Saints Hartley, Jenkins Prove Their Worth Against Cowboys
By Keith Null
The Saints won their fourth game in a row this season beating the Dallas Cowboys 30-27 on Thanksgiving day.
However New Orleans allowed Dallas to get back in the game blowing a 17 point lead while getting outscored 20-6 entering the fourth quarter.
Then Tashard Choice would put Dallas ahead 27-23 with a one yard touchdown run with 5:51 left in the game, a score that appeared to ice the game for Dallas.
The Saints meanwhile would go three and out on their ensuing possession after a sack on Drew Brees for a seven yard loss on third down.
The Cowboys would regain possession with four minutes left on their own 38 yard line and after two quick run plays that gained four yards they were facing a third and six on their own 32.
Cowboys quarterback Jon Kitna dropped back and hit receiver Roy Williams, who had beaten Saints rookie corner Patrick Robinson like a drum, on a slant that went for 47 yards.
At first glance it appeared the game was over for the Saints but safety/corner Malcolm Jenkins was there at the end of the catch and run for the strip and recovery at the eleven yard line.
Brees would take over and with five plays drive the Saints down the field for an 89 yard game clinching scoring drive, highlighted by a 55 yard pass to Robert Meachem followed by a twelve yard touchdown pass to Lance Moore.
Saints 30, Cowboys 27 — Jenkins play single handidly saved the Saints from losing the game and in certain circles some say it even saved the Saints season given the closeness of the NFC South play off race.
Since being drafted in the first round of the 2008 draft, primarily being used on special teams his rookie season, Jenkins is quickly developing into one of the best young safeties in the game.
Originally drafted as a corner the Saints made the decision to switch him to safety after taking Florida State standout corner Patrick Robinson in this years draft.
Most scouts believed coming out of college that if he was to make the switch from corner to safety once in the NFL that he possessed the ability to become a Pro Bowl level talent almost immediately.
So far this season, filling in for an injured Darren Sharper, he has not disappointed.
Kicker Garrett Hartley had a career long fifty yard field goal that looked as if it would have been good from seventy.
Hartley was a perfect 3 of 3 on field goal and 3 of 3 on extra points. This after missing a 27 yard attempt against the Seahawks last week.
His struggles have been well documented this season, and going into the contest he was a miserable 10 of 15, including a huge miss in week three, that could have beat Atlanta and secured the Saints as the number one team in the NFC South.
The performance in Dallas assures he will remain in the lineup for the foreseeable future and validates head coach Sean Payton’s decision to keep him as the starting kicker regardless of his recent issues.
Next up the Saints will travel to Ralph Wilson Stadium to take on the struggling, yet dangerous, Cincinnati Bengals.
Check out Keith Null’s weekly article about the Saints on NFL.com by clicking here.
Get WhoDatDish.com three ways subscribe to the RSS feed,become a friend of WDD on Twitter,or enjoy the new iPhone and Android app by searching for Who Dat Dish in your phone’s app store,it’s free