So just getting another chance at trying to atone for that should be motivation enough for his Birds when they visit New Orleans this Sunday for an NFC divisional round playoff clash.
Pederson reiterated that he never was bothered by Saints coach Sean Payton’s decision to keep pouring it on long after their last meeting was out of reach. But even if he was, he hinted on Wednesday that it would be a waste of energy to bring those thoughts back to the forefront for this rematch.
“I think just being in the divisional round is fuel enough,” Pederson said. “Where we are, one of four NFC teams remaining, that’s fuel enough.”
The Eagles have won six of seven since that low point and will bring a boatload of momentum with them as a result.
The only problem is that the Saints are sitting at home in the Superdome, where they’re just about unbeatable and have had essentially two extra weeks to get their bodies and minds ready for this game. Because they were locked into the top playoff seed heading into Week 17, most of their key players haven’t seen any game action since a 31-28 win over Pittsburgh two days before Christmas.
What it means is another firestorm for the Eagles on the road against the best and most complete team in the NFC and perhaps the NFL.
Also, the Payton-Brees tag team is 5-0 at home in the playoffs.
So quarterback Nick Foles, like his coach, doesn’t have time to ponder any revenge. He’s too busy just getting himself and his offense ready for Sunday.
Besides, he didn’t play in the first meeting anyway.
However, it doesn’t mean that game didn’t matter. In fact, it might have provided the stumbling Eagles the turning point they needed, according to Foles.
“I think that game has helped us become the team we are today,” he said. “Going through that — that’s not easy as a team to lose like that, but it’s like I said: there was never any pointing fingers. It actually brought us closer. It can separate a team or bring a team closer, and it brought us closer.
“And you know, at this point of the year, you really don’t need any more fuel. We’re out here ready to roll, working hard.”
The only reason the Eagles are revisiting that game is for technical/strategy purposes. Nothing else.
“In this business, you have to have a short-term memory,” Pederson said. “You have to just push the eject button a lot and move on to the next one. We look back at it, look at it from the standpoint of X’s and O’s, personnel, what did we do, not do, what can we do better, and all those types of things.
“I don’t think you say, `hey, you focus on that game.’ As I said the other day on Monday, we’re different, they’re different, obviously. We’re just looking forward to going back down there.”
Added Foles: “First off, don’t worry about what happened. You learn from it but you can’t dwell on it going into this game. It’s a new game and it’s really just my philosophy — play one play at a time, stay in the moment. That’s it. I can’t go out there and worry about scoring 100 points. You can only score six.
“… Each game is a new entity. You don’t do this game alone. We have our defense that’s going to be ready to roll, our special teams, our offense. So we’re going to go play great team, Philadelphia football, and that’s all we can do.”