A normally dominant home team the Saints went into lasts night game the strong favorite over the waining Dallas Cowboys, four quarters later the Saints were left asking what went wrong when starting at a 24-17 score in favor of Dallas.
The Saints didn’t really need this game though, they have already secured a play-off spot, but Dallas on the other hand needed a win to keep their play-off hopes alive.
Unfortunately the loss to the Cowboys halted the Saints pursuit of a perfect season, but most will tell you a perfect season is no where near as important as winning the Super Bowl, and the Saints are still very much in contention for that crown.
Start fast and finish strong, that is what the Saints were supposed to do, but instead that’s what Dallas did jumping out to a fourteen point lead in the first quarter.
Too many mistakes and too many turnovers kept the Saints from producing any offense through the first half, in fact it was their lowest output for a half of football this season retreating into the locker room having only put up three points and 162 yards.
In contrast Dallas put up 17 points and 240 yards of offense in the first half.
Dallas would only score one more time in the second half, a two yard touchdown run from Marion Barber, but were able to keep the Saints offense off the field by controlling the clock nearly twelve minutes of the third quarter.
Total time of possession heavily favored the Cowboys 36:26 to 23:34 as the Saints went a lowly 1 of 7 on third down.
However the Saints seemed to lift the fog in the fourth quarter and sprang to life for the first time in the game scoring 14 un-answered points on back to back offensive possessions, a one yard run by Mike Bell followed by a seven yard screen pass to Lance Moore.
So with 8:00 minutes remaining the Saints pulled the game to within one possession, Dallas marched down the field consuming 6:00 minutes off the clock before stalling and settling for a field goal which kicker Nick folk missed from 24 yards out.
At this point it appeared the Saints had a chance to tie the game and force overtime, very reminiscent of the Redskins match up a few weeks ago the Saints came back to win.
Brees took over with a little over two minutes remaining and no timeouts to attempt a comeback, eleven plays later on the Dallas 40 he was sacked by DeMarcus Ware and fumbled the ball, game over.
Brees would finish 29 of 45 for 298 yards and one touchdown. He threw one interception, fumbled twice and was sacked four times.
By virtue of the loss the Saints lead in the NFC slipped a bit and the Minnesota Vikings had a chance to inch closer to New Orleans, however the Vikings were blown out by Carolina so the Saints loss no ground and still hold a two game lead.
If the Saints win this week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers they will clinch home field advantage throughout the play-offs.
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