Adam Forsythe / September 30, 2019
I am a firm believer that the New Orleans Saints thoroughly enjoy giving their fans heart attacks near the end of games. It took phenomenal defensive play and of course the sure-fire leg of Wil Lutz, but the Saints were able to win against the undefeated Dallas Cowboys in a game where the Saints were considered heavy underdogs. Time to break down this great win for the Who Dat Nation.
The defense of the New Orleans Saints showed up and showed out last night. Cameron Jordan and the rest of that unit played their best game of the season so far against a Dallas Cowboys’ offense they had looked explosive through their first three games. The Saints got a nice boost to their run defense as defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins made his season debut after injuring his Achilles against the Philadelphia Eagles in the playoffs last season. The Cowboys’ superstar running back, Ezekiel Elliot was held to only 35 yards on 18 carries. The Saints knew that if they were going to have a shot in this game, they would need to slow down Elliot, and that’s exactly what they did.
The pass defense of the Saints also put on a solid show as they held Dak Prescott to 223 yards, which is his lowest mark on the season. This success is largely due in part to the stellar play of cornerback Marshon Lattimore. The former Defensive Rookie of the Year returned to his lockdown ways as he kept Amari Cooper under wraps for only 48 receiving yards on only five catches.
Forcing turnovers was also a major key to the Saints’ win. Safety Vonn Bell was all over the field as he forced a fumble and recovered it. Prior to Bell’s forced fumble, linebacker A. J. Klein forced a fumble of his own which was recovered by none other than Bell himself. To add to the Saints’ turnover stats, Prescott attempted a hail mary at the end of the game which ultimately landed in the hands of safety Marcus Williams. This defense is playing inspired right now. They’re going to need to continue their dominant play moving forward as they will be facing some promising offenses in the coming weeks.
As dominant as the Saints’ defense looked last night, the Cowboys’ refused to be shown up. Their athletic linebackers flew all over the field and were able to hold Alvin Kamara to only 69 rushing yards and 20 receiving yards. Despite the Cowboys’ ability to slow down Kamara, they weren’t quite able to do the same to Michael Thomas. The sure-handed wide receiver became Teddy Bridgewater’s favorite target last night as it seemed like Bridgewater always looked his way when he needed to make a play. Thomas finished the night with nine catches for 95 yards which was his second-highest yards total this season.
Bridgewater once again played a solid game with a few mistakes sprinkled in. Bridgewater threw an early interception, but the blame can’t fall completely on the young quarterback as the ball was knocked out of Ted Ginn Jr’s hands and into the waiting arms of a Cowboys’ defender. Perhaps the biggest mistake of the night for Bridgewater came on the Saints’ final offensive drive as he took a sack on third down, knocking the Saints out of field goal range. Despite the mistakes, Bridgewater finished with 23 completions for 193 yards.
All 12 of the Saints’ points came from the right leg of Wil Lutz. Lutz connected on 4/4 kicks with a long of 42 yards. As great as it is to have a kicker as reliable as Lutz, the Saints offense will need to start putting more touchdowns on the board in future games.
The Saints survived a primetime matchup against a Cowboys’ team who had been on fire. With a final score of 12-10, the Saints are in first place in the NFC South. Their next game features their first divisional matchup of the year against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who pulled off an upset of their own by beating the undefeated Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. The Saints are on a roll but they have to be careful leading up to this game that could prove to be a trap game for the Who Dat Nation.
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