Sean Lee – Photo credit: cbssports.com
Dallas Defense Disappears in Loss to New Orleans
Cowboys 20 Saints 26 OT
By Michelle Jinks @TheSportsJinks
October 4, 2015 â€“ Brandon Weeden drove the Dallas Cowboys 91 yards in the final minutes and hit diving Terrance Williams in the end zone for the tying touchdown, but it wasnâ€™t enough. After a missed field goal that wouldâ€™ve won the game in regulation for the Saints, Drew Brees connected with CJ Spiller for 80 yards on the second play in overtime to give the New Orleans Saints a 26-20 victory.
Dallas (2-2) dropped their second straight game since the injury to quarterback Tony Romo. New Orleans (1-3) saved a 0-4 start with their first win of the season.
Weeden finished 16 of 26 for 246 yards and one touchdown. No interceptions. Brees was 33 of 41, 359 yards and two touchdowns.
The Cowboys scored on their first two drives of the first half and led 10-7 at the half. They did nothing much the remainder of the game. Sound familiar? Just like the previous week, Weeden failed to move the ball in the second half of a game.
Dallas managed just four first downs and a field goal in regulation after the break until that last drive by Weeden which resulted in the touchdown to tie the game at 20.
With only 1:30 to play in the fourth quarter Brees drove the Saints right down the field to set up the game winning 30 yard field goal. But Zack Hockerâ€™s kick hit the upright and bounced backwards for his first miss of the game.
Brees was clearly not himself but made enough plays underneath to wear down the Cowboys defense.Â They were visibly tired in the final drive before overtime. Not to mention they were without their leader in Sean Lee, who went out in the first half with a concussion.
Lee wasnâ€™t the only loss for the Cowboys. Lance Dunbar fielded a kick off early in the third quarter and twisted his knee when his foot was stuck in the ground as he was tackled. Weedenâ€™s first deep ball went to newly acquired Brice Butler on the Cowboys second possession of the third quarter. Butler pulled his hamstring on the play and didnâ€™t return. His absence left the Cowboys low on receivers as they elected to activate running back Christine Michael and deactivate one of the backup receivers.
On the final two Saints drives, Dallas had players on the field getting their first snaps of the season. But this is not an excuse for the inability to close out games. Wide open receivers and missed tackles are consistent. The one positive for the defense in the game was that they were able to pressure Brees early. They also recorded three sacks in the game.
Still, the complete effort was not there. Not when Weeden goes the distance to give the team another opportunity to steal a win.
The Cowboys had a chance to be 4-0 heading into next weekâ€™s matchup against New England. Now weâ€™re trying to avoid a three game slide and stay in the hunt in the NFC East.