Saints Drop 5th Straight, Lose 27-17 to the Dallas Cowboys
The New Orleans Saints lost their fifth straight game after falling 27-17 to the Dallas Cowboys in the Superdome on Thursday Night Football.
New Orleans is now 5-7 this season. It's the first five-game losing streak in the Sean Payton era. Their 2021 campaign has fallen apart due to injuries and poor offensive play. Turnovers were the key in this one, as the Saints gave the ball away four times while Dallas did it only once.
In his first start this season, quarterback Taysom Hill completed 19 of his 41 passing attempts for 264 yards, two touchdowns, and four interceptions. He was also the leading rusher for New Orleans with 101 yards on 10 carries.
The two teams traded punts to start the game. The Saints had the first scoring opportunity of the night when they attempted a 56-yard field goal, but kicker Brett Maher missed it wide right.
The Cowboys turned the ball over on downs after quarterback Dak Prescott missed an open CeeDee Lamb on a fourth-and-two throw. New Orleans went three-and-out and punted in response.
Dallas put the first points of the night on the board on their final drive of the first quarter. Prescott connected with wide receiver Amari Cooper for a 41-yard gain, and he also found an open Lamb who gained 33 yards to the New Orleans one yard-line. They finished the drive off with seven points thanks to a toe-tap touchdown in the back of the end zone by wide receiver Michael Gallup.
On their fourth possession of the game, the Saints offense broke through. Hill completed a pass to tight end Juwan Johnson for 27 yards. After a few chunk plays, Hill hit a wide open Lil'Jordan Humphrey for a 24-yard touchdown to tie the game.
The Cowboys responded with a field goal drive, and, after the two teams traded punts, the Saints offense mounted another good drive into Dallas territory. However, a ball intended for Kenny Stills was tipped, and a toe tap interception by a Cowboys defensive back turned the ball over.
Dallas finished the second quarter with another field goal to enter halftime with a 13-7 lead.
The Saints defense forced a quick punt, and New Orleans drove 55 yards in 11 plays before kicking a field goal to get within three points at 13-10. That was the closest they would get for the rest of the game.
After the Cowboys punted, the Saints had an opportunity to either tie the game or take the lead. However, a phantom blindside block penalty ruined the drive before it started, and New Orleans punted.
On the next possession, the Cowboys offense broke through. The Saints run defense, which was so solid through the first 42 minutes of game time, finally allowed a Cowboys running back to break through to the second level. This time, thanks to a terrible cut-off route by safety Marcus Williams, Tony Pollard rumbled for a 58 yard touchdown to extend the lead to 20-10.
Faced with an immediate third down on the next drive, Hill took the ball and ran again, hurtling a Cowboys defender on his way to a 23-yard gain.
Hill finished the third quarter with 75 yards on seven carries after only rushing for 12 yards on two carries in the entire first half.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, on third-and-two at the Dallas 37, Hill was sacked and lost 11 yards. The Saints were forced to punt, and Blake Gillikin's kick was downed at the four yard-line.
Dallas drove 52 yards into New Orleans territory, but a tipped ball on third down forced the Cowboys to punt. The Saints offense was unable to get a first down on the next possession and punted with nine minutes remaining in the game.
This time, the New Orleans defense came up big when defensive back Marshon Lattimore intercepted a pass by Prescott.
Hill converted a fourth-and-eight at the Dallas 44 with a beautiful dart to wide receiver Deonte Harris. On the very next play, his arm was hit on a passing attempt, and the short throw was picked off for his second interception of the night to end a promising drive.
Unfortunately for Saints fans, it was the first of three straight possessions that ended in a Hill interception.
The New Orleans defense forced a three-and-out, but two plays into the next drive for the Saints offense, Hill threw his third interception of the night.
The Saints defense responded with another three-and-out, but Hill threw his fourth interception. This one was returned 29 yards for a touchdown, giving the Cowboys their largest lead of the game at 27-10.
With just over two minutes left, Hill threw a short completion which Harris took 70 yards for the team's second touchdown of the night.
The Cowboys recovered the onside kick and ran the clock out to hand the Saints their fifth straight loss.
Up next, the floundering New Orleans Saints play on the road against the New York Jets on Sunday, Dec. 12 at 12:00 p.m.