New Orleans Saints survive defensive meltdown to beat Dallas Cowboys 34-31 | NOLA.com
Larry Holder - Hartley drills 20-yard game-winner after key fumble recovery by Graham.
Garrett Hartley Kicks Saints to Overtime Win in Dallas | neworleanssaints.com
Garrett Hartley booted a 20-yard FG in overtime to give the Saints a 34-31 win.
New Orleans Saints 34, Dallas Cowboys 31 | ESPN.com
ESPN GAMEHQ - Recap, stats, play-by-play, drive charts, photos, highlights.
New Orleans Saints 34, Dallas Cowboys 31 | NFL.com
Game Center - Watch video of the game, buy tickets, get stats & depth charts, game highlights, analysis, recap, and discuss with other NFL fans!
New Orleans Saints Postgame Notes | neworleanssaints.com
The 2012 Saints join the 1990 Houston Oilers as only the second team to have four players with at least 60 receptions.
Saints 34 @ Cowboys 31 Photo Gallery | NOLA.com
New Orleans Saints vs. Dallas Cowboys, December 23, 2012
Saints at Cowboys Photo Gallery | neworleanssaints.com
Photos taken by Michael C. Hebert.
Photos: Saints win in OT | wwltv.com
Pictures from the Saints-Cowboys matchup.
Saints vs Cowboys coverage
Saints vs Cowboys box score
From the Saints Sideline
Saints hold on in OT to beat Cowboys 34-31 | wwltv.com
Bradley Handwerger - New Orleans needed just a stop on Dallas’ final two drives of regulation to pull within one game of .500. Instead, they got it in overtime.
Saints stop Cowboys in overtime | The Advocate
Sheldon Mickles - Despite being eliminated from the playoff race when the Minnesota Vikings tripped the Houston Texans a couple hundred miles south of Cowboys Stadium, the New Orleans Saints weren’t interested in throwing in the towel Sunday.
Saints Escape Dallas with Overtime Victory, 34-31 | thesaintsnation.com
Andrew Juge - A victory with mixed emotions for the second consecutive week as the Saints won 34-31 in Dallas.
Drew Brees won't let New Orleans Saints go down without a fight: First take | NOLA.com
Mike Triplett - Brees on pace for 5,100 yards after throwing for 446 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in 34-31 overtime victory over Dallas Cowboys.
New Orleans Saints defense continues roller coaster ride vs. Dallas Cowboys: 10 more observations | NOLA.com
Mike Triplett - Observations from Saints' 34-31 overtime victory over Dallas Cowboys.
Quick Take: All news good for Saints in Dallas | sportsnola.com
Ken Trahan - Okay, New Orleans Saints, fans, you are safe to breathe.
New Orleans Saints vs. Dallas Cowboys recap: How the game was won | NOLA.com
Nakia Hogan - Saints tackles did a good job in protection.
New Orleans Saints vs. Dallas Cowboys recap: Did you see? | NOLA.com
Nakia Hogan - Colston's big game almost overshadowed by late fumble.
Three and out | The Advocate
New Orleans Saints vs. Dallas Cowboys: Grading the offense | NOLA.com
Doug Tatum - Four fleur de lis out of four.
New Orleans Saints vs. Dallas Cowboys: Grading the defense | NOLA.com
Doug Tatum - Two fleur de lis out of four.
New Orleans Saints vs. Dallas Cowboys: Grading the special teams | NOLA.com
Doug Tatum - 2.5 fleur de lis out of four.
New Orleans Saints vs. Dallas Cowboys: Grading the coaching | NOLA.com
Doug Tatum - Three fleur de lis out of four.
New Orleans Saints 34, Dallas Cowboys 31: Stats that stand out | NOLA.com
Doug Tatum - Both quarterbacks threw for more than 400 yards.
New Orleans Saints linebacker Curtis Lofton comes up with a game-changing play | NOLA.com
Nakia Hogan - Middle linebacker comes up with big fumble recovery.
Concussion for New Orleans Saints CB Jabari Greer was almost costly | NOLA.com
Nakia Hogan - Reserve Johnny Patrick picked on for two second-half TDs.
Drew Brees sets another NFL standard after passing 4,500-yard mark again | NOLA.com
Larry Holder - He's the first player to do it three consecutive seasons.
Graham’s basketball skills handy on fumble | The Advocate
HansDat note: Hey, did you know Jimmy Graham used to play basketball?????
New Orleans defense gets key stops versus Dallas | The Advocate
Steve Hunt - On paper, it might not have looked pretty as the Saints defense allowed 446 total yards in Sunday’s 34-31 win at Dallas.
Saints just starting to play well | The Advocate
Les East - The New Orleans Saints officially were eliminated from playoff contention Sunday.
Jimmy Graham's hustling heroics epitomize gritty New Orleans Saints win | NOLA.com
Jeff Duncan - If Payton saw Saints effort it's hard to imagine he'll walk away from them.
Saints paving way, laying foundation for brighter future | wwltv.com
Bradley Handwerger - Drew Brees pressed Sunday afternoon, looking for just the right answer when asked after the Saints’ 34-31 overtime win at Dallas just what it would mean to get to 8-8 by season’s end.
Wrap-up: Saints 34, Cowboys 31 (OT) - NFC South Blog | ESPN.com
Pat Y. - Thoughts on the New Orleans Saints’ 34-31 overtime victory against Dallas at Cowboys Stadium on Sunday.
From the OK Corral
Rapid Reaction: Saints 34, Cowboys 31, OT - NFC East Blog | ESPN.com
Calvin Watkins - The Dallas Cowboys have lost control of their season for the moment.
Eatman: Forget Stats; Untimely Offensive Mistakes Prove Costly | dallascowboys.com
They say the stats don’t lie, but Sunday’s game might challenge that.
Players, Coaches, Official React To Controversial Final Play | dallascowboys.com
In a game that had already provided a 14-point comeback with less than five minutes to play and a fourth-and-10 touchdown in the final minute to force overtime, it was only fitting that the game would end on a dramatic, if not controversial, play.
Cowboys Remain In Control Of Fate Despite Sunday Loss | dallascowboys.com
Rowan Kavner - Dez Bryant darted for 224 receiving yards and two touchdowns and the Cowboys rallied from a 14-point deficit to tie the Saints on Sunday with a fourth-down touchdown catch by Miles Austin with 21 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter before a dramatic comeback attempt fell just short in overtime.
Cowboys playoff picture is clear: beat the Redskins next week and they're in | dallasnews.com
DeMarco Murray's third-quarter fumble; ‘I’ll play better next week’ | dallasnews.com
ASSISTANT HEAD COACH/LINEBACKERS JOE VITT
It is a big win for our football team obviously. We were going against a really good football team that was fighting for a playoff position. We did some things today that allowed us to win last week. We protected the football. We did a really good job with the run battle. We did a really good job protecting our quarterback and we put Tony under some pressure. They have an explosive audience with really good wide receivers. Hats off to them, their comeback was unbelievable. I am proud of our football team, were proud of our football team and they should be proud of one another.
What was your message to the team when you went to overtime after they came back?
We just wanted to win a game, just work as hard as you can to win a game. It doesn't matter if it is overtime or regulation, it is to win a game. Everybody was on board. There was no panic. So really that's it. Everybody is fighting together.
I know Jimmy had just come out because I think he hurt his hand, but can you talk about the fight he had to get the fumble recovery?
Jimmy Graham really understands the difference in turnovers now. He lived two games were he turned the ball over and we weren't successful, but he was able to use his athleticism and muscle to get the ball, his huge.
Can you talk about the decision on fourth and two, when you were about to kick the field goal and took a time out to go for it?
Garrett looked like he had a hard time getting a spot. It was kind of windy and the ball was kind of moving around. He just came off a miss, so we took a timeout and put the ball back in the offense's hands. The guy comes back and wins the game for us. That's basically it.
Can you talk about the defense and the job they did today?
They were outstanding. We were all disappointed a little bit that they gave up some big plays at the end to put them back in it. The way you are going to lose a game is by letting the ball get over your head, but they have a good football team and they have skilled wide receivers. This will be a learning experience for us.
Can you talk about Drew Brees and his passing game lately?
You guys were the ones who jumped off the bandwagon. No, he is a great quarterback. I don't know how many more accolades I have to say about him. You want me to put him on my W2 form or what.
Your thoughts on their resolve to keep fighting this season?
Listen, I think this. I think that we have talked about this all year long, from a 0-4 start. The character, the resolve, the togetherness, and the accountability from one another in the locker room. It is fun to be around on a daily basis. Even our setbacks, you educate the new members of our football team and the young members of our football team what wins and what losses in the National Football League specifically what wins for us. There is a learning curve and as a coach you have to have patience and stay the course. We said this from day one it is the football team. It is the kind of people that we draft; it is the kind of people that we signed. This football team is rather tested and their tough, they hang together, it is fun to coach.
Were you convinced the call would stayed it would be a fumble recovery?
I couldn't tell. There was a little bit of discussion that we had the ball. Then there was a little bit of discussion about were it was going to be spotted, but we just waited for the call. You have to have a contingency plan so we were trying to talk with the press box about ok where is the ball spotted if we don't get it back, but we got the call and Garrett took the field goal.
Can you talk about the strip that Curtis Lofton had?
Curtis has had a great year. He has been a great acquisition for us. You talk about a huge play when our position is backed up and were able to give our offense possession at the three yard line, I think. That is huge.
Third downs on offense and defense.
We had to win the turnover battle that was the number one key. The number two key was the run game on third down. If we took care of those two things and protected the ball, we would have a real good chance to compete and win this football game and the guys did that, they responded.
QB DREW BREES
Overall impression of the game
This was huge. And it was a great team effort. We knew the type of game this was going to be; obviously the Cowboys are a hot team coming in 5-6 in playoff contention. We knew what this game meant to them. For us, after realigning our goals two weeks ago, we established how we wanted to finish this season and we knew what we needed to do to accomplish that. We knew it would be a challenge coming in here. As far as the flow of the game, I felt like we possessed the ball very well, I felt like we converted a lot of third downs. We also knew that no matter what the score, that the team on the other side of the ball was a great-finishing team. They did a great job coming back with those two late touchdowns and then all the sudden we're in OT. There was no panic, it's almost like we knew the game would come down to something like this. Offensively, we just wanted that opportunity and the defense gave it to us with a big stop. We made some big plays and had a crazy fumble recovery. Everybody contributed, everybody is a part of this and it was a tremendous game.
Team's determination at this point
We wanted to play our best football...that's what we want to be known for. Regardless of what our playoff options are, it's all about playing our best football in December going into what we always hope will be the playoffs. Regardless of how that shakes out, we understand that we built a foundation for our teams in the future. We've got the core group know that's going to be with us for a long time.
TE JIMMY GRAHAM
Fumble recovery in overtime
I saw WR Marques Colston catch the ball and I was just flat-footed ready to celebrate with him. Then I saw the ball pop out and a guy was about five yards ahead of me and I figured that he'd jump on it and next thing I knew, I was outrunning him. That's just what this team does. We have a lot of resolve and we've been through so much and the type of play like that, to win here in Dallas, that's just how this team is. We all give all we have and that's what expected.
Competition in the pile for the ball
I jumped on it and it was underneath my leg, it was pretty basic. TE David Thomas was over me snatching people off and Drew jumps on me and he said a bunch of stuff. It was definitely a special moment for me, especially after the ups and downs in the game, to help this team win on the road in Dallas here in the stadium is definitely special.
LB CURTIS LOFTON
Solicited Saints to sign with the team
I don't second-guess my decision. Our record doesn't show it, but this is a really great team. We've got a lot of great players and a lot of character on this team. It didn't work out for us this year but looking to the future, the future is going to be bright for us.
Stop in OT
We went back out there and I told the guys, "We've got to get this. We've got to get a three-and-out or we've got to get a stop. No matter what" Everyone bought-in, everyone did their job and we came out on top.
Shut down Dallas running game
Once we got a sizeable lead they got away from the run. We stayed disciplined, we stayed in the gaps and we shut them down.
WR MARQUES COLSTON
That's definitely the way you want it end, but it was a great hustle play by Jimmy and he saved by butt... I felt like it was a fumble. I felt like I took a couple steps, just didn't secure it tight enough and he was able to hit the ball and get it out pretty easily. You never want to put the ball on the ground. Anytime it's in my hands I have the team's hopes and chances of winning in my hands and luckily Jimmy was hustling on the play and I was able to get that one back.
What did he tell Jimmy Graham
He saved my butt. Even with the win, personally, it's going to leave a sour taste in my mouth. I can't do that... It just doesn't sit well with me.
K GARRET HARTLEY
Coach always stresses it's not how we start, it's how we finish. Just a great all-around team effort as far as the defense staying strong in overtime and then us coming down and getting a drive that we need. I guess the field goal unit just doing their job. Go out there and execute. Protection was great all day. (Justin) Drescher with the snap and then Chase (Daniel) on the hold and I was just the final piece of the puzzle.
Did it feel special being a Southlake guy and getting to come home? Was the family here?
Yeah, they were. My mom and dad and a lot of friends and family. It felt great, especially with Drescher, Chase and myself all being from Southlake and then to come back here and, you know, Texas Stadium, and end up putting the final points on the board. It really meant a lot; not just for me but to everyone.
Did you grow up a Cowboys fan?
Absolutely. That's just what you did. You're from here and you're a Cowboys fan growing up.
What happened on the first one (missed field goal)? Was it the pressure of being here?
No. Obviously the hit on the ball wasn't what I wanted. It tailed off left.
I think it's funny. I was just joking around with Dresch. Telling him, "It's going to come down to us on this one."
Is it ever in your head, when you're going for the game winner, or can you block it out?
It wasn't like that. I was just, "Hey, this is what we need to do." It's kind of like a horse with blinders. You just focus and we went out there and executed.
The field goal was a little more than an extra point. Was there any problem at all with the angle? What goes through your mind as far as reminders prior to a kick like that?
You know, Chase asked me if we wanted to move the ball. I said no, let's just get it over with. Just the basics, you know. The fundamentals. Hey, strike through the ball and follow through and elevate it.
Do you remember the last time you won an overtime game with a field goal?
(Thinks) "Where was that? Maybe, uh....."
Reporter reminds him: "The NFC Championship."
Oh, yeah. That one. (laughs)
RB MARK INGRAM
You guys just keep showing the effort this season. You're not giving up at all.
That's not the character of any of the guys in this locker room. Every time we step foot on the field, we're trying to put our best performance on and trying to win games. That's what it's all about, here. The Saints have a tradition of winning since '09, since coach got here. We're a proud group and we just work hard; work our butt off and we know it's very important to finish out the season strong.
What would it mean to finish 8-8 after everything the team has been through?
It's big for us. We had a rough year but everybody stayed working hard. Coming to work every day getting better and when we come out on Sunday we just try to put forth our best effort and that's what everybody's doing.
On the offensive effort.
I think we did a good job running the ball, passing the ball, keeping Drew clean. Not turning the ball over. We did a good job with that today. That helped us get this win today.
C BRIAN DE LA PUENTE
On the team's pride (being mathematically eliminated).
We know that we can take momentum into next year. You always want to put good stuff on the field. Essentially you're always getting reviewed and so everybody wants to put their next foot forward.
What was the locker room like after this?
We were pretty excited in here. It's a tough place to play. This venue is incredible. To come on the road and get a win against a good team is something to be proud of.
Especially after they came back. It would be easy to fold up.
Yeah. They've been doing that all year. We knew that they were a team that finished well. To kind of finish this one out, a close game, to finish it, it kind of put a stamp on things.
DE WILL SMITH
On giving up the touchdown to go into overtime
"We weren't able to make the right adjustments in time, and they kind of caught us in a bad defense, a bad matchup. And then they kind of picked on us. That kind of hurt us. And then we got to overtime. They tried to hurry up, but at the same time, it wasn't the same and we made the right adjustments and got off the field and got our offense the ball back."
On the team's resolve
"Like I said all week, this team has no quit in them. We are still getting paid. We still have to go out there and perform. We still have to get these W's. We know the Saints fans want it. We want to win. Just because we are out of the playoff hunt doesn't mean we can't go out there and play the same and play with the same intensity and the same level and try to fight to the end and get the victory."
On contemplating an 8-8 season
"It would mean we are .500. It would mean we finished the season the right way. We started slow, we struggled, ups and downs all season. And got in position where we were out. But we fought back to .500 and not have a losing season."
On lessons learned from the season
"It just shows our resolve. No matter what situation you kind of put us in, we are going to bounce back and we are going to keep fighting to the end."
On the Cowboys putting up big plays to get into overtime
"They are capable of that. At the start of the game they made a couple plays, big plays. And we know that big play offense. We didn't expect them to make those kinds of plays late in the game because we were playing so well. But it was kind of surprising and we knew we still had the opportunity to win the game going into overtime."
CB PATRICK ROBINSON
On the defensive performance
"There were a lot of plays we left on the field. And a lot of things we should have done better. But, you know. It didn't happen."
On the team's resolve
"We made plays when we needed them the most. But we also definitely gave up a lot. But for the most part, we did what we were supposed to do."
On his own performance
"I feel terrible, to be honest. I feel terrible. I think I left my teammates down. But that is part of the game. Just gotta try to forget about it. I guess we gotta look forward to next week."
On holding up at the end of the game to preserve the win
"I felt alright about it. But I think if I wouldn't have given up those huge plays in the beginning, we wouldn't be in that position."
On the big plays the Cowboys put up to get into overtime
"What was going through my mind? Not to give up the big plays. And we did that. But we also made some. I guess we made the ones that really, really counted. We got the win."
On his perspectives on the season
"What do I take away from this season? I think I missed a lot of opportunities as far as not catching the ball. Not having great technique. And I think that really hurt me, in my opinion. And I think it definitely showed this game. They definitely made a lot of plays off my mistakes. That is a hard thing to deal with. But it's done with now."
DE JUNIOR GALETTE
On the defensive performance
"We were shooting ourselves in the foot. If the game had gone the other way, they are a good team, but we were beating ourselves with penalties early on. Just self-imposed mistakes, we were basically costing ourselves the game. But we have so much talent, and we understand coming into the game that penalties are the only way we can lose this game as far as if you look at the film and what type of team we are -- I just feel like we are a better overall team. But we were able to overcome all those adverse situations and just finish upfront on defense and offense."
On his sack
"I just beat them with a speed rush. I was working them all game. It was difficult because they kept rotating with Free and Parnell, they kept rotating at the right tackle. So I had to get a bead on both those guys. What to do? Because once I was working this guy and setting up for this, the other dude came in. So I just decided to hit him with the speed rush and it worked out.
On the lessons learned from the season
"It's not over yet. There are a lot of lessons. We had our growing pains early on. I feel like the last few weeks as far as defensively, we've been coming along really well. The numbers might not show it, but as far as a unit understanding the concept as a defense as a whole, we are getting there. And we are looking forward to what we do in the offseason."
OWNER JERRY JONES
On the end of the game:
"Of course, to have the comeback that we had, and then get in there (overtime), I'm like all fans and everybody - I'm not saying I was counting it, but I had a thought that we'd go down the field and get us a touchdown. So (that was) very disappointing there. New Orleans played us well. Stats show up and show they played us well on both sides of the football. We were fortunate to get back in this game. We had some guys that just wouldn't quit - Tony (Romo) wouldn't quit - and it's a shame we couldn't pull that out."
On if he thought the Cowboys had a chance on getting the fumble recovery during overtime:
"I thought that when it was loose we had a chance at it because I thought we had more people back there then they did, but it just didn't come our way."
On if he thought that after winning the coin toss in overtime that Dallas would win the game:
"Yes, yes, yes. I was glad they didn't get it, the way (Drew) Brees had been playing. I compliment them and their team. We had a difficult time with them. Surprisingly most of the game their defense played well and their offense did better than I thought they could. I give them a lot of credit for it."
On after the loss, the Cowboys no longer controlling their own destiny for a playoff berth:
"I'm not for sure of the scenarios, but it is disappointing. But most anything (of the scenarios) that we were coming up with was we had to win the Washington game next weekend. That's not to say, as you saw, that we didn't do everything we could possibly to win this ball game. We'll just have to see how this sorts out. I'm really not sure how it falls here, but we'll see after the weekend."
On if he thought that Marques Colston caught the ball that was ruled a fumble or if it was an incomplete pass:
"It looked to me like he did catch it, yes. I don't have a gripe there."
On with all that's at stake, how much anguish was he in to lose a game like this:
"The thing is everybody, everybody on the field, every coach knows what was at stake. They all did. I'm real impressed with the way the Saints played us on both sides of the ball. I thought we would have trouble slowing them down, but I thought we could move (the ball) better in most of the ballgame. But I was real impressed with how we came back. We had our back against wall and I thought that was going to be enough to get it done. I was probably counting it for a second, but I was very concerned with giving them the ball back. Make no mistake about it."
On if he was surprised with the second half lull by the offense with not being able to score points:
"Yes. Very, very. I didn't expect that and I was surprised, and a lot of it happened because of a couple of third-down situations that we didn't execute on or move those chains. But let's give them some credit too. They played us well and again, I thought these guys were going to be able to come back and thrill us all and get another one. Now we'll have to see if there's something left in this playoff run. It's very disappointing, it's very disappointing. A tough way to have Christmas."
On if the team has it in them to win one more:
"I think we always thought, even with our (would-be) win today, we thought we were going to have to win this game against the Redskins. It certainly turns out we do. I'm not for sure what else has to happen right now. I never thought that we wouldn't have to win the game against the Redskins to have life after the regular season. I think that's certainly going to be the case. I hope it's enough when it all shakes out."
On if he needs a playoff berth to feel that this team made progress this season:
"Let me put it like this, it will be easy to say we made progress if we get a playoff berth. And I'm not trying to be trite about it, but it'd be easier to say, and if we can get a playoff berth with a win and we get those numbers and wins and it gets us in the playoffs...I don't know that progress is the word for it, but we've got a team put together here that I know we're a little light on the defensive side of the ball, but we've got most of what I would call the strength of the defense still there. New Orleans pointed out - they've got their corners, their pass rushers, they've got a lot the meat there. I think that if we can win against Washington and that let's us get in, then we've got a chance to play well."
On if he doesn't get the end result this season with this team if it's okay to blame it on the injuries suffered:
"I think that we have in place the core of the defense and are playing with it right now. I'm not minimizing, I guess I am the minimizing the injuries because we've got what everybody wants and that is our corners are healthy and our pressure players are healthy. I don't know of a team in the league that isn't filling in, I'm just glad we're not filling in there. Now we missed DeMarcus (Ware) out there for some time today, but we're pretty sound and that big emphasis is on being sound and having talent. So I expect our defense to play. I did know the challenge that we had against this New Orleans team today. I thought we very easily could have had a track meet, but anything I thought we'd score more points. So to their credit, but I want to give our bunch credit for basically sticking back up there and getting some more points back on the board right there at the end. I'm going to say that I was surprised, and that's a high expectation level when you're surprised, but I'm surprised that we didn't get that ball down the field and get that touchdown (in overtime).
On the play of Dez Bryant:
"Outstanding. We have a little ritual we're going through that's been going on for about six games. We come over before the game (holds out hands) and he touches it and it's like I'm in a séance. I say, ‘I see three, I see receptions, I see scores today.' So we're having a lot of, on a personal basis, just some kidding going on there. I'm real pleased for him, the team. There on that last play, he's a good guy to have it go to. Their defense did a good job on that play. He's a good guy to go to on that play. When I saw where they were going with that ball, instantaneously I could see a catch. I didn't see how they could deny him."
On after being in a similar playoff situation like last year to go on the road to win and get in if the team is more prepared this year to finish the job:
"I think that where we are with a healthier Miles (Austin) and Dez with where he is with his maturation and where Tony is as I think Tony's continued to improve. I think we've got a better offensive line then what he had this time last year. Defensively we didn't have (Bruce) Carter last year, we didn't have some of the guys we have (this year). I think we're better at corner as we go up there. I think we're a better team than we were last year."
On last year thinking the team was good enough to win that game and make a run:
"Just because I thought it was so doesn't make it so."
On if he does still have the same feeling that if they get in that they can be the ‘hot' team:
"I think so. I do, I do. I think our team is capable of really competing. Look at the teams in there and we've played them. We've had our ups and downs against them, but I could give you a scenario where we might have played them and got out of there with a win against Atlanta. But I look at these type of teams and I say we could get in and win a game against them. I do."
On if it's harder to be patient when you see a Washington team rebuilding so fast:
"The way (Robert Griffin III) played against us, this one is different. I just think he presents, along with their good defense, and what they've put together to compliment him and how they use him, he present a challenge. I'll say it again - I was awed with what he did to us in the second quarter out here in Cowboys Stadium. I certainly think that's the type of player we're playing against and team we're playing against. But I hope we get a chance to do it for some marbles."
HEAD COACH JASON GARRETT
What was your take on last play and did it not look remarkably similar to play of the 1st quarter last week?
Yeah. I thought it was the identical play. And that's something I was trying to tell the officials. You know, unfortunately it didn't go in our favor.
Have you seen the replay of it since?
I saw the replay up on the big screen. The exact explanation of the play from last week about getting feet down and having total control of the ball and all of that. So, they saw it differently then we did and it certainly was a big play in the game.
Do you get the feeling that defense has done so well with the patchwork unit just finally getting together?
I thought the defense just really fought their ass off all day long. Just to be honest with you. A lot of different combinations of players playing for us against a really really good offensive football team. You know, I just thought that they fought fought fought. They made some stops when they needed to make stops. Clearly, New Orleans controlled the ball a lot. They were able to drive it, they were able to convert 3rd downs and keep drives alive. They are a really good offense and have been for a long time. You know, I thought our defense just battled battled battled as best they could. Ultimately, they made more plays than we did.
Can you talk about your emotions right now, what are your emotions after a play like that with last week it went against you for the same reasons and now it cost you a game?
Yeah. Again, that's not something we want to get into. The officiating is the officiating. What we have to control is how we play and coach. The play went against us. It was eerily similar to last week and both of them seemed to go against us and the plays seemed virtually identical. But, that's the way it is. We've got to play and coach to the best of our ability and not worry about that.
What did you tell your team after the game?
That I was very proud to be apart of the group. I thought they fought really really hard in all three phases. I appreciated how they just put it all out there. Ultimately, they made a couple more plays than we did. We battled, we battled on offense, we battled on defense, we battled in the kicking game and ultimately we didn't get it done. What we have to do is somehow, someway put this one behind us, come back on Wednesday morning and get ready to play one ball game and beat the Washington Redskins up at their place next week.
Jason, as the team battled after the Murray fumble, that's got to make you proud that at least they came back hard.
Oh, no question. That was a big play in the ball game. We did a good job taking care of the football, except for that one play. When you're playing and offense like this, you can't give them any freebees. And to give them the ball inside the 10 yard line, really really a difficult thing for our defense. They didn't get the stop their. New Orleans scored the touchdown. But again, you can't blink you've got to go forward. That's one of the reason I'm proud to be apart of this group, nobody does. They just keep playing, they keep battling. I thought it was a tremendous comeback. And again, all three phases contributed to it. We got stops on defense, special teams contributed, and offense was able to drive the ball down and score the touchdown and tie it up. But, ultimately it wasn't enough. They made more plays then we did today and we got to somehow someway get beyond this one and get ready for Washington next week.
Can you talk about Dez game, he had a great 1st half, what did they do the 2nd half to kind of take away from that?
Well, Dez gets a lot of attention. He always does. He did a really good job in the first half when he was isolated, just cashed in on some big plays. We had the 9 route that we scored on, he caught a slant and came out of it, and he made another long touchdown. So, he made a number of big plays in the game, but he got a lot of attention throughout the ball game. There were rolling covers there and he did a really good job fighting through some of that too and making some plays as the game wore on.
What was your thought process at the end of the 1st half, I think you threw three straight passes and they didn't have time to come down and get a field goal?
Yeah. You know, we just felt like we could move the ball against them. We had of couple of those plays that were successful; we just didn't convert the 3rd down. Anytime you plan an offense like this, it's a double edged sword. You want to limit their opportunities, but you have to take advantage of your opportunities. We felt like we were moving the ball and having some success on the limited number of plays we had on offense. I think we only had 18 plays in the first half on offense. But, we were cashing in on them. We felt like we had a chance there, we just didn't convert the 3rd down and gave them a chance.
Can you talk about when you were down 14 in the 4th and what you were able to do offensively and the return you got and like you said the defense doing a few things?
Yeah you just battle. You just keep fighting and scratching and clawing. We've been in that situation at different times in the year. I think that guys have a tremendous confidence level when we're in those situations. Offensively we drove the ball, defensively we made stops and ultimately it was a pretty good sequence for us in a tough situation in the ball game. At that point in the game, they were clearly trying to run some clock and shorten the ball game. But, I thought that we did make some stops on defense and then cashed in on offense to give us a chance to win it.
Talk about losing Ware, just how difficult and making a difficult situation even worse.
Yeah, DeMarcus has been amazing all year long. He's had such a productive year for us and he's been dealing with so many different injuries and he just battles hard every week to get himself ready to play. And he just battles through ball games; you know he's had a few different things that he's been nicked up with over the course of the season. Somehow, someway he finds his way to keep playing. You know, he was trying to do that today and he makes a difference. Certainly, when they break the huddle and they see number 94 over there, he warrants the attention that he gets and has gotten throughout his career. So, it makes a difference when he's not in the line up.
When it got to overtime, was the feeling here you go again you've been in this spot, you did it against Cleveland, you did it against Pittsburgh, and the Bengals game was the end of it.
I don't think any question about it. I think that there's a real confidence level that we had. We had to move the ball on offense and go give ourselves the chance to score. Again, they made a good 3rd down stop on us on the throw to Dez and ultimately we couldn't make the stops on defense when they got it.
Can you talk about that 3rd down in overtime and what you wanted there and how it was broken up?
Yeah, just a couple of different things. You know, one of the things we like to do is make sure our quarterback has answers versus some of the different things they want to play. He had a one-on-one with Dez on a slant, had been a good play for us. There guy made a good play, he broke on it. It just happens, sometimes you get one-on-one you don't make the play, whether it's the throw or the catch or whether the guy on the other side makes a good play. But, in that case that's what happens and that was a big 3rd down. Not getting that and giving them a chance was certainly a difference making play in the game.
You guys still have a chance, if you go into Washington with a win it's a lot easier, how concerned are you going in with an emotional game like this?
Yeah, you just got to put this one behind us. There were a lot of good things that happened in the ball game. Certainly, the resolve, the fight, and the determination and will was on display by our football team again. Those are real positive things. We have to execute better in all three phases, we have to clean up some of things that happened in the ball game that allowed them to make a couple more plays then we did. But at the end of it, you have to wipe the slate clean. You got to come back in on Wednesday morning and get your eyes focused on the task at hand which will be the Washington Redskins.
Can you talk about Tony's day overall and what he was able to do and bringing you back?
Yeah. I thought he played remarkably well. Like I said, we only had 18 plays in the first half and he was making the most out of them. A couple of long touchdowns to Dez, so we cashed in. One of the things you like to do against a team like this is possess the ball and keep those guys on the sidelines. But, they were doing a good job converting their 3rd downs and driving the ball. If we didn't convert a 3rd down, we made a big play for a touchdown in the first half. Again, we didn't have a lot of snaps, they had a lot of snaps and it was challenge for our defense. So, I thought he made the most of them in the early part of the ball game. Again, he didn't blink late in the game, we needed some scores, made a lot of big throws down the field to Dez, to Miles, over and over and over again. He found the right guy and delivered. And again, tied it up with 15 seconds to go and gave us the chance to win in overtime.
This is the 2nd straight game Murray's fumbled and guy, who's never fumbled before at this level, is there something about the way he's carrying it?
Well, I didn't get a great look at it. But it looked like he was kind of going down and they kept him up a little bit, but then he spun and from behind they grabbed it and pulled the thing out. So, he does do a good job taking care of the football. Unfortunately, for the 2nd straight week at critical parts of the field. You know, the one last week was down in the red zone and this one was in the coming out territory. So, related to points in both cases. But, he's done a very good job taking care of the football; he's just got to hold it up more securely through the end of the down. In each of the cases it was after the initial stop, they kept him up and the ball came out. So, he's got to be much more aware of that and that's important in big plays in the game.
Well obviously Jason, you've got to respect all the speed that the Saints have a wide receiver, but was there any thought when you got in the overtime period, since they've been really successful with the zone all day to switch to man-to-man?
I think we mixed coverages throughout the ball game. That's what you try to do to a guy like Drew Brees and his offense. You just try to mix it as much as you can and not really give him the opportunity to know what you're in prior to the snap. So, you try to do that as best as you can. They're a good offense. He sees things well; we're playing with some different combinations of guys. So he was just finding some holes in there. But again, I thought that our guys battled well. I thought that Rob did a really good job putting it all together this week and trying to get guys in the best situation they could be to execute. But again, it's a really good offense. I thought that they scratched, clawed as well as they could and ultimately they just made a couple more plays then we could.
I know that you focus on yourself, now you need help to go into the playoffs are you going to go and watch the Giants game after this?
Yeah. We will probably see what's going on in the Giants game. I don't know all the implications of everything to be honest with you. I know that we have to go beat Washington next week for anything good for us to happen. Hopefully along the way some of the other good things for us will happen. We don't control our destiny but we do control what we do. It starts with our preparation this week and going up there and playing our best football game next week.
Witten broke the single season record for tight ends, does it seem a little hollow that it's coming in a loss or his production and what he's been able to do?
Well, obviously if you ask him, he's going to say it doesn't really mean anything because our sole objective today was to win a ball game. We didn't get that done, but if you want to step back and take that emotion out of it for a second, he's had a remarkable year. There's not question about that, I think a remarkable year under any circumstances, but particularly the circumstances he started the season with. Coming back with that lacerated spleen and not really being himself for the first four or five ball games. But, so determined to play, so determined to be a guy who's out there taking every snap. To have the production that he's had after that kind of start is really really amazing and really attributes to the kind of person he is.
QB TONY ROMO
On the loss
"It's tough right now because we don't know what's going to happen. It's tough when we fought all the way back. We did a lot of good things today and we did a lot of things that we're going to look back on and be very disappointed in. I think [they are] things we can control and some simple things that usually we do pretty well in. That's what the game comes down to in tight games. It's disappointing right now."
On having a good game as a QB but still losing
"I think it's about winning and losing. You do every thing in your power to help your football team to do the things that it takes to win. When you don't, you'll use the experiences to do better but as far as standing up here and feeling good, it doesn't [feel good]. When you lose in the NFL, especially when you play this position, it's just a very empty feeling."
On Miles Austin's touchdown late in the 4th quarter
"We did a good job late in the game, coming down and doing some things that I thought that would give them a little bit of trouble. We got into some stuff and it ended up working out to get us where we needed to be. In the end the game comes down to a couple of plays here and there. You have to be able to do the things it takes to extend the drives and you have to do the things it takes to stop a drive. We didn't do that well enough today."
On the 3rd down pass to Dez Bryant
"You make calls based on what they do and what they play and tendencies and things like that. They game will come down to a man on a man. He obviously had some really, really good moments in this football game.
We threw a slant to Dez in OT. It's a guy on a guy and with the coverage they played... it was a good matchup. We like that matchup. I told Dez... he just needed to keep running in there and he was going to get contested a thrown catch. We did it throughout the game and the other guy made a good play. I don't know if they got pressured or not, I have to go back and watch the tape. We obviously wish we'd have had that."
On tightening up on Dez as the game went on
"No, they played the same way throughout. They kind of played down a little bit... but that's also why we were able to get some stuff over the top. We did a lot of good things in this football game; we just didn't make a play or two that can determine it... When you have a couple of good offenses out there, it can come down to a catch. Make the catch, don't make the catch. I'm not saying Dez's play; there were other plays we needed to make in the football game. Make a block, don't make; make a throw, don't make it. That's what the game comes down to. We didn't do the things we needed to win."
On Jason Witten breaking the record for catches by a TE in the NFL
"It's good. Jason will tell you the same thing. I'm thankful I have him as my tight end. At the same time it's just hard to think about. It's the same with the touchdown thing. If you end up losing a football game or you're involved in the whole season being out of line a little bit, it's a tough thing to think about. Jason's had an incredible season, an incredible career and it keeps getting better and better."
On playoff mind frame
"It's amazing how you play every week and you don't think about what's ahead or anything but you opponent. But, that's the only reason you really play in a lot of ways is to get your team into that position and to get in the playoffs so you can have a chance. When you get in, anything can happen. I know that. We've seen that far too many times. We just need to do the right things to get in. We had a lot of good plays today but we didn't get off the field on 3rd down and we didn't stay on the field on 3rd down. When you look at that, that recipe is tough to overcome."
On Washington game next week and being prepared for their offense after already playing them on Thanksgiving
"I think so, I think that will help. I think anytime you can see a new offensive system that's being played off like that can help you. I don't know who we had who's not there anymore during that game so there could be some new faces. Rob [Ryan] will come up with a good plan and we'll go after them and be ready."
On being optimistic
"For us, when you lose a football game and you know you had a chance to win... the optimism will start 24 hours probably from now. Right now it's just a tough thing to think about. Saying that, if the Giants lose a game, I think we have everything in front of us still. Obviously we're rooting for the Ravens [to win]."
On being surprised at the Saints' effort when they have nothing to play for
No, I'm not surprised. That's a proud unit over there on both sides of the ball. They've been playing great offensive football all year long. Their defense has started to play well lately. They look on tape and you expect to see something a little softer... guys not hustling, things of that nature, but that's not them. I'll give Coach Vitt, Coach Spagnuolo credit. They play hard. They're disruptive. You've seen it on tape. They came out and played hard. They did the things they needed to be done to win. We did a lot of good things but we didn't make the ones that mattered."
TE JASON WITTEN
"Give them a lot credit. They made more plays than we did in the end. We had a lot of fight. We felt like we could have done stuff earlier in the game. The turnover hurt us. Against that good offense, we knew we had to win the time of possession. We just didn't have a lot of opportunities early in the game. Obviously, Tony and Dez made some big plays. We made some big plays at the end. It's tough to let this opportunity slip...We did a lot to get back into it. We just came up short."
"This team's got a lot of fight to come back the way we have and continue to do. There's something about this team. You're proud to be a part of it. We felt like we like some momentum coming into the game. But those mistakes early in the game just cost you in the end."
On his record
"I've been here ten years, you'd rather it would come in a different way when you can go out and have win and enjoy it. It's something special. There's been a lot of good tight ends to play for a long time. I have so much respect for the game and this position. To break that, it's special, probably more so this year because of the way the season started for me. It's something I'll remember for a long time. Obviously, my priorities now is trying to help our team win a game. I feel upset about it because we came just a little short."
"(We had) great energy, great group of guys. We don't know what's going to happen here. We've got to stay focus and keep going. Hopefully, the chips fall where we can still get in if we win next week. It's a great group. It's unfortunate we didn't make enough plays. But give them credit. They are a good football team especially on offense."
"You've got to move forward. This one is tough. It'll stay there for a while. These games come down to a handful of plays. We've seen over the entire season, especially this year, when we are able to make those plays we win these games. When you're playing those tight situations and got to come from behind, sometimes that's too big of an obstacle. Obviously, tonight it was."
"We've got to move forward. We have an opportunity to go to the playoffs. Regardless, we've got to go play the Redskins, play them tough and see where it falls."
DB MORRIS CLAIBORNE
On forcing the fumble in overtime:
"I looked at the replay, and I was thinking fumble. But I was hoping please let the pass be incomplete. But they hustled to the ball and got on it. You are always taught when you go for the tackle to try to knock the ball out. Every time I go in for a tackle, I try to go for the ball. I got it out, but we didn't recover it. I wish it wouldn't have come out."
On if he initially thought it was a fumble:
"I didn't know until they showed the replay. Going into the ground, I didn't even realize that the ball was out so I was just praying that it was incomplete."
On how costly missed tackles were:
"Very costly. You want to get off the field, and you give up those plays on third down to let them stay on the field. That's kind of frustrating, but you just have to battle through it."
V-Roll Roll Call
New Orleans Saints at Dallas Cowboys Highlights | neworleanssaints.com
The New Orleans Saints defeated the Dallas Cowboys in a close Week 16 matchup.