Final

Cowboys 17

(5-5, 1-4 away)

Saints 49

(7-2, 5-0 home)

Coverage: NBC

8:30 PM ET, November 10, 2013

Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA 

1 2 3 4 T
DAL 3 7 7 017
NO 7 21 7 1449

Top Performers

Passing: D. Brees (NO) - 392 YDS, 4 TD

Rushing: M. Ingram (NO) - 14 CAR, 145 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: M. Colston (NO) - 7 REC, 107 YDS, 1 TD

Drew Brees, Saints clobber Cowboys, post NFL-record 40 first downs

Associated Press

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.

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."

Brees' touchdown passes went for 52 yards to Kenny Stills, 22 yards to Marques Colston, 28 yards to Darren Sproles and a yard to Pierre Thomas.

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.

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.

Notes

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.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
DAL
NO
1st Downs940
Passing 1st downs
420
Rushing 1st downs
415
1st downs from Penalties
15
3rd down efficiency
0-99-12
4th down efficiency
0-01-1
Total Plays4380
Total Yards193625
Yards per play4.57.8
Total Drives1011
Passing104383
Comp - Att
10-2434-41
Yards per pass
4.39.3
Interceptions thrown
00
Sacks - Yards Lost
3-241-9
Rushing89242
Rushing Attempts
1638
Yards per rush
5.66.4
Red Zone (Made-Att)1-24-5
Penalties11-826-44
Turnovers01
Fumbles lost
01
Interceptions thrown
00
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00
Possession20:2839:32

Passing Leaders

DALC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Romo10/241285.3103-24
NOC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Brees34/413929.6401-9

Rushing Leaders

DALCARYDSAVGTDLG
Murray16895.6135
NOCARYDSAVGTDLG
Ingram1414510.4134
Thomas17875.1110

Receiving Leaders

DALRECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Bryant14444.00442
Witten22713.50196
NORECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Colston710715.31228
Sproles77610.91287

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERDALNO
dalFG08:14Dan Bailey 37 Yd 30
noTD03:23Marques Colston 22 Yd Pass From Drew Brees (Garrett Hartley Kick) 37
SECOND QUARTERDALNO
dalTD14:05DeMarco Murray 7 Yd Run (Dan Bailey Kick) 107
noTD05:09Pierre Thomas 1 Yd Pass From Drew Brees (Garrett Hartley Kick) 1014
noTD01:32Darren Sproles 3 Yd Run (Garrett Hartley Kick) 1021
noTD00:05Darren Sproles 28 Yd Pass From Drew Brees (Garrett Hartley Kick) 1028
THIRD QUARTERDALNO
noTD02:12Mark Ingram 4 Yd Run (Garrett Hartley Kick) 1035
dalTD00:41Terrance Williams 21 Yd Pass From Tony Romo (Dan Bailey Kick) 1735
FOURTH QUARTERDALNO
noTD12:43Kenny Stills 52 Yd Pass From Drew Brees (Garrett Hartley Kick) 1742
noTD05:44Pierre Thomas 1 Yd Run (Garrett Hartley Kick) 1749

Research Notes

Drew Brees was 7-of-9 for 179 yards and two touchdowns on throws traveling 15+ yards downfield, including 4-of-5 when targeting Marques Colston. Colston's four receptions on deep passes match the number of catches he had on such throws this season.
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).
Drew Brees completed a career-high 19 straight passes in the 1st half before missing on an attempt to Benjamin Watson with 1:37 left in the 2nd quarter. He fell 5 short of the NFL record of 24 straight completions, set by Donovan McNabb in 2004 and matched by Matt Schaub in 2012.
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.
  [+]
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
  [+]
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.
  [+]
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.
  [+]
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).
  [+]
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:
  [+]
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.
  [+]

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