The most critical statistic of them all from yesterday’s 49-17 blowout win for the New Orleans Saints over the Dallas Cowboys was the final score, but there’s obviously a lot more to a football game than the score (contrary to what my father believes). Below are some interesting statistics I saw that help give some context to the Saints dominant performance.
1. First of all, let’s take a look at the line Drew Brees put up. He completed 34 of 41 passes for 392 yards, which leads to an excellent 139.0 QB Rating and 9.6 yards per attempt. Brees tossed four touchdowns passes to no interceptions, and he was simply far too good for the Cowboys pass defense to handle. When Sean Lee went down, the middle of the field became a disaster zone for the Dallas Cowboys, and Brees certainly knows how to pick apart inferior defenses. He decimated Dallas, an the only Saints pass-catcher to have more than one incomplete pass thrown at him was backup tight end Benjamin Watson.
2. The Cowboys pass defense wasn’t the only thing that got torched in this one, as the run defense was absolutely helpless against the two-headed monster of Pierre Thomas and….Mark Ingram. Yes, Mark Ingram, the former Heisman trophy winner turned bust. Ingram played out of his mind with 145 rushing yards on just 14 carries for an average of 10.4 yards per carry, and quite a bit of credit for that performance goes to a terrible Cowboys defense. What else could they have expected with Jason Hatcher out and Ernie Sims playing for Lee for most of the game? Yes, Ernie Sims, one of the biggest busts in recent memory. Thomas had 17 attempts and 87 rushing yards in total, and all three of Darren Sproles, Thomas, and Ingram had a rushing touchdown.
3. With Jimmy Graham receiving limited snaps, it was finally the Marques Colston show again for the New Orleans Saints, and I always love watching Brees and Colston hook up. Colston is the Saints best wide receiver in franchise history statistically, and they’ve had some great ones (like Joe Horn). Seven receptions, 107 yards, and a touchdown on just eight targets; that’s the line Colston produced. Oklahoma rookie Kenny Stills continues to make huge plays, as he reeled off 75 receiving yards on just three receptions, with the majority coming off of a 52-yard TD pass from Brees.
4. While the Dallas Cowboys were only able to run 43 plays, the New Orleans Saints were able to run 80. While the Cowboys had just nine first downs, the Saints set a record with 40. Want to hear something else? The Saints converted 9-12 third downs, whereas the Cowboys had a 0% conversion rate on third downs. Yes, they went 0-9 in those situations, and their offense was almost as inept as their defense.
5. DeMarco Murray was the only saving grace for the Cowboys offense, and it bothers me when people sling mud at him; he’s a very good feature back in this league. The Cowboys only ran the ball with Murray in this game, and he rewarded them by putting forth an excellent display. Murray had 89 rushing yards and a touchdown on 16 carries, and he continues to be a huge key for this offense.
6. Jabari Greer turned back the clock to the days when the veteran CB was once one of the NFL’s premier lockdown corner. He locked down the Cowboys to the tune of three passes defended (not a total to sneeze at, that’s for sure), and he made up for allowing a 21-yard touchdown to Terrance Williams by defending those passes.
7. At least Cowboys punter Chris Jones can hold his head high after the loss, as he averaged 50.4 yards per punt and pinned the Saints inside the twenty on four occasions. That 50% rate is excellent, and he had to punt the ball a total of eight times; he made them count.