2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Cowboys shredded by Brees, Saints in 49-17 loss

By GUERRY SMITH - Associated Press
    2013-11-11 00:57

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Dallas safety Jeff Heath missed a tackle in the second quarter and watched New Orleans running back Pierre Thomas cruise into the end zone. That was one of the rare times when a Cowboys defender even came close to making a play.

A banged-up defense allowed the Saints to pile up an NFL-record 40 first downs and a franchise-high 625 total yards in a 49-17 rout Sunday night that dropped Dallas into a first-place tie with Philadelphia in the NFC East.

With defensive end DeMarcus Ware going off the field several times with a sore right quadriceps and middle linebacker Sean Lee leaving with a hamstring injury in the second quarter, the Cowboys had no chance against Drew Brees and the high-powered Saints' offense.

Ware, who has finished with at least 10 sacks for seven consecutive years, has none since Sept. 22 against St. Louis. Lee was tied for the NFL lead with 90 tackles entering Week 10.

''There just were very few plays that we stopped,'' Dallas coach Jason Garrett said. ''They were able to go to a lot of different things. They ran the ball when they wanted to run it and Drew Brees did a fantastic job reading coverages and finding the right guy.''

After punting on their opening possession, the Saints scored on consecutive touchdown drives of 80, 80, 52 and 75 yards to end the first half. They added a 92-yard touchdown drive on their second series of the third quarter. The next time they had the ball, rookie Kenny Stills outjumped cornerback Micah Pellerin for a 52-yard touchdown.

Brees was 34 of 41 for 392 yards and four touchdowns, tying a personal best with 19 straight completions during the first half.

Saints running back Mark Ingram, who entered with a 2.4-yard average per carry and was booed after dropping a pass in the first quarter, finished with 145 yards on 14 carries - the first 100-yard game in his three-year career.

''We knew right now with our personnel on defense we were going to have to outscore them,'' Dallas owner Jerry Jones said.

Instead, Tony Romo threw for a season-low 128 yards, Dez Bryant went nearly three quarters without a catch and Dallas was frustrated throughout. The Cowboys failed to convert any of their nine third downs against the Saints and defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, fired by Dallas at the end of last season.

''We have to play better football than this in all facets,'' Romo said. ''We have to figure out what we can do because that obviously was not good enough.''

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, which gave the Cowboys a short-lived 10-7 lead early in the second quarter.

Dallas did not score again until Romo's 21-yard touchdown pass to Terrance Williams in the last minute of the third.

The Cowboys had an early chance when Darren Sproles muffed a punt and Dwayne Harris dove to recover it at the New Orleans 22.

But with an energized prime-time crowd roaring in the Superdome, the Cowboys had to call timeout on third-and-short, then came back out an committed a false start penalty. Dallas was unable to convert for a first down and settled for Dan Bailey's 37-yard field goal.

Not much went right after that, with Bryant a virtual non-factor.

Last year, Bryant caught 12 passes for a career-high 224 yards in a 34-31 overtime loss to the Saints. This time, Romo never targeted him in the first half.

When Bryant caught his only pass - a juggling 44-yarder late in the third quarter - the Cowboys trailed 35-10.

''He's one of those players who teams double in a lot of different ways, and they did that in all our different formations and all our different personnel groups,'' Garrett said. ''We didn't do a good enough job making them pay with the other guys who were getting isolated.''

The Cowboys arrived in New Orleans with three wins in their previous four games, but faced a tough task in the Superdome, where the Saints have won 12 straight night games (including two in the playoffs).

''It was just difficult,'' Romo said. ''They are a good team. Give them credit. They beat us today. It wasn't a fun game.''

NOTES: Bryant has gone without a catch only once in his career - against New Orleans as a rookie in 2010. . Garrett said Lee would have an MRI on his hamstring Monday to determine the extent of his injury. ... Cowboys LB Justin Durant left the game with a hamstring pull. ... The Saints broke the first downs record of 39 for a regulation game set by the Jets against Miami on Nov. 27, 1988.

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Pierre ThomasOct 30 07:22p

New Orleans Saints RBs Khiry Robinson (forearm) and Pierre Thomas (shoulder) are both inactive in Week 9 against the Carolina Panthers Thursday, Oct. 30.

David HawthorneOct 30 07:12p

The New Orleans Saints have declared LB Austin Johnson, LB David Hawthorne, C Jonathan Goodwin, RB Khiry Robinson, WR Nick Toon, RB Pierre Thomas, CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste inactive for Week 9.

Amini SilatoluOct 30 07:12p

The Carolina Panthers have declared OG Amini Silatolu, CB Bene Benwikere, OT Byron Bell, RB Fozzy Whittaker, WR Philly Brown, FS Thomas DeCoud, OG Trai Turner inactive for Week 9.

Brandon BrownerOct 30 04:32p

New England Patriots DT Alan Branch (non-injury related) and DE Chandler Jones (hip) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. S Nate Ebner (finger), DL Dominique Easley (knee), OL Cameron [ More ]

Brandon ThompsonOct 30 04:22p

Cincinnati Bengals CB Darqueze Dennard (hamstring), LB Rey Maualuga (hamstring) and OG Kevin Zeitler (calf) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. DT Domata Peko (toe) and OT Andre Smith [ More ]

Dwight FreeneyOct 30 04:22p

San Diego Chargers LB Manti Te'o (foot), CB Jason Verrett (shoulder) and S Jahleel Addae (concussion) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. LB Jeremiah Attaochu (hamstring) was limited. CB [ More ]

Donald BrownOct 30 04:12p

San Diego Chargers RB Donald Brown (concussion) practiced fully Thursday, Oct. 30.

Terrell SuggsOct 30 04:02p

Baltimore Ravens WR Michael Campanaro (thigh), CB Jimmy Smith (foot) and LB Terrell Suggs (neck) all did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. OG Marshal Yanda (knee) [ More ]

Brett KeiselOct 30 03:52p

Pittsburgh Steelers DE Brett Keisel (non-injury), SS Troy Polamalu (non-injury) and SS Ross Ventrone (hamstring) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. CB Ike Taylor (forearm) and FS [ More ]

Bruce CarterOct 30 03:22p

Dallas Cowboys LB Bruce Carter (finger) suffered a broken ring finger during practice Thursday, Oct. 30, but expects to play in Week 9. He will wear a splint on his finger for protection.

Cullen JenkinsOct 30 03:12p

New York Giants DT Cullen Jenkins (calf) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (back, hamstring) and P Steve Weatherford (ankle) were both limited in practice.

Brandon BoykinOct 30 03:12p

Philadelphia Eagles FS Nate Allen (hamstring) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. TE Brent Celek (back) and WR Brad Smith (groin) were both limited in practice. CB [ More ]

D'Qwell JacksonOct 30 03:12p

Indianapolis Colts LB D'Qwell Jackson (toe), DT Arthur Jones (ankle), LB Erik Walden (quadriceps) and LB Josh McNary (ankle) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. CB Vontae [ More ]

Rashad JenningsOct 30 02:42p

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (knee) said he is on track in terms of his rehab, but there is no timetable for his return. Jennings said he has [ More ]

Jordan CameronOct 30 02:32p

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Anthony CollinsOct 30 02:32p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers OT Oniel Cousins is working at left tackle with the first-team offense during practice Thursday, Oct. 30, because OT Anthony Collins (foot) is sitting out practice.

Doug MartinOct 30 02:22p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Doug Martin (ankle) is not participating in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Jason VerrettOct 30 01:52p

San Diego Chargers CB Jason Verrett (shoulder) is expected to miss two to three weeks with a torn labrum, according to two sources.

DeAngelo WilliamsOct 30 01:52p

Carolina Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams (ankle) will start the team's Week 9 game against the New Orleans Saints Thursday, Oct. 30, according to head coach Ron Rivera.

R. Griffin IIIOct 30 01:42p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (ankle) received most of the work with the first-team offense during practice Thursday, Oct. 30, and will start in Week 9 if he [ More ]

Jaylen WatkinsOct 30 01:32p

Philadelphia Eagles SS Earl Wolff, FS Chris Maragos and CB Jaylen Watkins could be options to start at safety if FS Nate Allen (hamstring) is not able to play in Week 9.

Giovani BernardOct 30 01:22p

Cincinnati Bengals RB Giovani Bernard (hip, shoulder) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Tony RomoOct 30 01:02p

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo (back) didn't take part in the walk-through Thursday, Oct. 30, and will not practice with the team. However, head coach Jason Garrett remains hopeful [ More ]

Trent RichardsonOct 30 12:42p

Indianapolis Colts RB Trent Richardson (hamstring) is participating in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Reggie WayneOct 30 12:42p

Indianapolis Colts WR Reggie Wayne (elbow) is not participating in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Tony RomoOct 30 12:22p

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo's (back) status is making head coach Jason Garrett feel optimistic about his availability for Week 9.

Dallas ThomasOct 30 11:43a

Miami Dolphins OG Dallas Thomas would be the most likely candidate to start at left guard if OG Daryn Colledge (illness) is not able to play in Week 9.

Rashad JenningsOct 30 11:12a

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (knee) has been ruled out for Week 9.

Phil BatesOct 30 10:52a

The Cleveland Browns signed free-agent WR Phil Bates (Seahawks) to the practice squad and released CB Marcus Cromartie Thursday, Oct. 30.

Charles SimsOct 30 10:13a

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Charles Sims could have 10 or more touches in Week 9, in the opinion of beat writer Greg Auman.

Ryan MathewsOct 30 09:52a

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (knee) is likely to sit out of the Week 9 game and return after the Week 10 bye.

Dennis PittaOct 30 09:52a

Baltimore Ravens TE Dennis Pitta (hip) may never be able to play football again after two surgeries on a fractured and dislocated hip in as many seasons.

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