Saints Completely Dominate Cowboys For Impressive Victory
If one wanted to learn the definition of "domination", they could simply watch film of Sunday night's game in New Orleans between the Saints and the Dallas Cowboys.
New Orleans (7-2) set several records on their way to a thorough 49-17 beatdown of Dallas. For starters, they racked up a single-game franchise record 625 yards of offense, the most ever given up by the Cowboys (5-5) in their franchise history.
How about NFL records? The Saints became the first team to ever register 40 first downs in a single game. How about another? The Saints became the first team in league history to rush for over 230 yards, and pass for 300 yards in a single game.
“I think it’s important for us to have that balance," explained Saints head coach Sean Payton. "I thought the offensive line did a good job.”
New Orleans tallied 242 yards on the ground, led by Mark Ingram who rushed for 145 (50 yards better than his previous career best) and 1 score on 14 carries. Pierre Thomas added 87 yards rushing and 1 touchdown.
“I thought Mark (Ingram) played very well", said Payton. "I was very pleased with his performance.”
Drew Brees led the way in the passing department, putting up a tremendous stat line of 393 yards, 4 touchdowns, and zero interceptions on 34-41 passing.
Brees connected with Marques Colston (pictured) for a 22 yard touchdown at the 3:23 mark of the first quarter, giving the Saints a 7-3 lead. Colston led all Saints receivers with 107 yards and 7 catches.
Brees has faced pressure from opposing defenses often this season. Sunday night, he took a few hits, but overall, had ample time to operate.
"I know a QB should mention the offensive line at every press conference, but for real, these guys were phenomenal," said Brees after the win.
It wasn't only offensive domination. New Orleans held Dallas to a paltry 193 yards of total offense. Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan was fired from the same position last offseason by the Cowboys. In his first matchup with Dallas, he owned his former employer.
“I thought, overall, we were real good on third down both defensively and offensively," said Payton.
New Orleans held the ball for 39:32, compared to Dallas' 20:28. Perhaps the most impressive stat was third down conversions. The Saints were 9-12 (and 1-1 on 4th down) on third downs, while the Cowboys were 0-8.
Typically in a lopsided game, one team turns the ball over multiple times. Dallas actually won the turnover battle 1-0, and recovered a surprise onside kick midway through the 4th quarter. It didn't matter, as the Saints imposed their will in the second half.
Dallas' defense is dealing with a number of injuries, something that's not lost on Payton.
“We played a team that’s nicked up and have some players that haven’t played as much," explained Payton. "We’ll put this tape on and it won’t be quite as good as we think.”
Perhaps Payton is subtly reminding his team to stay humble. After all, next Sunday the Saints have a physical matchup awaiting them at home next.
"We've got to get ready and be prepared for San Francisco (49ers)," said Payton moments after defeating Dallas by 32 points. "They're a very good football team."
Kickoff from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome next Sunday is set for 3:25.