Dallas Cowboys: Studs and duds vs. Saints in Week 4

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - SEPTEMBER 29: Jason Witten #82 of the Dallas Cowboys stripped of the ball by A.J. Klein #53 of the New Orleans Saints during the first half of a NFL game at the Mercedes Benz Superdome on September 29, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - SEPTEMBER 29: Jason Witten #82 of the Dallas Cowboys stripped of the ball by A.J. Klein #53 of the New Orleans Saints during the first half of a NFL game at the Mercedes Benz Superdome on September 29, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /
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NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – SEPTEMBER 29: Robert Quinn #58 of the Dallas Cowboys reacts with Jaylon Smith #54 of the Dallas Cowboys after a sack during the second half of a NFL game against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes Benz Superdome on September 29, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – SEPTEMBER 29: Robert Quinn #58 of the Dallas Cowboys reacts with Jaylon Smith #54 of the Dallas Cowboys after a sack during the second half of a NFL game against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes Benz Superdome on September 29, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

Stud: Jaylon Smith

Had Dallas been able to save their timeouts for their final possession, things may have been different. Unfortunately, they had to use them all to even get a shot at the miracle comeback — something they were able to try for in large part thanks to Jaylon Smith.

Right now, Smith and Leighton Vander Esch make up one of the most impressive linebacker duos in the NFL and both were on top of their game Sunday. Smith was second in the team behind LVE with nine tackles and he added a sack, which gave Dallas their shot to try and win.

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With the Saints at the Cowboys 31, Bridgewater went back to pass and inexcusably ran backward. That led to Smith being able to track him down and sack him for a loss of 16 yards. More importantly, it put the Saints out of field goal range and they had to punt.

They couldn’t close the deal but Smith did his part and deserves some praise for that.

Dud: Ezekiel Elliott

Two-time NFL rushing leader Ezekiel Elliott has had a good start to the season but this game was by far one of the worst of his career. He wasn’t able to get anything going and finished with less than two yards per attempt. In all, he had 35 yards rushing on 18 attempts — with a long of six.

He also cost the Cowboys a chance at points, while giving the Saints three just before the half. With just over 1:30 to go in the second, the Cowboys went for it on fourth-and-one at their own 43.

It was a risky call, but Zeke found enough space to get two yards but he fumbled the ball at the end of the play allowing New Orleans to increase their lead to 9-3 just before the break.

Of course, those who saw the game know that Elliot’s elbow was down before the ball came out and the play should have been overturned. However, that could have been avoided had he secured the ball better on this critical down.