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Saints Beat Cowboys 34-31 in Wild Overtime Finish

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The Saints nearly fumbled away a 14-point 4th quarter lead but managed to escape Dallas with a win after a wild overtime ending. Not that it matters.

Ronald Martinez

Marques Colston nearly fumbled away the game in overtime but some quick hustle by Jimmy Graham allowed the Saints to sneak away with a victory.

After missing his first field goal attempt earlier in the game, Garrett Hartley nailed his next two, including the overtime game-winner, as the Saints held on in Dallas to beat the Cowboys 34-31.

It was complete domination by New Orleans for the entire first quarter in Dallas with 11 first downs, 12:03 in time of possession, 154 total yards and a perfect 4/4 on 3rd down conversions. The Saints were able to really pull away in the third quarter after capitalizing on a DeMarco Murray fumble at the Cowboys own 5-yard line.

But Dallas was able come back and force overtime following touchdown passes to Dwayne Harris and Miles Austin in the final 3:35 of regulation tied the score at 31 apiece.

The Cowboys would punt after winning the overtime coin toss and receiving the ball first.

Then this happened:

Saintsfumble_medium

The Saints finished with 562 total offensive yards, the 5th most ever in franchise history. Marques Colston quietly racked up 153 yards and Darren Sproles added another 152 through both the ground and air.

On the other side of the ball, the defense took a step backward today after displaying steady improvement in the second half of the season and shutting out the Buccaneers last week. Pass coverage was atrocious, most noticeably by Patrick Robinson, as Dez Bryant had a field day with 224 yards and 2 TDs.

Unfortunately, none of it matters because the Saints have already been mathematically eliminated from the 2012 NFL playoff race.

***

Team Stats

NO DAL
First Downs 33 18
Total Yards 562 446
Passing Yards 446 406
Rushing Yards 116 40
Penalties (Yds) 6(42) 5(32)
Turnovers 0 1
Punts (AVG) 5(41) 6(46)
Time of Pos. 41:59 22:28

Top Performers

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Passing CP/AT YDS TD INT
D. Brees 37/53 446 3 0
Rushing CAR YDS TD LG
M. Ingram 21 53 1 9T
D. Sproles 9 48 0 17
Receiving REC YDS TD LG
M. Colston 10 153 0 60
D. Sproles 7 104 0 44
J. Graham 7 88 0 26
DALLAS COWBOYS
Passing CP/AT YDS TD INT
T. Romo 26/43 416 4 0
Rushing CAR YDS TD LG
D. Murray 11 40 0 9
Receiving REC YDS TD LG
D. Bryant 9 224 2 58T
J. Witten 6 60 0 19
D. Murray 4 51 0 22