NEW ORLEANS, LA (WAFB) - On the eve of Veterans Day, the New Orleans Saints honored those who have served in the military with a stadium tribute, and then put on a dominating performance in a 49-17 win over the Dallas Cowboys.
Quarterback Drew Brees completed 34 of 41 passes for 392 yards and four touchdowns. He led the Saints offense to an NFL record 40 first downs and a franchise record 625 total yards.
The Cowboys actually got on the scoreboard first with a 37-yard field goal by Dan Bailey to give Dallas the 3-0 lead. The lead would not last, as Brees found wide receiver Marques Colston, who was able to break a tackle and dive into the end zone for 22-yard touchdown, giving the Saints a 7-3 lead in the first quarter.
The Cowboys regained the lead in the second quarter on a 7-yard touchdown by running back DeMarco Murray. It put Dallas up 10-7. The Saints showed it has a ground game as well, as running back Pierre Thomas scored from two yards out to give the Black and Gold a 14-10 lead. Thomas punched it in again with a little over 5:00 left in the first half, to help the Saints pull ahead 21-10. Just before the half, Brees dumped off a screen pass to Darren Sproles. The running back followed his blocks and weaved his way to pay dirt for a 28-yard touchdown that put New Orleans up 28-10 at the half.
In the 3rd quarter, Saints tight end Benjamin Watson was injured after a failed touchdown pass. He left the game with a concussion and did not return. The Saints sent out kicker Garrett Hartley, but he missed the 37-yard field goal try. The Saints would later score again, though, as running back Mark Ingram was able to punch it in from four yards out with 2:12 remaining in the third quarter, continuing the team's domination with a 35-10 lead.
Quarterback Tony Romo threw his only touchdown pass on a 21-yard toss to wide receiver Terrance Williams, cutting the Saints' lead to 35-17. However, Brees and the Saints offense showed its ability to strike at any time. Rookie wide receiver Kenny Stills hauled in a 52-yard touchdown pass to give the Saints a 42-17 lead.
With just under 6:00 left in the game, Thomas scored his second touchdown of the night, making it 49-17.
Saints head coach Sean Payton was clearly pleased with the efforts saying, "Obviously it was an important win for us. I thought we did a lot of good things tonight. We won in a lot of the
areas we talked about all week long. You don't receive the chance to play in games like this that often. The team we played was banged up. I thought, overall, we were really good on third down, defensively and offensively. We did a good job with ball security. We stayed ahead of the chains and steered the balance offensively and our ability to get to a lot of the third downs were shorter distances so it was a good win for us. We will get on to this next week and be back in on Wednesday."