The Thursday night games have been significantly better this season. The New Orleans Saints lost only their second game of the year to the Dallas Cowboys. This was their first loss since Week 1 against the Buccaneers.
The Cowboys defense came up big in this one. They pressured Drew Brees all night long and made it really uncomfortable for him. Their two young linebackers Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch were all over the field running sideline to sideline wreaking havoc.
Defensive end Demarcus Lawrence called out the Saints earlier in the week stating, “If you hit a [expletive] in the mouth and then they ain’t doing what they’re regularly doing, putting up 50 points, they start to get a little distressed. Now you got them where you want them at and then you [expletive] choke their ass out.”
The defense walked the walk holding Brees to just 127 yards passing and running backs Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram to 63 yards rushing. The blue print for success against the league’s highest-scoring offense is out. Getting interior pressure on Brees and getting him off platform and out of rhythm was how the Cowboys defense got it done. Also, cornerback, Biron Jones played a fantastic game and was a big part in holding Michael Thomas to just 40 yards on 5 catches.
The biggest play of the game was their 4th down goal-line stand in the 2nd quarter where Brees threw it out to Kamara in the flat and Smith was all over it making a phenomenal open field tackle on the shifty Kamara.
It’s safe to say that the Cowboys have officially established their identity on offense. Letting the offense run through Ezekiel Elliot is the key to their success. He rushed 23 times for 76 but also caught 6 passes for 60 yards and a touchdown. Dak Prescott didn’t play out of this world but he doesn’t have to. He shouldn’t have to throw more than 30 passes and using his legs to extend plays is the way they will continue to beat teams down the stretch. He threw for 248 yards and 1 touchdown with only 4 incompletions going 24 for 28. Their main focus should be efficiency. Not everyone needs to be the Rams or Chiefs.
This was a big statement game for the Cowboys and they are now in control of their own destiny to take the crown in the NFC East. The Saints will bounce back from this one and they still have a commanding lead in the NFC South but they will want to finish strong to get back the top seed in the NFC.
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