Dallas Cowboys: Garrett Hartley

Drive of the Game: End of half hurt Cowboys

December, 23, 2012
ARLINGTON, Texas -- In games like Sunday’s, momentum can swing at any moment and for the Cowboys, it swung at the end of the first half when the score was tied 14-14.

Taking over with 1:11 to play at their 20, the Cowboys got greedy with three straight passes that led to their only three-and-out of the game. After a 7-yard completion to Jason Witten, Tony Romo was forced to throw the ball away on second down and missed Dez Bryant on a slant on third down, forcing a punt.

Without having to use a timeout, the Saints were able to drive 51 yards on five plays to set up Garrett Hartley’s 37-yard field goal on the final snap of the first half to take a 17-14 lead.

“We just felt like we could move the ball against them,” coach Jason Garrett said. “We had a couple of those plays that were successful. We just didn’t convert the third down. Anytime you play an offense like this, it’s a double-edged sword. You want to limit their opportunities, but you have to take advantage of your opportunities.”

Ambush play works for Thomas Morstead

February, 7, 2010
MIAMI -- One of the biggest plays in Super bowl XLIV came from former SMU punter Thomas Morstead.

With the Saints trailing, 10-6, at halftime, coach Sean Payton came out of a meeting with the coaches and walked by Morstead's locker.

"It was 20 minutes left in halftime, and I wish he hadn't told me until the end," Morstead said. "He walked by me in passing and said it like it was no big deal."

After Payton told Morstead, he announced it to the rest of the team.

When Morstead came out for warmups after halftime was over, he was trying to practice one kickoff just to fake out the Colts.

"I kick the ball the same way every time," Morstead said. "To the deep right."

The onside kick is called ambush, and the funny thing about it is that Morstead just started practicing it a week and half ago. Normally, field goal kicker Garrett Hartley would attempt onside kicks.

Payton decided to try the onside kick because the coaches saw a hole in the coverage where the blockers backed up too much, leaving a space where a kick could bounce free.

"I wasn't worried, I was just terrified," Morstead said.

The ball bounced off a Colts blocker, and the Saints' Chris Reis recovered the ball, then lost it but recovered it again in the scrum.

"I was pulling guys off the pile when I saw Chris had it," Morstead said. "Then the referee pulls me away and then I hear 'Blue Ball.' That's when I went back in and I knew Chris recovered it. We were just fortunate."

After the referees said the Saints had the ball, they scored to take a 13-10 lead which eventually turned into a 31-17 victory.

"All week we had practiced that onside kick, and at halftime I just told those guys we have to make our look right here," Payton said. "It was a good hit by Thomas. Our guys did a good job of showing a normal kickoff coverage look, but it was something that we had seen in practice all week."

Morstead, a rookie who started his journey to the NFL as a walk-on at SMU before gaining a scholarship, had two punts for 88 yards for a 44-yard average. His longest was 46 yards, and he had one punt inside the 20.

Morstead is the first SMU player to get a Super Bowl ring since Dale Hellestrae did it with the Cowboys in 1996.

Cowboys and Dallas-area ties to Saints

February, 7, 2010
MIAMI -- So many Cowboys and local ties to the Saints' 31-17 victory over the Colts on Sunday night.

Sean Payton, the head coach, who was a Cowboys assistant coach under Bill Parcells was convinced not to take the Oakland job and got a raise from Jerry Jones instead.

Then Payton got an opportunity and took the Saints job.

There's Southlake Carroll's Garrett Hartley who set a Super Bowl record with three made field goals of 40 or more yards.

Linebacker Scott Shanle was traded from the Cowboys to the Saints for a seventh-round pick in 2007, and linebacker Scott Fujita decided to sign with the Saints in free agency in 2006.

Punter Thomas Morstead was a walkon at SMU a few years ago until earning a scholarship. He turned into the best punter coming out of the draft. In his rookie year, he was strong on kickoffs and became the first punter in the franchise history to win the NFC special teams award twice in the same season.

Sunday vs. the Colts, he opened the second half with an onside kick that was recovered by the Saints after a mad scramble.

So many things to talk about when we come back up from the locker room.

Hartley achieves a Super Bowl first

February, 7, 2010
MIAMI-- Garrett Hartley is having quite a night.

He's made three field goals, the latest one from 47 yards, a playoff career high. He's made kicks from 46, 44 and 47 yards tonight, and the Saints trail, 17-16, with 2:01 left in the third period.

Hartley is the first kicker in Super Bowl history to make three field goals from more than 40 yards.

Garrett Hartley gets the Saints going

February, 7, 2010
MIAMI -- Southlake Carroll's finest, Garrett Hartley, just made a 46-yard field goal to bring the Saints within 10-3 of the Colts with 9:40 left in the first half. It was Hartley's longest made field goal of the postseason.

Hartley is 3-for-3 this postseason from 40-49 yards.

The field goal was attempted because the Colts' Dwight Freeney sacked the Saints' Drew Brees near the 30 on a third-down play.
MIAMI -- Ok, here are the Super Bowl XLIV inactives:

The Colts: K Adam Vinatieri, WR Sam Giguere, TE Colin Cloherty, DT John Gill, OT Michael Toudouze, G Mike Pollak, DE Erwin Baldwin, DT Fili Moala.

The Saints: Southlake Carroll's own Chase Daniel is the third QB, RB Lynell Hamilton, LB Anthony Waters, G Jamar Nesbit, TE Darnell Dinkins, TE Tory Humphrey, WR Adrian Arrington, DE Paul Spicer.

The weather here is pretty clear with a slight chill and Southlake Caroll's own, Saints kicker Garrett Hartley, is attempting field goals from the 35-to-40 yard range.