By Daniel Noble – New Orleans Saints Writer
In a lacklustre game with just one Touchdown, Dennis Allen’s defensive unit proved to be the key to this latest chapter of New Orlean’s Saints life without starting Quarterback Drew Brees as they made it 2-0 without their talismanic man.
Coming off the back of a masterful victory on the road against a tough Seattle Seahawks team in-game week three, Sean Payton’s men faced another difficult task as they hosted an unbeaten Dallas Cowboys side at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
This game, as expected, would hold huge stakes in the NFC even this early in the season as both sides have been expected to push for the playoffs at the end of the season. It was, however, the New Orleans men who came out on top despite not scoring a touchdown in what was their first win without one since the 1998 season.
With Teddy Bridgewater at the helm for the second game in a row for the Saints, the Cowboys defense dealt quite comfortably with the offensive attempts of their opponents as Bridgewater failed to link up with Running back Alvin Kamara with whom he had displayed magical chemistry in the previous match.
As the Saints offense struggled to gain a foothold in proceedings, Wide Receiver Teddy Ginn Jr. was picked off by Dallas Cornerback Chidobe Awuzie. With possession of the ball, the Cowboys pushed for a Touchdown and got to the home side’s red zone but stalled and opted for a field goal to open the scoring (Saints 0-3 Cowboys). There was little action worth noting for the remainder of the first quarter but it would soon become a game of field goals as Will Lutz converted from 40 yards to level the scoring 3-3 early in the second quarter.
The Saints defense continued to get the better of Jason Garrett’s side, taking them to go 3 & out and forcing them to punt as Cornerback Marshon Lattimore broke up a pass that was fired towards Linebacker A.J. Klein. Bridgewater began to make his way into the game for the wrong reasons with his team in possession as on 3rd&7 at the away team’s 15-yard line he was sacked. Lutz elected to attempt his second field goal and gave his team the lead ( Saints 6-3 Cowboys).
The men from Dallas continued to be overwhelmed by the defensive unit of the Saints as more possession was wasted, taking it to 4th&1 towards the end of the second quarter and even when they decided to go for it, Running back Ezekiel Elliot fumbled and New Orlean’s safety Vonn Bell was on it like a flash for a turnover.
Although their defense was copied ng excellently with the Cowboys threat, the men in black and gold still were unable to secure a Touchdown and again resorted to a field goal for points as Lutz made it three from three (Saints 9-3 Cowboys)
The Cowboys needed to hit back as the third quarter began and their prayers were answered as they stunned the opposition with a Touchdown that came from nowhere as they made it to the 2-yard line after a fine pass from Quarterback Dak Prescott before Elliot found his way over the line to give his side the lead for the first time in the game (Saints 9-10 Cowboys) in the only noteworthy play of the quarter.
The Saints entered the final quarter still shocked as to how they were behind on the scoreboard but they only had their own offense to blame. They needed a quick response but it was unlikely to come in the form of a Touchdown as again Bridgewater looked out of ideas. As it went to 3rd&7 he attempted a scramble and was unsuccessful and again they relied on a field goal as Lutz gifted his team the lead once more with a 26-yard field goal.
If they were to win, New Orleans’ defense would need to be on point as the had been for most of the game and on point they were. They continuously kept the opposition offense at bay for the remainder play and the Cowboy was out of answers with Prescott attempting a last-ditch Hail Mary from his own 48-yard line which was extinguished like most of their plays by the Saints defense as Marcus Williams was the man on queue to intercept.
Dennis Allen and his defensive set up deserve all the credit they get. However, it is impossible to ignore the fact that they offered nothing going forward and still have a lot of work to do.
Final score: New Orleans Saints 12-10 Dallas Cowboys
Next up for the Saints is another home game as they host 2-2 Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
(Feature Photo – Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)