Four forced turnovers, including cornerback Trevon Diggs’s ninth interception of the season, led the Dallas Cowboys to a 27-17 win over the New Orleans Saints. While the Cowboys’ offense looked shaky again, the defense bolstered by the return of end Demarcus Lawrence stepped up. The unit notched four interceptions and two sacks living in the backfield all night. Offensively, Dallas used a big game by running back Tony Pollard and receiver CeeDee Lamb keeping the Saints defense guessing. Below are the four biggest takeaways from tonight’s win.
The return of Lawrence was a huge boost to the defensive front, helping rookie end/linebacker Micah Parsons notch his ninth sack of the season. For his part, Lawrence had two pass deflections and was in the face of Saints quarterback Taysom Hill all night. Another bright spot was the response of cornerback Anthony Brown. A week after getting called for multiple penalties, he notched a team-high 10 tackles with two deflections. Along with Diggs Jayron Kearse, Damontae Kazee, and Carlos Watkins each logged an interception, with Watkins going for a touchdown. This marks the unit’s first four-interception game in nearly 11 years. With the offense struggling, defensive outings like these are needed down the stretch.
Offense Sputters Again
The return of receiver Amari Cooper and tackles Tyron Smith and La’el Collins did little to help the unit capture its early-season form. Quarterback Dak Prescott once again faced pressure and tossed another ill-advised interception. On the ground running back, Ezekiel Elliott battling a knee injury gutted out 45 yards on 13 carries while Pollard had a season-high 58-yard touchdown run. Out wide receiver Michael Gallup continues to increase his value in a contract year, hauling in a beautiful toe-tap touchdown while Lamb led with 89 yards. The early season form needs to return moving forward.
Questionable Play Calling
From throwing a 10-yard pass on a fourth and two to passing twice after a five-yard run with less than five minutes left in the game, offensive coordinator Kellen Moore has to do better. On the night, Dallas averaged 6.1 yards per carry yet only ran the ball 24 times. The balance the offense showed early is gone as the Cowboys threw it 40 times. In order for the offense to get back to its old self, it must reestablish balance and get back to mixing up the playcalling.
Quinn Keeps it Rolling
With head coach Mike McCarthy out with COVID-19, defensive coordinator Dan Quinn kept the Cowboys rolling, leading the team to a win. It’s good to know that in the week-to-week era of COVID, the Cowboys can overcome and adapt to keep rolling.