Dallas Defense Never Rests
by Kelly Bell
Few saw it coming. It was supposed to be more one-sided than a flounder. When New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and his high-flying, league-leading offense touched down in Dallas almost everyone figured it was for another day at the races for this magnificent, 39-year-old signal caller who has been playing like a man ten years his junior. Indeed, riding a ten-game winning streak these Crescent City athletes had earned popular recognition as the best team in the 2018 National Football League as Brees brilliantly directed a turbocharge that has left a long list of opponents flopping in the dust. Quickly, though, it became apparent something was wrong.
An early goal line stand by the youthful Dallas Cowboy defense, turned the visitors away scoreless and sobered. The Pokes spent all of the opening two quarters putting on a defensive clinic as they accomplished something no one had managed for four years–it held New Orleans scoreless in the first half. In fact, in the opening period the dreaded Brees-led attack managed a total of only 16 yards against the fired-up, resolute first- and second-year players so determined to rebound from a dismal first half of the season. By game’s end Brees had managed a paltry 127 passing yards.
Despite an offense that scored just 13 of its own points and was plagued by turnovers and penalties, the Dallas defense repeatedly stymied New Orleans’ attempts to capitalize on the Cowboy miscues. When Brees threw an interception at the two-minute warning to secure the 13-10 Cowboy victory, former Dallas Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irving flew into a sideline celebration the Pokes’ cheerleaders could not match. Tens of thousands of fans quickly followed Michael’s animated example, spilling onto the field to boisterously savor their team’s biggest win in years. The implications are clear–since the Cowboys can beat the Saints, they can beat anybody. Still, they are taking nothing for granted. In a post-game interview Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott made this clear.
“It was a great win, but we’ve still got a lot to do,” he said.
Sure enough, the four-game winning streak has improved the Cowboys’ record to 7-5 and earned them first place in the National Football Conference’s Eastern Division, but this does not erase the potential implications of the five early-season losses. Since the Boys have their eyes on the Super Bowl, they must play each of their remaining four regular season games like it is the Super Bowl, which is precisely what they did Thursday night.