ARLINGTON, Texas — It took Jourdan Lewis saving the Cowboys’ butts, but Dallas hung on for a huge victory over the New Orleans Saints.
The Cowboys failed to score in the second half, but the Dallas defense made a 13-0 lead stand up and the home team grasped a 13-10 victory over New Orleans on Thursday night at AT&T Stadium.
Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott fumbled at the Saints’ 15 when the Cowboys had a chance to go in for an insurance score in the fourth quarter. Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan sacked Prescott, caused and recovered the fumble, all while being held by La’el Collins.
That gave New Orleans the ball with 2:35 left, plenty of time for Drew Brees to lead a game-tying or game-winning drive.
But on the second play of the ensuing possession, Lewis dived and caught a Brees pass just before it hit the turf. The interception gave Dallas the ball back with 2:08 left and the Cowboys ran out the clock.
“Just a huge play,’ Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “Jourdan has been a guy who’s made a lot of plays on the ball for us. He was going to have a big role in this game tonight. We played some dime in the game because of all the skill that they have on offense and he did a good job of covering. And obviously that’s the biggest play in the game to be able to take the ball on that last drive and end the game there was huge.”
Thus Dallas stopped New Orleans’ 10-game winning streak and the Cowboys extended their run to four-consecutive victories.
The Cowboys (7-5) have a half game lead over Washington going into the weekend. The Redskins travel to play Philadelphia on Monday Night Football.
The Saints won the third quarter, 10-0, cutting well into Dallas’ 13-0 halftime lead.
Although the Cowboys defense held strong and played a pivotal role by generally slowing down Brees and the Saints, a couple of defensive penalties threatened to bring the whole thing down.
A defensive hold on Dallas cornerback Byron Jones and a roughing-the-punter call on Randy Gregory extended New Orleans’ only touchdown drive. Brees made the Cowboys pay by finishing the march with a 30-yard touchdown pass to Keith Kirkwood, pulling the Saints within a single score with 1:08 left in the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the Cowboys appeared to have sacked Brees and recovered a fumble. But the play was wiped off by an offside penalty on Gregory.
Jones came up big, though, sacking Brees on first-and-10 from the Dallas 43. That put New Orleans behind the chains and they eventually punted on fourth-and-nine.
Ultimately, the Cowboys’ defensive effort made the difference in knocking off a New Orleans team many consider to be the best in the NFL. Dallas kept the Saints to 176 yards.
Meanwhile, Prescott passed for 248 yards and tossed a screen pass to Ezekiel Elliott that went for a 16-yard touchdown late in the first quarter.
Elliott rushed for 76 yards and caught 6 passes for another 60 and the TD.