At New Orleans
8:20 p.m. ET
Key Coaching Decision #1: (NO ball, trailing 3-0 / third-and-6, NO 30 / 5:22 Q1)
• The Saints challenged the ruling of an incomplete Drew Brees pass to Michael Thomas. The ruling on the field stood.
• Not only did the Saints lose a timeout on this challenge, but it cost them the opportunity to challenge a call later in the game. In the fourth quarter, the Saints were unable to challenge a crucial third-down completion by Dak Prescott to Cole Beasley that appeared to fall short of the first down.
Key Coaching Decision #2: (NO ball, trailing 10-0 / fourth-and-goal, DAL 1 / 10:04 Q2)
• Facing fourth down at the Dallas 1-yard line, the Saints seek the conversion and score rather than attempt a field goal. Alvin Kamara takes a handoff as the Saints are in a shotgun formation and is stopped for no gain. The already frenzied Cowboys crowd gets louder and the Cowboys gain even more momentum.
• This was a missed opportunity to cut the Dallas lead to a one touchdown advantage. New Orleans was having a hard time moving the ball to this point and needed to come away with points. The defense had gotten the ball back for them by recovering an Amari Cooper fumble. They came away with no points. These three points were necessary, as the game ended in a 13-10 Cowboys victory.
• The Cowboys controlled the clock (time of possession advantage was 36:53 to 23:07) and won on third down as they converted on 7 of 14 third-down opportunities.
• Dallas got the ball to their playmakers. Ezekiel Elliott had the ball on 31 of Dallas’ 55 offensive snaps. Elliott and wide receivers Michael Gallup and Amari Cooper touched the ball on 44 of the 55 snaps.
• Cowboys QB Dak Prescott was outstanding as he completed 24 of 28 pass attempts and ran the ball five times, including a 15-yard scamper for a crucial first down.
• Saints quarterback Drew Brees was 18-for-28 and threw for 127 yards. In general, the Saints offense could not get much going against a determined Dallas defense. Normally reliable running back Alvin Kamara had only 11 carries for 36 yards and caught eight passes for 36 yards.
• Brees was on the cover of Sports Illustrated. There was no mention of the dreaded SI Cover Jinx during the contest and very little mention of this after the game.