The Saints showed their talent for a second straight week, defeating the Cowboys and hurting their playoff chances. Dallas is not eliminated from playoff contention, but that doesn’t make the loss any less bitter. It was a classic shootout going to the very end with a OT field goal to seal a 34-31 New Orleans victory. Drew Brees led his offense to 562 total yards, showing he still has a ton left in the tank. He alone had 446 yards through the air and accounted for 3 Saints touchdowns. You have to give them credit sticking to the running game as well, rushing a total of 38 times in the game to 11 for Dallas. However, this performance showed why the Saints have put the running game on the back burner all year. They had only 116 yards, good for 3.1 per carry. Mark Ingram was the main culprit, totaling only 53 yards on 21 carries. Darren Sproles was the only one who played fairly well with 48 yards on his 9 totes. The New Orleans running game will have to be focus of improvement this offseason.
The passing game was a completely different story. While I decision will have to be made between whether to hold onto Ingram, Thomas, and Ivory, Darren Sproles has likely solidified his spot with his performance in the passing game. He had another 104 receiving in this game. His big play ability was on display once again with a 44 yard reception. Marques Colston was the top guy with 153 on 10 catches. He hasn’t been elite all year, but is still the top guy in New Orleans. Really anybody that Brees threw too played well on Sunday.
The defense on the other hand was just as bad as they were all year. Tony Romo had 416 yards passing and 4 touchdowns, matching Brees every step of the way. Luckily for New Orleans, their running game is also struggling mightily. They had only 40 yards on the ground, all coming from DeMarco Murray. At the end of the day, the Saints offense was able to overcome Dallas, but that won’t always the case. A solid offseason should do a lot to cure some of the woes, but that would be in an oddity in New Orleans. Next week they face off with Carolina at home to finish the season. Playoffs are out of reach, but could still finish with a respectable 8-8 record.