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Week 13: New Orleans Saints vs. Dallas Cowboys Recap

Dallas Cowboys
The Wealth Record via Flickr


Dallas’ Defense Halts Saints’ 10-Game Winning Streak

The Dallas Cowboys ended the New Orleans Saints’ winning streak at ten games in the most-watched Thursday Night Football game in NFL history, 13-10. The Cowboys’ defense impressively held one of the most explosive offenses in the league to just ten points. Drew Brees threw for just 127 yards and only one touchdown.

The win was a statement game for the Cowboys’ defense in every sense. Defensive end, DeMarcus Lawrence got a lot of criticism for saying that the defense was going to punch the Saints in the mouth and choke them out. While people may criticize the visual, they can’t say he was wrong.

Dallas’ Defense Showed Up And Showed Out

The Saints were the hottest team in the league coming into Thursday night’s game. They averaged 37 points per game and drove down the field at will during their 10-game winning streak. Dallas, however, sacked Brees twice and picked him off once. Cornerback Jourdan Lewis got an interception late in the fourth quarter to seal the win for Dallas. The defense also held running back Alvin Kamara to just 36 rushing yards on 11 carries.

Perhaps the most impressive feat by the Cowboys’ defense was when the Saints were kept out of the end zone after going for it on 4th and goal from the two-yard line in the second quarter. Drew Brees handed the ball off to Alvin Kamara, and DeMarcus Lawrence simply said, no thank you.

Rookie linebacker Leighton Vander Esch recorded six solo tackles and ten total. Second-year LB Jaylon Smith also had six solo tackles, finishing with nine total. The question should no longer be about when veteran LB Sean Lee will return. This defense has shown they don’t need him to win. These two young studs have proven that they are the present and future of Dallas’ defense along with DeMarcus Lawrence.

The 4th and goal stop, holding Kamara, getting to Brees, and containing New Orleans to ten points is not just impressive, it is a statement. The Cowboys’ defense has shown they can win games, and defense wins championships.

Dak Prescott And The Offense Has To Get Better

With the exception of Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas’ offense has to get better if they’re going to make the playoffs and advance. Dak Prescott was impressive in the fact that he went 24/28 with 248 yards passing, but he should have had more.

The Saints haven’t been impressive against the pass this season, and Prescott only threw one touchdown. He was also sacked seven times and fumbled twice. This game should have been put away early with the way Dallas’ defense was playing. Elliott truly is the key to Dallas’ success.

The Saints’ run defense is strong, and they held Elliott to just 76 yards on 23 carries. The difference for him came in the passing game. He had six catches for 60 yards and one TD.

Saints’ Offense Just Couldn’t March In

Drew Brees started the game 0-4 on pass attempts for the first time in his career on Thursday night. Additionally, he had a QBR of just 16.3. Dallas’ defensive front did an impressive job of getting pressure up the middle and preventing him from stepping up to make throws in the pocket. Head coach Sean Payton also used up both of their challenges in the first half which would come back to haunt them late in the game.

Wide receiver Cole Beasley converted a third down after replay showed that his knee was down two yards back. Unfortunately, WR Michael Thomas convinced Payton to challenge an incomplete pass that was upheld in the first quarter. That misguided challenge and going for it on 4th and goal in the second quarter just seemed like a desperation move by a team most experts believe are Super Bowl contenders.

Look Ahead

The Saints’ ability to get back on track isn’t going to be easy, because they have a game with division rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs have the only other win against the Saints this season, and the game will be played in Tampa Bay.

The Cowboys will host a division rival themselves in the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles could be one or two games behind depending on their matchup with the Washington Redskins on Monday night.

Photo Credit

Featured Image courtesy of The Wealth Record

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