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Taysom Time Can't Push Saints Past Cowboys

The Saints did what they could to hang in there with the Cowboys on Thursday night, but it simply wasn't enough again to hand them to another loss.

NEW ORLEANS -- The Saints season feels like it's on life support after the team lost their fifth straight game. Defensively, New Orleans did a pretty good job handling things overall. However, the Cowboys defense came up with several interceptions on Taysom Hill, which helped them cruise to a Thursday Night Football win.

Game Recap

New Orleans started with the football after the Cowboys won the coin toss and elected to defer to the second half kickoff. Taysom Hill came out throwing, connecting on his first several passes. He'd help get a first down on the drive, hooking up with Nick Vannett for a 12-yard gain, but the next few plays netted negative yardage and put the Saints in a punting situation.

Dallas didn't have success on their opening drive, going three-and-out to start. Dak Prescott was pressured immediately and had his first pass intended to CeeDee Lamb broken up by Marcus Williams. Ezekiel Elliott couldn't find any success on 2nd Down running the ball, and Bradley Roby broke up the 3rd Down attempt.

Hill and the Saints offense went to work and had put together a pretty decent drive, highlighted by a nice play design that saw a 25-yard hookup to Lil'Jordan Humphrey. However, the drive would eventually stall out after a 3rd-and-8 deep shot to Marquez Callaway could not connect. Sean Payton sent Brett Maher in to attempt a 56-yard field goal, but it wasn't close, and it stayed scoreless at the 7:51 mark.

With a short field to work with, Dallas looked to capitalize. They picked up their first first down of the game and went into Saints territory. It'd come down to a 4th-and-1 on their drive, as Dallas gambled and ended up turning the ball over after Prescott couldn't connect with Lamb. Marcus Williams had a great stop on 3rd Down to prevent Tony Pollard from getting the first down. Unfortunately, New Orleans ran a quick three-and-out afterwards and punted the ball back to Dallas.

With 4:15 left in the opening quarter, the Cowboys put together the first points of the game, as they went on a 6-play, 80-yard drive to get into the end zone after Prescott connected with Michael Gallup from a yard out to make it 7-0 with 59 seconds left. Big plays to Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb accounted for their success.

New Orleans had a brief scare with Taysom Hill, as he was in the blue medical tent with an apparent finger issue on his throwing hand, but he ended up coming back in the lineup and hit a 27-yard strike to Juwan Johnson on the second play of their drive. 

The Saints would punch it into the end zone on the 7-play, 75-yard drive, as it ended with a 24-yard hookup from Hill to Lil'Jordan Humphrey to tie things up at 7-7 with 12:54 left until halftime. Hill also picked up a first down running the ball, and Ty Montgomery also had a big run on the drive.

The Cowboys answered with a field goal on their next drive, going 38 yards in 7 plays to cash in a Greg Zuerlein 55-yard field goal to make it 10-7 with 9:04 left until the half. Dallas started their drive with a big 21-yard pass to Lamb, and also had two 10-yard plays that helped fuel their drive despite getting a holding penalty.

The Saints ran a three-and-out on their next possession, and answered defensively by forcing a three-and-out of their own. New Orleans was able to get a sack on Prescott on 3rd-and-7 from P.J. Williams to force a punt. They'd move the ball well on their next possession, but it'd end up leading to Hill's first interception of the night, as he tried Kenny Stills in triple coverage. It was picked off by Jayron Kearse, who made an outstanding play to get the ball off the tip.

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Taking over right before the 2-minute warning, Dallas went down the field on a 12-play, 79-yard drive, but New Orleans only surrendered a 34-yard Zuerlein field goal on it. Prescott connected with Lamb on a 3rd-and-5 for 20 yards to keep things going early, and couple of penalties also helped the Cowboys keep things going. The Saints defense would tighten up eventually, and Dallas would take a holding call to push them back from the 7-yard-line.

Second Half

The Cowboys opened the third quarter with the football, and ended up going three-and-out. Pete Werner made a nice tackle for loss on the first play, a run to Ezekiel Elliott, and then Marshon Lattimore almost picked off the pass on 2nd-and-12, but limited CeeDee Lamb to just a 3-yard gain. Prescott couldn't connect with Michael Gallup on 3rd-and-9, and Dallas would punt.

New Orleans would counter with a field goal drive, as Brett Maher hit from 42 yards out to make it 13-10 with 8:26 left in the third quarter. The 11-play, 55-yard drive featured a heavy dose of Taysom Hill running, as he had 42 yards alone rushing. The Saints also got positive plays from Mark Ingram and Nick Vannett, but the drive stalled out at the Dallas 24-yard-line.

The Saints forced another three-and-out defensively, but responded with their own after a highly suspect illegal blindside block was called on Garrett Griffin to move them back. As the Cowboys took over with 5:06 left in the third, the Cowboys struck quickly on a 4-play, 71-yard drive that ended with Tony Pollard getting a 58-yard rushing touchdown to put Dallas up 20-10 with 3:55 left in the third.

New Orleans found some success on their next drive, with Taysom Hill essentially making things happen with his legs. They'd rattle off 8 plays and go 38 yards before the drive ended up stalling out after Micah Parson sacked Hill on a 3rd-and-2 play to force an 11-yard loss. The Saints would punt and give Dallas a long field to work with after Blake Gillikin and Lil'Jordan Humphrey combined for a nice special teams play.

The Cowboys would get out of the hole on the second play, as Prescott found Lamb again for a 25-yard hookup. They followed that up with gains of 9 and 10 yards, pushing the ball up to midfield before the Saints defense would force a punt. As New Orleans took over with 10:21 left in the game, they'd run another costly three-and-out, not having much urgency and tempo on the drive.

Dallas went to work with the clock and score on their side, and ended up having a costly mistake that gave New Orleans back the ball after three plays. Dak Prescott was picked off by Marshon Lattimore on a pass intended for CeeDee Lamb to give the Saints some life.

The Saints pieced together a little drive that even had them converting a pivotal 4th-and-8 to Deonte Harris a play after he bobble the 3rd Down catch. New Orleans also caught a break on a Hill pass that appeared to go to the Cowboys, but was ruled incomplete. It didn't matter, as Hill was picked off from the Dallas 32-yard-line when a Cowboys defender messed with the throw.

New Orleans would hold defensively again, forcing Dallas to punt the ball back with 5:27 left in the game. It took the Saints one play to give the ball right back to the Cowboys, as Hill was picked off a third time, this time by Trevon Diggs on a very underthrown ball.

The defense, who really had a pretty strong game aside the Tony Pollard run, gave the offense a chance again after holding Dallas to another three-and-out. Hill ended up throwing his fourth pick of the game, which was intercepted by defensive lineman Carlos Watkins and returned for a score to put the game at 27-10 with 2:52 left. 

The Saints would strike quickly on their next offensive possession, going 70 yards in 2 plays as Deonte Harris took a 5-yard Hill pass to the house to make it 27-17 with 2:32 left. Dallas would get the onside kick, as New Orleans was out of timeouts, and they'd run out the clock.

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