Playing a New Orleans Saints football team that can score football points on the football field in most any football stadium, the overmatched Dallas Cowboys defense was exposed for what it is - game, and not good enough.
Despite the Saints' 34-31 OT win against Los Cowboys de Arlington in an ArenaFootball game, the New York Football Giants did their NFC East brother a favor by laying down in Baltimore.
For the second time in as many years the Cowboys will play a division opponent on the road with the chance to win the division, or finish .500. (NOTE - I am writing this watching the Ravens blowout the Giants)
1. The middle of the defense stinks - No Jay Ratliff, Josh Brent, Bruce Carter, Sean Lee, Barry Church has left the interior of the Cowboys' defense simply not good enough.
The Saints routinely exploited matchups in the middle of the field; Darren Sproles, Jimmy Graham, Mark Ingram and Pierre Thomas combined for 25 receptions and more than 200 yards, primarily in the middle of the field.
2. The Cowboys defense had their shot in overtime when Morris Claiborne punched the ball out of Saints' WR Marques Colston hands for a fumble at the Cowboys' 15. But the Saints' Jimmy Graham recovered the ball by being a bit bigger, and faster, than Sterling Moore. The play was reviewed and it was the right call.
Colston caught the ball. Claiborne popped it out. Graham recovered it.
4. Stat of the game: Saints 11-of-19 on 3rd downs. The Cowboys 2-of-10 on 3rd downs.
4.5 2nd stat of the game: Cowboys time of possession - 22:28
5. DeMarco Murray. Entering the game against Pittsburgh last week Murray had never fumbled in his career. He has two in the last two weeks. His third-quarter fumble at the Cowboys' 3 all but gave the Saints a TD to give them a 24-17 lead.
He carried the ball 11 times on Sunday. They were the only rushing attempt for the Cowboys all game.
6. The Cowboys don't quit. Against the Bengals the Cowboys entered the fourth quarter down nine and rallied to win. Against the Steelers, the Cowboys trailed by 7 in the fourth quarter and rallied to win in OT. Against the Saints, the Cowboys trailed by 14 with less than five minutes remaining but rallied to force OT.
7. Miles Austin has replaced Dez as this team's most frustrating WR. He had four receptions for 45 yards and a TD. He had three drops in one series in the fourth quarter. The only way he gets out of the dog house is by catching the 20-yard TD pass with 20 seconds remaining to
8. Jason Witten is a bad, bad man. He started this season by recovering from a busted spleen and having to answer questions whether he was finished and will end it as the most productive pass catching year ever by an NFL tight end. His 103 receptions this season broke the mark previously held by Tony Gonzalez.
9. Tony Romo can't do much more than he was asked. He was 26-of-43 for 416 yards with four TDs and no picks.
10. Cowboys at Redskins at the Dan Snyder Little Man Sports Complex for the right to prove 9-7 can win a division.
LET'S GET IT ON!
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