Dak Prescott desperately scrambled for a first down in a game of fourth-quarter keepaway, then took three knees starting from the New Orleans 1 to run out the clock by the narrowest possible margin.
Anything to keep Drew Brees and the NFL’s highest-scoring offense on the sideline.
Ezekiel Elliott scored the only Dallas touchdown on a 16-yard screen pass and the Cowboys stifled Brees and the Saints, ending New Orleans’ 10-game winning streak with a 13-10 victory Thursday night.
The Cowboys (7-5) won their fourth consecutive game and assured they will at least remain tied for the NFC East lead.
The Saints (10-2) were shut out in the first half, had their fewest points in three years and finished with a season-low 176 yards. They missed a chance to perfectly match Dallas from two years ago, when then-rookie sensations Elliott and Prescott won 11 straight after dropping the opener.
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“Everybody knew it. We had to keep the ball away from Brees,” Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said. “We needed to play this kind of game. I must tell you, the defense played beyond my expectations. They played like a championship defense.”
Brees had his fewest yards passing in a first half since joining the Saints in 2006 with 39, and couldn’t get a potential winning drive going in the final minutes.
The Cowboys spent the fourth quarter trying to protect their three-point lead, with Prescott breaking several tackles on an 11-yard scramble on third-and-10 and Cole Beasley catching a third-down pass and diving for 5 yards on third-and-5.
But Prescott fumbled on his season-high seventh sack with Dallas in position for at least a field goal, giving Brees another chance from his 15 with more than two minutes remaining.
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