NFL Nation: 2013 Week 10 DAL at NO Rapid Reaction

Rapid Reaction: New Orleans Saints

November, 10, 2013

NEW ORLEANS -- A few thoughts on the New Orleans Saints' 49-17 victory over the Dallas Cowboys. The Saints move to 7-2 on the season.

What it means: Just in case anyone fell asleep on the Saints over the past few weeks, they woke everyone up with a dominant performance on both sides of the ball. Their 625 yards were a franchise record and the most by any NFL team since 1982. They converted a NFL-record 40 first downs.

All it took was the Saints getting back in their comfort zone -- at home in prime time, where they have been untouchable over the past five years, winning 12 straight. Now the job will be for the Saints to make sure they’re playing back here in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome as much as possible in the postseason. And that won’t be easy. Their schedule is grueling over the next six weeks -- including a Monday night game at the Seattle Seahawks on Dec. 2.

Stock watch: Just about everyone on the Saints’ offense got involved. Receiver Marques Colston (seven catches for 107 yards and a touchdown) and running back Darren Sproles (88 combined yards, two touchdowns) helped to ease the stress of their fantasy owners after a few quiet weeks. But the biggest surprise was running back Mark Ingram, who ran for a career-high 145 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries.

Ingram was actually booed by the home crowd early in the game when he dropped a short pass. That’s how far his stock had fallen with the fan base after a slow start to the season, followed by a lingering toe injury. But he exploded in the second half -- and showed a lot of emotion throughout.

Ryan’s revenge: The happiest guy in the building, however, had to be Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. Although he downplayed the significance during the week, you know he was dying to make the Cowboys regret firing him after last season. He did that with an exclamation point. The Saints gave up a few leaky running yards early, but they shut down Dallas’ passing attack. Tony Romo completed just 10 of 24 passes for 128 yards, and Dez Bryant caught just one pass for 44 yards.

Up next: The Saints will be back home next week, but the test gets stiffer against a physical San Francisco 49ers team that has given them matchup troubles over the past two years. The Saints will prove even more with a win in that game before hitting the road for trips to Atlanta and Seattle.

Rapid Reaction: Dallas Cowboys

November, 10, 2013
NEW ORLEANS -- A few thoughts on the Dallas Cowboys' 49-17 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.

What it means for the Cowboys: By the time the Cowboys play again on Nov. 24 against the New York Giants they could be out of first place in the NFC East.

They are currently tied with the Philadelphia Eagles at 5-5 and are technically in first place because of their 17-3 win at Lincoln Financial Field on Oct. 20. The Giants and Washington Redskins are only one game back in the loss column.

This was the worst loss of the Jason Garrett era. The previous one was a 34-7 loss at Philadelphia in 2011.

Stock watch: Jerry Jones, falling. On a night in which nothing went right it's too easy to point out a player or a coach. The owner and general manager is in the crosshairs tonight. He put together this lot and believes there is a chance to compete for a championship. The defense was awful. The offense was stone cold. Other than that Jones had a fine time in New Orleans.

Defense shredded again: The Saints scored on eight of 11 possessions and one ended on a missed field goal. The Saints showed mercy on their final possession and took a knee.

They had 40 first downs, setting an NFL record. The Cowboys gave up 625 yards. They allowed Mark Ingram to rush for 145 yards. They saw Marques Colston get 107 receiving yards.

The good news: Drew Brees did not throw for 400 yards. He finished with 392 yards and threw four touchdowns.

Blame the absences of Jason Hatcher, J.J. Wilcox and Morris Claiborne at the start of the game and the in-game absences of Sean Lee (hamstring) and Justin Durant (hamstring). Know that DeMarcus Ware was in and out in his return to the lineup after a three-game absence with a quadriceps strain.

It wouldn't have mattered. Maybe it would've made the outcome a little closer, but the Saints rolled all over Monte Kiffin's defense the way the Denver Broncos and Detroit Lions did.

Missed opportunity: On a night when the Cowboys knew it would be a struggle for the defense, they needed to take advantage of every chance they got.

Darren Sproles' fumble gave the Cowboys a chance at the Saints' 22 in the first quarter, but the Cowboys had to settle for a Dan Bailey field goal. A third-and-1 play was turned into third-and-6 after a James Hanna false start. Tony Romo's third-down pass was incomplete and would have been wiped out anyway by a Ronald Leary hold.

In the past five games the Cowboys have had 11 takeaways and scored just two touchdowns after those turnovers, and both of those drives started inside the opponents' 5.

What's next: The Cowboys are off until Nov. 24, when they visit the New York Giants. Players will practice on Tuesday and Wednesday before getting their first prolonged break since their first training camp practice on July 21 in Oxnard, Calif.




Sunday, 2/2