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Week 4 Game Recap: Dallas Cowboys 10, New Orleans Saints 12


What you need to know

Dallas Cowboys

The NFC showdown with the Saints turned into a defensive-minded slugfest as Dallas lost the nip-and-tuck contest. Big plays eluded the Dallas offense and typical playmakers Ezekiel Elliott and Amari Cooper posted pedestrian games as Dallas mired to the tune of 10 points. Despite the struggles, Dallas had a chance to win the game with a final drive but fell short at midfield. After a strong three-game stretch to open the season, Dak Prescott fell to earth without a touchdown and was a non-factor as a rusher. Dallas will look to rebound against the Packers in another headlining NFC matchup in Week 5.

New Orleans Saints

It was not pretty, but the Saints moved to 3-1 on the season after escaping at home against Dallas. The defense stepped up when needed and held Dallas to just 10 points as the offense fell flat and could only muster 4 field goals this week. Teddy Bridgewater was sacked 5 times and threw an interception on the first offensive drive of the game for the Saints. Dallas held Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas in check this week, but the offense was able to move the ball just enough to get the field goals they needed. The defense forced 2 fumbles and came up with a big interception on the final play of the game to seal the win. New Orleans has looked dysfunctional on offense since losing Brees, but now have 2 wins with Bridgewater starting. The Saints take on Tampa Bay at home in week 5 and will need a much better showing on offense after the Buccaneers hung 55 points on the Rams this weekend.

Dallas Cowboys

QB Dak Prescott, 58 offensive snaps, Pass: 22 - 33 - 223 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - 7 - 0
Prescott faced a stiff Saints defense and failed to produce impact plays for the first time this season. Prescott was a non-factor on the ground and made only a handful of quality throws. Prescott did find Jason Witten on a deep out as Prescott was hit and delivered a perfect seam pass to Blake Jarwin for more than 30 yards. Down by two points, Prescott had a two-minute drive to win the game but took a critical sack to start the drive and sap the clock, limiting Dallas to a last gasp Hail Mary throw, which was intercepted, from midfield.

RB Ezekiel Elliott, 56 offensive snaps, Rush: 18 - 35 - 1, Rec: 6 - 30 - 0 (7 targets)
Elliott had his typical workhorse volume but produced minimal results against the stout New Orleans defense. Backup Tony Pollard barely saw the field as Elliott collected his 24 touches and a season-high six receptions, including a one-handed catch. Elliott converted a key fourth-and-one carry but fumbled as he landed, a huge turnover considering both teams’ limited scoring opportunities in the game. Elliott salvaged a goal line touchdown in an otherwise muted performance.

WR Amari Cooper, 56 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 48 - 0 (8 targets)
Cooper led Dallas in targets against the Saints but struggled to make more positive plays than negative ones in the road loss. Cooper was limited to short completions and minimal yards-after-the-catch chances outside of a deep comeback route in the final minute of the game. Cooper added two offensive pass interference penalty to his ledger, including one which wiped off a promising completion. Cooper will face his toughest test of the season in Week 5 against the Packers.

WR Randall Cobb, 47 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 41 - 0 (6 targets)
With Michael Gallup still out of the lineup, Randall Cobb assumed the secondary role to Amari Cooper against the Saints. Cobb saw a moderate six targets with his biggest play coming in the final seconds down the seam as Dallas set up a last gasp heave into the end zone from midfield. Cobb also added a critical third-down drop late in the game. Cobb has largely been outplayed by the Dallas tight ends (Jason Witten, Blake Jarwin) in the opening month of the season for interior passing game work.

TE Jason Witten, 46 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 50 - 0 (4 targets)
Witten posted another solid performance on an eerily consistent four targets for the fourth straight game this season. Witten logged two quality catches – one on a deep out as Dak Prescott was being hit and another low grab – but also lost a fumble following a chunk gain against the Saints. Witten has been a moderate surprise producer over the opening month for Dallas especially with his regular big plays, an element which evaporated from his game prior to his year away from football in 2018.

TE Blake Jarwin, 17 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 49 - 0 (3 targets)
Jarwin has been one of the more active secondary tight ends in the NFL through the opening month and saw another promising three targets against New Orleans. Jarwin’s main contribution was a perfect seam throw from Dak Prescott as Jarwin rumbled down to the goal line. Jarwin has shown big-play ability if his role increases with an absence by Jason Witten going forward.


New Orleans Saints

QB Teddy Bridgewater, 69 offensive snaps, Pass: 23 - 30 - 193 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 3 - 8 - 0
It was not pretty, but the Saints moved to 3-1 on the season after escaping at home against Dallas. The defense stepped up when needed and held Dallas to just 10 points as the offense fell flat and could only muster 4 field goals this week. Teddy Bridgewater was sacked 5 times and threw an interception on the first offensive drive of the game for the Saints. Dallas held Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas in check this week, but the offense was able to move the ball just enough to get the field goals they needed. The defense forced 2 fumbles and came up with a big interception on the final play of the game to seal the win. New Orleans has looked dysfunctional on offense since losing Brees, but now have 2 wins with Bridgewater starting. The Saints take on Tampa Bay at home in week 5 and will need a much better showing on offense after the Buccaneers hung 55 points on the Rams this weekend.

QB Taysom Hill, 6 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 16 - 0
The Saints still have not used Hill in a passing situation under center and he did not register a single target in the offense this week. Hill accounted for the longest run on the ground when he took the ball off the right end for 18 yards and ran over a Dallas defender in the process. His only other carry went for -2 yards and it is clear to see that the Saints do not want him throwing the ball right now. Bridgewater targeted other Saints tight ends 10 times this week and Hill had a very quiet day. For being one of the most athletic guys on the team, the Saints do not seem to want to feature Hill in the offense outside of a few plays a game.

RB Alvin Kamara, 55 offensive snaps, Rush: 17 - 69 - 0, Rec: 3 - 20 - 0 (3 targets)
It was not a great week for Kamara as he failed to surpass 100 total yards this week. The Saints offense was out of sync and there were no explosive of big plays from anyone. Kamara had a long run of 13 yards on the ground and saw the ball spread around the offense more than in recent weeks. He carried the ball 17 times and other players had 10 carries. Taysom Hill had the longest run on the ground from the wild cat, and Kamara's never got a chance down around the goal line to punch in a touchdown. He caught all 3 of his targets this week but was covered by Dallas very well. Michael Thomas, Josh Hill, Jared Cook, and Ted Ginn all saw more targets in the passing game this week and the Saints did not utilize one of their best weapons out of the back field. Kamara has a great matchup next week against a Tampa Bay defense that gave up multiple touchdown to Todd Gurley and this week's game will be a distant memory.

RB Latavius Murray, 18 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 14 - 0, Rec: 1 - 6 - 0 (1 targets)
It was not a great week for Kamara as he failed to surpass 100 total yards this week. The Saints offense was out of sync and there were no explosive of big plays from anyone. Kamara had a long run of 13 yards on the ground and saw the ball spread around the offense more than in recent weeks. He carried the ball 17 times and other players had 10 carries. Taysom Hill had the longest run on the ground from the wild cat, and Kamara's never got a chance down around the goal line to punch in a touchdown. He caught all 3 of his targets this week but was covered by Dallas very well. Michael Thomas, Josh Hill, Jared Cook, and Ted Ginn all saw more targets in the passing game this week and the Saints did not utilize one of their best weapons out of the back field. Kamara has a great matchup next week against a Tampa Bay defense that gave up multiple touchdown to Todd Gurley and this week's game will be a distant memory.

WR Michael Thomas, 69 offensive snaps, Rec: 9 - 95 - 0 (9 targets)
Thomas was the only player who saw his normal volume this week and was able to do something with it. He caught all 9 of his targets and helped Bridgewater move the chains and get into field goal range for the Saints. His longest catch went for 20 yards and he fell just short of 100 yards for the game. Thomas has taken a hit since Brees was lost to injury but not nearly as much as other players in the offense. Ted Ginn continues to struggle on the other side and there is no clear 3rd receiver to push Thomas for targets. Thomas should see a fair amount of volume against Tampa next week and should project out to 100 yards and a touchdown.

WR Ted Ginn, 50 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 19 - 0 (5 targets)
It was another disappointing game for Ginn this week. He caught just 3 of his 5 targets for less than 20 yards and cost the team an interception on the first offensive drive of the game. Bridgewater escaped the pressure and rolled to his right before throwing a dart down the field to Ginn who was open. The ball bounced off his chest and he was hit in the back before he could adjust and make the catch. The ball fell right into the arms of a Dallas defender before he fell out of bounds and the tone was set for the offense the rest of the game. Ginn has not been the big play threat he has been in the past this year and has not seen any significant volume since Brees went down with an injury. The Saints do not have a 3rd receiver that is going to push Ginn for targets at the moment, but he will see his numbers continue to decrease if someone else can step up in the offense.

TE Jared Cook, 40 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 21 - 0 (6 targets)
This was the week of the tight end with the Saints throwing over 1/3 of their passes to the position. Unfortunately, Cook only caught 3 of his 6 targets and continues to struggle in the offense. His longest catch of the night went for 9 yards and he was out played by Josh Hill on the other side. Hill is normally a blocking tight end and has no business surpassing Cook in receiving yards. Cook has struggled in this offense both with and without Brees. If the Saints ever commit to using Taysom Hill at a single position, Cook could lose all of his value at tight end. He is going to need a big game in the coming weeks to regain trust in the Saints offense.