10-15-06 1700EDT


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