The Dallas Cowboys defense delivered the goods Thursday, suffocating New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees and the Saints’ high-octane offense in a 13-10 NFL victory.
The Cowboys, who strengthened their position atop the NFC East division, ended the Saints’ 10-game winning streak, holding New Orleans to their lowest points total of the season.
New Orleans had a chance to snatch the win when Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott was stripped on a sack with 2:35 remaining. But Dallas cornerback Jourdan Lewis intercepted Brees to virtually end New Orleans’ challenge.
The Cowboys were able to run down the clock with the help of a defensive pass interference call against the Saints’ Marshon Lattimore.
The Cowboys had signalled their intentions early as New Orleans was held to three-and-outs on their first two possessions and had to punt on each of their first three drives.
Brees started the game 0-for-4 on passing attempts for the first time in his 18-year career. He was held to just 39 passing yards in the first half and 127 yards overall and was sacked twice.
“Good pass rush team,” Brees said. “I felt like we didn’t really find our rhythm pretty much the whole game. We may have had one decent drive for the most part.”
The Dallas defense held the Saints - who came into the contest averaging a league-leading 37.2 points per game - just 176 total yards. The defeat dropped New Orleans a half game behind the 10-1 Los Angeles Rams for best record in the NFC, with the Rams due to take on the Detroit Lions on Sunday.
The Saints’ only touchdown came on a drive when the Cowboys were assessed a total of 41 penalty yards, including a 15-yard penalty for roughing the punter with two minutes left in the third quarter.
That gave New Orleans breathing room and three plays later Brees connected with Keith Kirkwood for a 30-yard TD that closed the gap to 13-10. “When the defense plays like that,” Prescott said, “I mean, an incredible game.”
Prescott himself completed 24 of 28 passes for 248 yards and a 16-yard touchdown pass to Ezekiel Elliott, who caught six passes for 60 yards.
Brett Maher booted field goals of 26 and 46 yards on either side of Elliott’s touchdown as Dallas took a 13-0 lead into halftime - the first time the Saints had been held scoreless in the first half since a 38-17 loss to the Cowboys in 2014.
Wil Lutz’s 33-yard field goal in the third quarter put New Orleans on the board before Brees connected with Kirkwood for their lone touchdown.
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