Updated: Oct 2, 2019
The New Orleans Saints took care of business at home under the lights of deafening Mercedes Benz Stadium by beating the Dallas Cowboys.
With a nearly identical score to their loss to the Cowboys last season(13-10 Dallas), the Saints prevailed in a defensive showdown 12-10 on Sunday Night. Even with this win, exceptional defensive effort has overshadowed a substantially less effective offense without the talent of QB Drew Brees at the helm.
Without Brees, the Saints offense has yet to combine for 200 passing yards in three consecutive weeks. Many should point to backup QB Teddy Bridgewater at the helm, who has struggled to maintain composure in the pocket even when leading by any margin. Leading by two in field goal range, QB Bridgewater took an unacceptable sack on third down to take the offense out of scoring position with two minutes to go vs the Cowboys, and nearly cost the Saints a win. His reliance on short and intermediate passing is beginning to be exposed by talented fronts, and with weapons the likes of WR Michael Thomas and WR Ted Ginn Jr., going deep needs to return to the Saints’ game plan with or without Brees.
Barely Breathing With Bridgewater
With the Rams, Seahawks, and Cowboys as three successive highly talented opponents, it’s been no easy task for QB Bridgewater to step into the starting roll this season. In the Cowboys game alone, Bridgewater was sacked five times and will face a similarly dominant front from the Jaguars two weeks out. If the Saints are not able to stretch the field with the talent they have on the outside, expect to see more and more pressure thrown at Bridgewater week to week.
DALLAS LOOKS DISMAL
For the Cowboys, Dak Prescott faced his first (arguable) team in playoff contention, and found very little success without a dominant run game. Ezekiel Elliott totaled 18 carries for a mere 35 rushing yards(1.8 YPC, 1TD), and contributed the only touchdown of the game. Prescott’s favorite target this season WR Amari Cooper was tightly contested all night against DB Marshon Lattimore, catching only five of his targets for 48 yards. On two separate occasions, Prescott looked for Amari on necessary third down conversions, but the pair couldn’t hookup on either occasion. This game may serve as a reality check for the Dallas Cowboys, and prove to be fruitful for the offensive play design moving forward.
A two point loss to a deep playoff contender is no loss of hope for the season, and coming in week four, allows plenty of time for Dallas to regroup.
Perhaps a more impactful loss than the game itself was all-pro left tackle Tyron Smith, who went down on the final drive of the fourth quarter. Prescott fell awkwardly onto the back of Smith’s heels, resulting in what’s been diagnosed as a high ankle sprain. Despite the early designation, the injury appeared to be more jolting than a simple sprain, but the optimism for a swift return in the coming weeks is surely refreshing for Cowboys fans. With three games left before the bye, Dallas will face the Packers at home, Jets on the road, and finish off with a home rivalry game against the Eagles. Cowboy fans can expect a deeper offensive play design as well as review of the offense as a whole under first-year offensive coordinator(former backup QB) Kellen Moore.
No Shenanigans, Just Football.