8:30 PM ET, November 10, 2013
Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA
Drew Brees, Saints clobber Cowboys, post NFL-record 40 first downs
NEW ORLEANS -- Nothing like nighttime in New Orleans to inspire a memorable performance from Drew Brees and the Saints.
Playing Dallas' beleaguered defense didn't hurt, either.
Brees completed 34 of 41 passes for 392 yards and four touchdowns, and the Saints beat the Cowboys 49-17 on Sunday night.
More Cowboys-Saints coverage
The Saints' demolition of Dallas showed how scary they could be if they earn home-field advantage in the postseason, Mike Triplett writes. Blog
• Rapid Reax: Saints 49, Cowboys 17
The Cowboys' defense under Monte Kiffin is so bad, Jerry Jones is rethinking his decision to fire Rob Ryan, Jean-Jacques Taylor writes. Story
Monte Kiffin didn't mince words when assessing Sunday night's rout, Calvin Watkins writes. Blog
• Radio: Mike & Mike weigh in
The Saints (7-2) had an NFL-record 40 first downs and a franchise-record 625 total yards in their 12th straight prime-time victory in the Superdome. New Orleans had 242 yards rushing, its highest total since 1990.
"Spreading the ball around, getting everybody involved -- these are the days you love to have," Brees said. "You strive for efficiency both in the run and the pass game. We had that today."
Sproles also had a 3-yard touchdown run, and Mark Ingram added a 4-yard scoring run en route to a career-high 145 yards rushing on 14 carries.
"We just wanted to come out here on a national stage and just prove to everybody that we could play smash-mouth football and run the ball," Ingram said. "I've been waiting for a 100-yard game since I got in the league. ... The line just did a great job, just a fantastic job. They were just getting a hat on a hat, creating seams for us to run through. When they're dominating the line of scrimmage like that it makes our job easy."
Brees described Ingram as "a man on a mission," and it came at a good time. The Saints had lost two of their previous three and needed a victory to stay a game ahead of Carolina for first place in the NFC South.
DeMarco Murray had 89 yards rushing and a touchdown on 16 carries for Dallas (5-5), highlighted by his 35-yard scamper on a fake reverse. That set up his 7-yard scoring run that gave the Cowboys a short-lived 10-7 lead early in the second quarter. Dallas did not score again until Tony Romo's 21-yard touchdown pass to Terrance Williams in the last minute of the third quarter.
The loss dropped Dallas into a tie with Philadelphia atop the NFC East.
Dallas was frustrated offensively for much of the game against a defense that has turned around dramatically under coordinator Rob Ryan, fired by the Cowboys after last season. Star receiver Dez Bryant, covered mostly by Keenan Lewis, did not have his first and only catch -- a 44-yarder -- until late in the third quarter. Jason Witten was held to two catches for 27 yards.
SportsNation: The NFC East race
With the Eagles winning and the Cowboys losing, there's a tie atop the NFC East. Which team will win the division? Vote! »
Romo was 10 of 24 for 128 yards and was sacked three times.
"We have to play better football than this in all facets," Romo said. "We have to figure out what we can do to be a better football team because that obviously was not good enough. It was just difficult. They are a good team. Give them credit. They beat us today. It wasn't a fun game."
The Cowboys' porous pass defense entered the game already having set an NFL record by allowing four quarterbacks to throw for more than 400 yards. Brees was on track to become the fifth, but fell just short after the Saints decided to stop throwing with a big lead in the fourth quarter.
At one point, Brees strung together 19 straight completions, tying his personal best and franchise record.
Making matters worse for Dallas was a hamstring injury to linebacker Sean Lee, the Cowboys' leading tackler.
"There just were very few plays that we stopped. They were able to go to a lot of different things," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "They ran the ball when they wanted to run it and Drew Brees did a fantastic job reading coverages and finding the right guy."
Sproles, whose concussion a week earlier forced him to miss most of the Saints' 26-20 road loss to the New York Jets, caught seven passes for 76 yards.
Getting Colston involved was another encouraging sign for the Saints a week after the veteran receiver sat out against the Jets with a knee injury.
Colston had seven catches for 107 yards. His touchdown grab was the 60th of his career, all from Brees.
On Colston's touchdown, Sproles made a key block on blitzing linebacker Barry Church, giving Brees enough time to throw over the middle. Colston then slipped safety Jeff Heath's tackle before diving across the goal line.
The Saints broke the first downs record of 39 for a regulation game set by the Jets against Miami on Nov. 27, 1988. ... Saints TE Benjamin Watson left the game with a concussion after his head slammed to the turf on a near touchdown catch. ... S Kenny Vaccaro left the game in the second half, but the Saints did not update his condition. ... Cowboys LB Justin Durant left with a hamstring pull and DE DeMarcus Ware said he aggravated a quadriceps injury that sidelined him the previous three games.
NEW ORLEANS, LA - NOVEMBER 10: Fans pose before a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome between the New Orleans...(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Team Stat Comparison
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
|Yards per play||4.5||7.8|
Yards per pass
Yards per rush
|Red Zone (Made-Att)||1-2||4-5|
|Defensive / Special Teams TDs||0||0|
|FG||8:19||Dan Bailey 37 Yard Field Goal is Good|
Drive info: 4 plays, 4 yds, 1:22
|TD||3:30||Marques Colston 22 Yard Pass From Drew Brees (Garrett Hartley Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 9 plays, 80 yds, 4:51
|TD||14:11||Demarco Murray 7 Yard Run (Dan Bailey Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 72 yds, 4:18
|TD||5:15||Pierre Thomas 1 Yard Pass From Drew Brees (Garrett Hartley Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 15 plays, 80 yds, 8:56
|TD||1:37||Darren Sproles 3 Yard Run (Garrett Hartley Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 9 plays, 52 yds, 2:29
|TD||0:13||Darren Sproles 28 Yard Pass From Drew Brees (Garrett Hartley Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 75 yds, 0:48
|TD||2:17||Mark Ingram 4 Yard Run (Garrett Hartley Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 92 yds, 2:43
|TD||0:48||Terrance Williams 21 Yard Pass From Tony Romo (Dan Bailey Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 89 yds, 1:31
|TD||12:51||Kenny Stills 52 Yard Pass From Drew Brees (Garrett Hartley Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 83 yds, 2:30
|TD||5:49||Pierre Thomas 1 Yard Run (Garrett Hartley Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 78 yds, 5:27
Of the Saints 244 rushing yards (excluding kneel downs), 165 of them came before first contact, led by Mark Ingram's' 107. The Saint's 165 rushing yards before contact is the most they have had in a game since 2009 (173 - Week 3 vs. Bills).
The Cowboys allowed a franchise-record 625 yards to the Saints offense Sunday Night. Second on the list? They allowed 623 yards to the Lions Week 8.[+]
Cowboys Most Yards Allowed in Franchise History
Drew Brees had a perfect completion percentage in several facets Monday, including third down. While Brees didn't have an incompletion on third down, Tony Romo didn't have a completion. - Brees was 9-of-9 with two touchdowns against five or more pass rushers, including 6-of-6 when the Cowboys blitzed a member of the secondary - Brees was 7-of-7 with two touchdowns on screen passes[+]
Passing on Third Down, Sunday
Drew Brees had his 15th career game with at least 4 touchdown passes and 0 interceptions, tied with Tom Brady for the most such games in NFL history.[+]
The Saints gained 40 first downs on Sunday, breaking the NFL record.[+]
Most First Downs - Single Game
The Cowboys are 21-21 since Jason Garrett's 1st full season as head coach in 2011. They are 16-2 against teams at or above .500 and 5-19 vs teams below .500. This takes into account a team's end of season win percentage, or in the case of this season, its current win percentage.[+]
Cowboys by Opponent's End-of-Season Win Pct - Since 2011
No team has abandoned the run as quickly as the Cowboys when trailing this season. 83 percent of their plays when trailing have been dropbacks (including sacks and scrambles).[+]
Cowboys' Play Calling by Situation - This Season
Darren Sproles had two touchdowns in the first half Sunday (1 rushing, 1 receiving), the sixth time he's had multiple touchdowns in a half in his career. Sproles also had two touchdowns in the 1st half in Week 4 against the Dolphins.
From Elias: This is the time of year when the Romo-coaster is riding high. ... NOVEMBER. Since becoming a full-time starter in 2006, Romo has posted a 22-and-4 career record in the month of November... the best of any quarterback who made their debut since 1970. Romo has never faced the Saints in November. He's lost 2 of his 3 starts against New Orleans.[+]
Dez Bryant brought a lot of attention on himself a couple weeks ago, but his ability to rise up in big games this season is hard to ignore. He leads the league in TD receptions against teams that are currently .500 or better, and his receiving yards per game in those contests is double his average in games against teams below .500:[+]
Dez Bryant by Opponent Win Pct - This Season
Drew Brees has completed 78.7 percent of his attempts to Darren Sproles this season. When Sproles misses time, Brees completes fewer passes and throws more interceptions.[+]
ESPN Stats & Information