The Saints rely on Michael Thomas during their historical journey

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NEW ORLEANS – The reader had a bit of everything. More importantly, he had a lot of catcher Michael Thomas of New Orleans Saints.

According to the ESPN Stats & Information study, it took 18 games, 92 miles and 92 minutes – the longest post-season training of any team for at least 20 years. It was the longest race of all Saints games, whether regular or secondary, in the same period.

In the end, Thomas's two goals in the shootout gave the Saints the lead in their first lead of the game and kept their hopes alive of the Super Bowl with a 20-14 win over the Philadelphia Eagles in the divisional round of the NFC playoffs.

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The Saints will host the NFC Championship game for the second time in franchise history next Sunday against the No. 2 seeded Los Angeles Rams.

Sunday's entire game was essentially a survival for the Saints, who were rusty after their first indirect round and immediately dropped to 14-0 thanks to an interception by Drew Brees in the first match of the match and two fast catches by the Eagles. on their first two goods.

And it was not quite over until Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore made his second interception of the match with 1:52 left and the Eagles on their way to a potential score.

The Saints' return also included a false flat save and a TD pass from Brees to Keith Kirkwood on the fourth and second goals in the second quarter for their first game score.

Michael Thomas, who led the NFL at receptions this season, had 12 catches for 171 yards on Sunday as the Saints advanced to the NFC championship game. John David Mercer USA TODAY Sports

But it was this historic campaign, which lasted almost the entire third quarter, that defined the survival of the saints.

They committed four penalties during training, including the pending hold in the punt return that sent them off to their own 8-yard line. And one of those who made a call – against left guard Andrus Peat – canceled a potential 46-yard pass by opposing quarterback Taysom Hill to attacking midfielder Alvin Kamara.

But the saints continued to survive. A 20-meter Brees pass to Thomas the second and twentieth. A 20-meter pass from Brees to Thomas the third and 16th. A total of three three-thirds conversions on the player. Kamara has walked the top 15 riders for 15 yards. And the TD passes to Thomas, even with a defender on the back, the first goal and the goal of the two.

"The third game that Drew converted to Mike was huge. There were too many games specifically for [review it all]. But we hung on and fought, and that was encouraging, "said Saints coach Sean Payton, who congratulated Thomas for once again growing up. "He has very good hands in the traffic. He is tough and competitive.

"The man is one of those players who thinks he can do this type of game – and Drew was able to find it. These were significant pieces that really changed the direction of the game. "

Play LinePlay1er & 10NO 8Mark Ingram 1-yard run & 9NO 9Pass complete; Defensive Retention Penalty on Eagles1st & 10NO 14Ingram 4 ft. & 6NO 18Drew Brees, 8-yard pass to Ted Ginn Jr.1st & 10NO 26Alvin Kamara 1 yard and 9NO. 27Brees passes 11 yards to Michael Thomas 1st and 10NO 28Brees 6-yard pass to Keith Kirkwood2nd and 4NO 44Kamara 1m3rd run and 3NO 45Brees passes 9-yard to Josh Hill1e and 10PHI 46Brees pass incomplete2 and 10PHI 4646 TD yards go back Holding Penalty2nd & 20NO 44Brees Spend 20 Yards at Thomas1st & 10PHI 36Tre Quan Smith 5 Yard & 5PHI Run 31Kamara 4 Yard Run 3J & 1PHI 27Kamara run1st 10 yards and pass 263 yards at 5KPM pass passes to end of the match pass2nd & 20PJI 36Brees 4-yard pass at Kamara3rd & 16PHI 32Brees 20-yard pass at Thomas1st & 10PHI 12First game start penalty1er and 15PHI 17Kamara 15 yards and goalPHI 2Brees 2 yards to Thomas, touchdownESPN

Thomas finished with 12 catches for 171 yards and one touchdown.

Thomas, known as "Can not Guard Mike," was named the All-Pro freshman team this year after setting a franchise record with 125 catches and 1,405 yards at the front desk. his third season in the NFL, with nine TD catches. And his previous best time of the season was against the Rams the last time they were in the Superdome in Week 9, when he managed the decisive match against 72 yards in a 45-35 win and pulled out a cell phone from below. the goal after.

Who knew that all this was only a warming up for the biggest and best to come?