New Orleans had the NFL’s best offense, but DeMarcus Lawrence didn’t care.[[290815791,R]]
He believed in his teammates, and that’s why he said they were going to punish the Saints physically. Well, they did just that.
The Cowboys limited New Orleans to less than 200 yards of total offense and one touchdown as they extended their winning streak to four games and seized control of the NFC East.
Here are Cowboys Insider Jean-Jacques Taylor’s 10 thoughts on the Cowboys’ 13-10 win over the New Orleans Saints:
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1. The Saints, who entered the game averaging a league-high 37.6 points, had a first-and-goal from the Dallas 7 early in the second quarter, but failed to score. Linebacker Jaylon Smith made a huge third-down hit on Alvin Kamara, bringing him down at the one following a three-yard gain. On fourth down, DeMarcus Lawrence, Tyrone Crawford and Smith combined to stop Kamara for no gain, preserving the Cowboys’ 10-0 lead.
2. The Cowboys’ defense limited New Orleans to 176 total yards and one 88-yard touchdown drive that was aided by four penalties, including a roughing the punter penalty by Randy Gregory that extended the drive.
3. Leighton VanderEsch recorded a team-high 10 tackles, DeMarcus Lawrence had a sack and a forced fumble, cornerback Anthony Brown had a sack, a tackle for loss and two pass deflections for a unit that limited New Orleans to one play of more than 20 yards.
4. Byron Jones served notice that he’s one of the NFL’s top cornerbacks, holding Michael Thomas to five catches for 40 yards with a long of 11. He was penalized twice for 22 yards, but he kept Thomas from being a difference-maker. Thomas entered the game with 86 catches for 1,080 yards.
5. Ezekiel Elliott became the first runner to get 20 carries against the Saints’ defense. He finished with 23 carries for 76 yards, a 3.3 average, but he allowed the Cowboys to keep the ball and control the game. He also caught six passes for 60 yards and a touchdown.
6. Dallas, which kept the ball for 36:53, had drives of 12, 14 and 16 plays, which allowed them to shorten the game. Each team had only nine possessions.
7. Amari Cooper caught each of the eight passes thrown his way for 75 yards as he continues to give Dak Prescott a receiver he can trust in critical situations.
8. Prescott completed 24 of 28 passes for 248 yards and a touchdown. If he hadn’t missed a wide open Michael Gallup for a touchdown in the fourth quarter his numbers would’ve been even more gaudy. He had runs of 15 and 11 yards that helped Dallas sustain drives. He lost a fumble, but overall he outplayed Brees by a wide margin.
9. The Cowboys won a game for the first time all season when they had a turnover. They lost two fumbles as Prescott extended his streak without an interception to four games.
10. The pass rush affected Brees, who completed 18 of 28 passes for 127 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He was sacked twice - hit five other times - fumbled once and harassed much of the night. He had been sacked just 10 times this season and had been hit only five times in November.