NEW ORLEANS — The eyes had it and so did the New Orleans Saints.
Johnny Poe read the eyes of Philadelphia quarterback Randall Cunningham and returned a pass interception 40 yards for a touchdown Sunday to help the Saints take a 23-21 victory over the Eagles.
"My eyes lit up when I saw the ball coming," Poe said. "I knew I had it all the way."
The interception gave the Saints (3-2) a 20-0 lead in the second quarter and they were just able to hold off the Eagles (1-4). The Eagles then put in veteran Ron Jaworski to replace Cunningham, the rookie quarterback from Nevada Las Vegas.
Dave Waymer, Poe's partner at cornerback for the Saints, said Cunningham is easy to read.
"He's going to be one of the best in the league," Waymer said. "It's easy to defend him right now because he looks at his receivers all the way."
Waymer had three interceptions, one in the end zone to kill an Eagle drive, another that gave the Saints field position for one of Morten Andersen's three field goals and the third with 1:24 left in the contest.
Philadelphia Coach Marion Campbell said Waymer's final interception took all the life out of his team.
"Even at the end of the game we still had a shot to win it, but Waymer made that great interception," he said.
It was almost exclusively a defensive victory for the Saints. The offense had to settle for field goals after being given excellent field position on three occasions by the defense. The only offensive touchdown for the Saints came on a 31-yard pass from quarterback Dave Wilson to wide receiver Eugene Goodlow with 3:45 left in the first quarter.
Andersen's field goals were from 40 yards in the first quarter to get the Saints off to a 3-0 lead, from 33 yards in the second quarter and 43 yards with 6:54 left in the game.
Ricky Jackson, the Saints' Pro Bowl linebacker, said he got fired up when it appeared the Saints offense wasn't going to be able to score.
"I just got mad and decided we had to start pressuring the quarterback," he said. "When we got up 20-0 it looked like the offense just laid back."
At that point, 12-year veteran Jaworski relieved Cunningham at quarterback for the Eagles. He got his team on the scoreboard for the first time with 10 seconds left in the first half, capping a 66-yard drive with a seven-yard scoring pass to tight end John Spagnola.
After a scoreless third quarter, Jaworski got the Eagles another touchdown with a 14-yard pass to Spagnola.
He narrowed the gap to the final margin with a 20-yard scoring pass to Mike Quick with 3:35 left in the game.