Admit it, you were getting squeamish. You’d seen this movie before, and it ended with the good guys dying in the end.
The Cowboys built an impressive 31-3 lead on the Saints Sunday night. Comfortable? Sure. But then 31-10 became 31-17 in a matter of minutes and suddenly memories of last season’s blown 26-3 lead in a home loss to the Packers started tapping on your sweaty forehead.
Thanks to the Saints’ mind-boggling decision to attempt a fake punt, however, Dallas escaped with a routine rout rather than another epic collapse.
After a sack of Tony Romo, New Orleans took possession at their 40 with still eight minutes remaining. But then Drew Brees missed a wide open Kenny Stills. After the Saints committed a penalty for having 12 men in the huddle, Cowboys’ cornerback Sterling Moore made an acrobatic breakup of a long pass intended for Jimmy Graham. After a short completion, New Orleans faced 4th-and-9 at its own 41. But needing two touchdowns to tie the game, coach Sean Payton put the ball not in the hands of Brees – but rather punter Thomas Morstead.
Instead of punting, Morstead faked a reverse and rolled right. The Cowboys sensed something fishy, but had only 10 players on the field. Didn’t matter.
Because Tyrone Crawford chased Morstead, Brandon Carr blanketed intended receiver Josh Hill and Jack Crawford eventually sacked the punter for a 2-yard loss. It was the first full sack by a Cowboys’ defensive linemen this season, and it allowed the Cowboys to breathe a sigh of relief.
For a change the Cowboys held onto a big lead. And the opposing head coach made a head-scratching decision.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.