Are you looking for a prime example of a good ole fashioned tail-whipping? If so, this was your game. The Cowboys looked completely over-matched in their first trip down to New Orleans since 2009. They gave up 626 yards on defense, 40 first downs (an NFL record), seven touchdowns, and their own offense could not get anything going. Usually in games like this you can scrape together a bunch of “garbage yards” (see the Raiders last week against Philly, or most of Denver’s opponents from this year). You would think that the Cowboys found a way to get like 300 yards right? Try 193 total yards on for size. Why such a low number? How about this stat: Dallas was 0/9 on third down. If you can’t mount drives and stay on the field in New Orleans against that offense, this is what happens. It’s never going to be pretty on the scoreboard when your opponent has almost as many first downs as you have plays run (40 to 43).
Dez Bryant was held to just one catch for 44 yards. It came on a deep pass when he was working out of the slot. Keenan Lewis had him locked up on the outside, but for my money, I would have liked to have seen a better effort out of him with regards to his route running. When I was watching this one live, I could tell that his heart wasn’t into a lot of what he was doing. There were far too many lazy fly patterns and he wasn’t even turning to look for the ball. Now, this isn’t the Bash Dez Show, he was nowhere near the whole problem for Dallas. He just wasn’t part of the solution. In fairness to him, nobody else on the Cowboys was able to get open consistently. It is awfully easy for a defense to key in on one guy while trusting others to handle their own business in single coverage. The truth is, the ‘Boys only put together two good drives in this game; the two touchdown drives. Outside of them, this game was quite forgettable.
Rob Ryan is able to quell the uneasy feeling that undoubtedly came with the loss to his brother Rex and the Jets last week with a dominating performance this week. Of course, it is awfully easy to hold a team to less than 200 yards of offense when your own offense is holding the ball for 39:32. Time of possession doesn’t always matter, but in a game like this it does. Simply put, the Cowboys just didn’t have the ball enough to try and work together some continuity on offense. And when you are going three and out against the Saints down in the dome, you better pray your defense can stand tall. Unfortunately tonight, the injury riddle Dallas “D” didn’t get the job done. Things got downright ugly after Sean Lee exited the game in the first half with a leg injury, but to be honest, Monte Kiffin’s unit was getting picked apart even with him on the field. There are just some nights where the Saints are unstoppable on offense; this was one of those nights and Dallas couldn’t help but be in the line of fire.
What worked so well for the Saints this week that they didn’t have the benefit of in their loss to the Jets was an excellent running game. Mark Ingram looked like he was back in Alabama with the way he was gashing the Dallas defense. He ran for 145 yards on just 14 carries and he scored a touchdown. Pierre Thomas ran for 87 yards on 17 carries with a touchdown, and Darren Sproles even found his way into the end zone for a score. When New Orleans can run the ball like this, added to the fact that Drew Brees was on his game tonight, you have yourself a nearly unstoppable force. The blocking up front did its job and Brees was afforded plenty of time to scan the field and find his open receiver. 9/12 were the Saints on third down; that pretty much tells the story. The Dallas defense couldn’t get off the field while their offense couldn’t stay on it.
The Cowboys will stew in the bile of defeat for an extra week as they head into their Week 11 BYE. The Saints draw the 49ers next week in what should be a very interesting game. I do not envy any defense that has to go into the Superdome and wrestle with this grizzly offense. A tall task is in order for the Niners, and the Saints will be playing with a bit of added motivation given the fact that the Carolina Panthers are hot on their tails. Things are getting good in the NFC South, and I personally can’t wait to see this New Orleans offense lock up with the Carolina defense. But the 49ers’ solid “D” should wet the appetite next week.