THE VIEW FROM HALFTIME: Cowboys in control, 13-0

Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) runs with the ball against New Orleans Saints linebacker Demario Davis (56) in the first quarter at AT&T Stadium.Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas defense shut down Drew Brees and the Saints in the first half.

ARLINGTON, Texas — The Dallas Cowboys were the aggressors in the first half and controlled momentum in taking a 13-0 lead over the New Orleans Saints at the break.

Although, Dallas’s game-opening drive fizzled and it had to settle for Brett Maher’s 26-yard field goal, the Cowboys defense held the Saints to 59 total yards and no points on their first four possessions.

That gave the Cowboys’ offense time to establish a two-possession lead and they haven’t lost this season with such a margin.

Dak Prescott tossed a nifty screen pass to Ezekiel Elliott and center Joe Looney cleared the way with a key block, setting up Elliott’s 16-yard touchdown. The score gave Dallas a 10-0 edge with 57 seconds left in the first quarter.

The next big turning point came when New Orleans pushed into Dallas territory and had a first-and-goal from the Cowboys’7. But Jaylon Smith stopped Saints running back Alvin Kamara at the 1-yard line on third-and-goal and DeMarcus Lawrence and Tyrone Crawford wrapped up Kamara short of the goal line on fourth down.

The Cowboys responded by taking over and driving 71 yards on 16 plays and using up more than 9 minutes of the second quarter. Maher’s 46-yard field goal boosted Dallas’s lead to 13 and that’s where we stand.

So the big question for the second half: New Orleans will get the ball to start the third quarter. Can Drew Brees ignite a Saints’ comeback? How will the Cowboys respond if the Saints march for a touchdown early in the second half?

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