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Sunday, December 10, 2006


What else can you say? I've covered several Saints and Cowboys games this season and Sunday's outcome was flat out unbelievable. I like the Saints. I'm glad for the Saints and the people of New Orleans, but this season is just too much to comprehend. Completely dismantling the Cowboys on national television will no longer allow the Saints to go unnoticed. They are now in line for a bye. Yes, folks, a playoff bye in the NFC. Just crazy. As for the Cowboys, don't count them out just yet. They are a good team that just ran into destiny tonight. And for once this fall, it wasnt on the Cowboys' side.

Thank you Patrick Netherton ...
who just sent me a text that said, "Peyton beats Blanco easily in the next election."

Are you freaking kidding me?
Tony Romo throws a ball directly into the arms of Saints cornerback Fred Thomas on fourth-and-forever and Thomas bumbles the ball like a school kid. The ball deflects into the arms of Terrell Owens, who walks into the end zone to cut the New Orleans lead to 28-17.
If the Saints somehow implode, this play will go down in Saints' history.

Joel Anderson, where ya at?
Reggie Bush -- we all know this guy -- does it again. 61 yards after hauling in a screen pass, the rookie from USC headed to the house.
It's all Saints all the time.

Romo not sharp by any stretch
The Cowboys QB tried to throw an interception (twice) in the end zone. Luckily for him and Dallas, the Saints weren't able to hang on and Martin Gramatica cuts the lead to 21-10 with 11:26 left in the third.

Who the hell are these guys?
Mike Karney scores the first two touchdowns of his NFL career. Jamal Jones the first. Huh. The Saints have brought these guys out of obscurity and into the spotlight to take a 21-7 halftime lead.

Officials tonight are less than stellar
One member of the media quipped, "the officials should have taken a nap." The debacle is going both ways.

Non-call a huge break for Dallas
The Cowboys catch a break when Miles Austin hauls punt returner Reggie Bush down inside the 5-yard line by his facemask.
The officials somehow miss this and New Orleans starts at its 5.

Payton abusing Cowboys' defense
Yes the Saints are executing, but the play calling is downright masterful to this point. No one would have predicted Mike Karney being called on to be the difference maker in this game.
So far, with two touchdowns, he is.

Romo makes game's first blunder
Dallas QB Tony Romo casually launched a pass downfield toward Terry Glenn early in the second quarter. Unfortunately, Omar Stoutmire was there and Romo obviously didn't see him.
Not sure how. Every team has a safety and he's wearing black. Cowboys have white on.

Payton ... GENIUS!
The Saints spread the field and then watch Mike Karney waltz in the end zone up the middle. Great play call. Cowboys did have Reggie Bush smothered though. Is that any consolation?

Big play here
Third-and-goal at the 3. Brees calls timeout. Look for sort of play-action or stretch play. Halfback pass?

Dallas defense stammering
Sean Peyton looks likes a genius on this drive. Every play is working. The last double-pump dump over the middle to tight end Mark Campbell brings the fleur-de-lis inside the 10.

Razzle dazzle
A couple big plays to Karney and Bush brought the Saints to a 4th-and-1 inside Dallas territory. Devery Henderson takes the reverse for the first down.

Perfect example of Bush as a decoy
On first down of the Saints' drive midway through the first quarter, Reggie Bush came out of the backfield to the left and it appeared Brees would look his way. Once the Cowboys' corner, Terence Newman, committed to Bush, Brees dumped it over the middle to fullback Mike Karney for a 9-yard gain.
Two plays later, the Saints did the same thing to the right. This time Brees hit Bush for a 13-yard gain.
Bush won't pound it down your throat 8 yards at a time, but he does alter a football game.

Dallas sputters on second drive
Romo hits tight end Jason Witten for a big gain, but the drive soon stalls. For now, New Orleans has collected itself.

Julius Jones found a way to score. He is replaced by Marion Barber III in the red zone and only had three scores on the ground heading into Sunday. On the Cowboys' second play, the Notre Dame product rumbled 77 yards for a touchdown. It was the fifth-longest touchdown run in Cowboys' history and the longest of Jones' career.

Ware gets to Brees already
DeMarcus Ware sacks Saints QB Drew Brees on New Orleans' third play from scrimmage.
On third-and-17, Brees hits Reggie Bush over the middle for an 8-yard pickup.
Bush tried the shake-n-bake on Dallas cornerback Terence Newman, but the Kansas State product made a beautiful form tackle on the rookie from USC.
Edge to Dallas' defense early.

New Orleans rookie phenom Marques Colston, the seventh-round gem, will play tonight. He missed the past three games with an ankle injury.

This game just got bigger ...
The Seattle Seahawks fell to the Arizona Cardinals this afternoon. Therefore, the Saints-Cowboys game is for SOLE possession of second place in the NFC. Second place gets that all-important bye week.
Wow. Huge, huge game.

Keys to Cowboys' victory
1. Run defense
Dallas has a solid defense, but the only way I think the Saints can win this game is if Deuce McAllister and Reggie Bush go off. New Orleans is without Joe Horn.
Late word is that Marques Colston will play, so that's encouraging news for Saints fans.
That Saints' receiving corps still is a bit thin. Sooner or later, that has to hurt. It will be sooner.
Let Drew Brees throw all day. I don't think they can outscore you with Devery Henderson and Terrance Copper on the outside.

2. Eyes on Bush
Pretty much a given. In a tight game, Reggie Bush is going to have the ability to change the outcome with one of his special moments. Dallas must do everything possible to shadow this kid.

3. Romo avoids the big mistake
Dallas' offense is balanced. it can be efficient or deadly, depending on the situation. Romo must not give a suspect Saints defense any momentum or reason to think they are going to take the Texas Stadium crowd out of this game.

Dallas wins. And I hate to say it, but this could be pretty dominating.

Welcome to Texas Stadium!
We are three hours from kickoff and there's an ugly green tarp on the field. The light rain is hardly menacing. Kudos to Times' writer Brian Vernellis, who pulled off a move Mario Andretti would be thrilled with on I-20.
Vernellis maneuvered his SUV around a pack of dogs that sprinted into the middle of the highway, avoided the ditch and kept us going toward the Metroplex this afternoon. WHEW.
Thanks BV!


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