September 25, 2019 / 10:18 PM / 2 months ago

This time, Cowboys bring firepower in duel with Saints

The New Orleans Saints rolled into Dallas last November on a 10-game winning streak, averaging nearly 37 points per game during the run.

FILE PHOTO: Sep 22, 2019; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten (82) runs with the ball after making a catch in the first quarter against the Miami Dolphins at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Then the Cowboys’ defense held the Saints to a season-low point total and ended the streak with a 13-10 victory.

When these two teams meet again Sunday night in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, the Dallas offense figures to be the bigger concern for New Orleans.

Dallas is 3-0 for the first time in 11 seasons after scoring 30-plus points and totaling 400-plus yards in each game. The Cowboys have scored only four fewer points than the Kansas City Chiefs.

Dak Prescott’s passer rating is second only to the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes among quarterbacks who have started all three games.

Prescott and the offense have been at their best in the third quarter, something the players attributed to the halftime adjustments made by first-year coordinator Kellen Moore.

“Our ability to process what’s keeping us back and then getting it fixed and seeing that transfer over to success, it doesn’t always happen within games,” tight end Jason Witten told reporters recently. “I think we’ve done a good job of that.”

Prescott has completed all 22 of his third-quarter passes for 384 yards and three touchdowns.

“That’s a crazy stat,” Witten said of Prescott’s third-quarter completion percentage.

Prescott has completions of 20, 22, 25, 33, 45 and 62 yards as Dallas has outscored its opponents 35-10 in the third quarter on its way to an average margin of victory of 17 points.

Ezekiel Elliott has rushed for 100 yards in each of the last two games, and rookie Tony Pollard joined him against Miami last week. Elliott rushed for 125 yards on 19 carries, and Pollard had 103 on 13 carries.

“Any time you’re 3-0, obviously it’s a great feeling, but forget the record,” Prescott said. “This team can be really good, and we have to focus on that and how we get there. It’s about taking that next step.”

The Saints (2-1) took a good first step in their first full game since Drew Brees underwent thumb surgery that is expected to sideline him for about six weeks.

Teddy Bridgewater completed 19 of 27 passes for 177 yards and two touchdowns in a 33-27 victory at Seattle.

Alvin Kamara had a touchdown run and a touchdown catch, and Michael Thomas caught the other scoring pass.

“We understand the playmakers that we have,” Saints tackle Terron Armstead said, “and we just try to give those guys a chance.”

Vonn Bell added a 33-yard fumble return, and rookie Deonte Harris a 53-yard punt return for two more touchdowns as all three phases stepped up in Brees’ absence.

“It was huge for us,” Armstead said of the non-offensive touchdowns. “That’s how we had the win that game and this week we’ve just got to find a way to win this game. It can go a lot of different ways, but I think that the great thing about our team is that we have a lot of different ways we can win.”

New Orleans gave up 515 yards, but many of those came as Russell Wilson desperately tried to pass the Seahawks back into a game they trailed by multiple touchdowns for most of the second half.

As well as the Saints played against Seattle, they know the challenge without Brees remains stiff, especially against the Cowboys.

“We’re extremely focused on Dallas,” Armstead said. “They have a great team, a complete team. It’s going to be a tough one. Should be a fun Sunday Night game, but we’ll have our plan together and be ready for them.”

—Field Level Media

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