New Orleans 34, Dallas 31 (OT): Another Comeback Falls Short

Dez Bryant

Dez Bryant had a career day, hauling in 224 receiving yards with 2 TDs in a 34-31 loss to New Orleans.

Tony Romo said during the week that if the Cowboys were down by 10 or 14 points in the fourth quarter, they would find a way to win the game.

Until lately, this was a laughable thought. The Dallas team was better known for blowing 10- to 14-point leads.

With just under 10 minutes remaining on Sunday, the Cowboys were down by 14 and had to punt. On the previous drive, the Saints had marched 98 yards on 10 plays to take the 2-touchdown lead.

New Orleans moved the ball to midfield but were unable to move further. The Saints punted the ball, and Dallas took over with just under 5 minutes left.

On a 2nd-and-2 play from the Dallas 28, Romo found Dez Bryant, who added to his monster game with a 41-yard reception. Three plays later, Romo hit Dwayne Harris for a touchdown to cut the lead to 31-24.

Dallas needed and got a stop, forcing another punt with less than two minutes left.

Romo drove the team back inside the red zone but faced a 4th and 10 from the New Orleans 19. Romo bought some time and lofted a pass to the right side of the end zone. Miles Austin was there and caught the pass, tying the game and forcing overtime.

From there, it was all Saints. Dallas received the kickoff but could not pick up a first down. The Saints took over after the Dallas punt at the Saint 26-yard line.

The first play was a 26-yarder to Jimmy Graham to move the ball into Dallas territory. Five plays later, Drew Brees hit Marques Colston, who fumbled. However, the ball rolled forward more than 20 yards, and Graham recovered. Referees upheld the play on review, and one play later, the Saints kicked a field goal to win the game.

The loss ruined a career day by Bryant, who finished with 224 yards on 9 receptions. Romo had four touchdowns along with 416 passing yards.

As it turns out, the Cowboys are still in the playoff hunt. The Giants lost to the Ravens, meaning that the winner of the Cowboys-Redskins game next week will win the NFC East. This is the fourth time since 2008 that the Cowboys have faced a division foe on the final week of the season with either the division title or a playoff berth on the line.

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A Look Back (1973): Cowboys Thump Saints on Monday Night Football

Archie Manning visited Texas Stadium on a Monday night in 1973.

Archie Manning visited Texas Stadium on a Monday night in 1973.

The Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints have faced one another 24 times since 1967. The Cowboys won the first five games between 1967 and 1969, but most of those games were relatively close.

In 1971, Dallas faced New Orleans in October at time when Tom Landry was still alternating between Roger Staubach and Craig Morton. The result was a disaster for the Cowboys—a 24-14 loss that dropped the team’s record to 3-2. The Cowboys needed to forget that game and the six turnovers the team committed.

Of course, the Cowboys returned to New Orleans the following January and won Super Bowl VI.

Two years later, the Saints visited Dallas on a Monday night in September. It was the second appearance for New Orleans on Monday Night Football.

The Saints probably wanted to forget that one. The Cowboys scored three touchdowns in the third quarter and turned a 12-3 game into a 40-3 rout. New Orleans quarterback Archie Manning only managed 97 passing yards, and the team fumbled six times (though only lost one of those fumbles).

Robert Newhouse scored two touchdowns for the Cowboys, while Calvin Hill led the overall rushing attack with 71 yards.

Some interesting side notes:

* The headline for the Dallas Morning News on the morning after the game (September 25, 1973): “Nixon Moves to Kill Panel Bid for Tapes.” This was during a time when Richard Nixon was still refusing to release tapes that may have recorded conversations regarding Watergate. Judge John Sirica eventually issued a subpoena for those tapes. Want more? See Wikipedia.

* The Cowboys beat the Bears, Saints, and Cardinals to start the 1973 season at 3-0. However, Dallas stumbled and lost three of its next four.

* In 1971, Manning scored on a two-yard run to put the game away in a 24-14 win over Dallas. However, Manning never beat the Cowboys again, losing in 1973, 1978, and 1982 (the latter as a member of the Houston Oilers).

* Archie’s sons have fared a bit better than his 1-3 mark vs. Dallas. Peyton has a 2-2 record against Dallas, while Eli has a 10-7 mark.

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