Cowboys Week 13 vs. Saints: The good, bad, and ugly

Dallas Cowboys, Michael Gallup (Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports)
Dallas Cowboys, Michael Gallup (Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Dallas Cowboys, Carlos Watkins
Dallas Cowboys Carlos Watkins Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports /

15. Final. 27. 123. 17

Thursday night concluded a whirlwind 12-day stretch in which the Dallas Cowboys were forced to play three games. Suffice to say this has been one of the most trying times in recent memory for this franchise.

After losing back-to-back games to Kansas City and Las Vegas, the Cowboys headed to New Orleans without five coaches, including head coach Mike McCarthy and two players due to COVID. Desperately needing a win to end their slide and head into a mini-break with some positivity, the Cowboys earned that exact outcome.

Whether or not the game was visually aesthetic did not matter, the result was precisely what Dallas needed. Even more so, the Cowboys should get back the entire coaching staff and even more reinforcements as they head into the final five games of the season.

Before we look forward to next week’s divisional matchup against Washington, however, let’s take one last look at the final Thursday night game of the season and assess the good, the bad, and the ugly from a 27-17 in the Big Easy.

Cowboys vs Saints: The good

While the offense continues to struggle (we’ll get to that soon), the defense finds ways to keep this team in games. On this night, the defense arguably straight-up won it for the Cowboys. With defensive end Demarcus Lawrence coming back from injury, the pass rush looked lively.

Lawrence was credited with six pressures Thursday night, while the team hit Saints quarterback Taysom Hill six times, sacking him twice. The steady stream of stress successfully caused havoc with the Saints’ passing game as Hill had 22 incompletions, including four interceptions.

One of those interceptions was registered by defensive tackle Carlos Watkins who returned it 29 yards for the score. Trevon Diggs added another which also added to his league-leading total of nine and if you remove the garbage-time 70-yard score, the Saints’ passing game would have been held to under 200 yards.

Of course, linebacker Micah Parsons had yet another phenomenal performance and safety Jayron Kearse continued his stellar play which all propelled this team to victory. With defensive tackle Neville Gallimore, along with end Randy Gregory likely to return, this defense could start to become something special as the season runs down and the playoffs start.