With Ezekiel Elliott facing the best rush defense in the NFL and Amari Cooper facing Marshon Lattimore, player Dak Prescott needed an extra target. This to get out of the heavy pressure of the Saints defense (7 sacks). Wide receiver Michael Gallup fulfilled that role with flying colours. Especially during the first drive, the rookie proved his worth. First with a third-down conversion, then with a catch for 40 yards. In both cases, Eli Apple was unable to stop Gallup from press coverage. Hence, the Cowboys’ plan of the attack appeared to be based on exploiting Apple’s weaknesses. The Saints ended up with Eli Apple searching for a cornerback before the trade deadline remains a mystery.
The Dallas Cowboys immediately scored from their first drive. With that, the New Orleans Saints fell behind in a game for the first time since October 14. Usually, that shouldn’t be a problem for a team that, until last night, scored an average of more than 37 points per game. In Dallas, however, it turned out to be a lot more complicated. Drew Brees struggled against the Cowboys defense from the outset, which became apparent with his first four incompletions. This is unique because Brees has never started a match with 0 out of 4.
The quarterback, who is in a historically good season in terms of completion percentage (on track to break his own 2017 record), then recovered somewhat but only got 18/28 for 127 yards. The Dallas D’s coverage of Michael Thomas (8 catches for only 40 yards) was excellent. Two-headed running back monster Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram had to take enough with just 63 rushing yards total.
Still, the Saints came close to winning eleventh in a row. The Cowboys forgot to push through in the second half and failed to take enough distance in the final phase. Dak Prescott lost the ball in the red zone, giving Brees a chance for a winning drive. Jourdan Lewis, who saw an interception slip through his hands in the opening phase, was still the celebrated man with a pick on Brees.