New Orleans Saints' rally falls short as Dallas Cowboys take 24-17 win

Michael Tortorich
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Marques Colston runs with the ball.

NEW ORLEANS -- The Dallas Cowboys held off the New Orleans Saints on Saturday night as they claimed a 24-17 win in the Louisiana Superdome.

Trailing by a seven in the final minutes, New Orleans (13-1) drove into Dallas (9-5) territory, but a sack and fumble recovery secured the Cowboys victory.

The Saints could have recreated a similar comeback to their rally over the Washington Redskins, as Dallas kicker Nick Folk missed a short field goal that could have put the Saints away. The attempt hit the right upright with 2:16 remaining.

The Saints rallied from a 24-3 deficit in the fourth quarter. New Orleans held Dallas scoreless in the final quarter. Saints running back Mike Bell scored on a 1-yard run and quarterback Drew Brees threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Lance Moore on a bubble screen.

The Cowboys dominated throughout the first half, as they mounted a 17-3 lead. Dallas scored first when quarterback Tony Romo hooked up with Miles Austin on a 49-yard touchdown pass. Cowboys running back Marion Barber followed with a 3-yard touchdown, as he dove over the goalline.

The Saints broke their drought in the second quarter when Garrett Hartley kicked a 34-yard field goal.

The Cowboys added a field goal of their own when Nick Folk cleared a 44-yard kick.

Numbers game

Romo out-dueled Brees, as the Dallas signal caller finished 22-of-34 passing for 312 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. Brees went 29-of-45 passing for 298 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

Rushing yards were few and far between for the Saints. Running back Reggie Bush led the Saints in rushing with 29 yards, which came all in one carry. Pierre Thomas carried six times for 20 yards.

Saints wide receiver Marques Colston led the way in receiving yards with 86 yards on five catches. Tight end Dave Thomas led in receptions with eight, accounting for 77 yards.

Romo's favorite target was Austin, who caught seven passes for 139 yards.

Coach talk

"We knew it would take everything, playing well in all areas, to be able to beat them here," Dallas head coach Wade Phillips said. "I thought our guys did that."

"There were a number of things we just didn't do well enough to win this game," New Orleans head coach Sean Payton said.

Next on the schedule

New Orleans will host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at noon Dec. 27.