Saints’ Terron Armstead plays full game for first time since Week 9 against Rams  01/14/2019 15:48:00  2  Christopher Dabe, | The Times-Picayune

Before Sunday, New Orleans Saints left tackle Terron Armstead hadn’t played a full game since the Week 9 win against the Los Angeles Rams.

Next, with the Rams coming to New Orleans for the NFC Championship Game, Armstead can prepare knowing he played a full game in the NFC divisional round in their 20-14 victory over the Eagles at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

“It held up with what I needed it to do,” said Armstead, who suffered a torn pectoral muscle in Week 10 against the Bengals and then missed the next five games.

Armstead returned in Week 16 against the Steelers but aggravated the injury in the second quarter. Inactive in Week 17 so he could be given another week of rest before the Saints' first-round playoff bye, Armstead’s status remained in question until the Friday before facing the Eagles.

Most taxing for Armstead on Sunday was the 18-play drive in the third quarter that kept him on the field for 11 minutes, 29 seconds of game time without a break. That drive began on the New Orleans 8, and the Saints on that drive overcame three penalties that required them to cover a total of 112 yards over the course of the drive.

“I haven’t played in a while," Armstead said. "I was exhausted.”

For as tired he he was, “I tried not to let that show. I tried to fight through it,” he said.

Once Michael Thomas ended the drive with his catch of a 2-yard pass for the Saints to lead 17-14, Armstead said he was too physically spent to celebrate.

“I was trying to find the oxygen,” he said.

That first game against the Rams also was the last time before Sunday the Saints entire starting O-line played a full allotment of snaps on offense. Against the Eagles, all five starting linemen stayed on the field for all 77 snaps.

Armstead played well enough in the first half of the season to earn a starting nod for the Pro Bowl later this month. But with the Saints one step from reaching the Super Bowl, his hope is to bypass that game for the one that would come Feb. 3 in Atlanta.

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