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Dak Prescott, Cowboys Bounce Back with Win over Taysom Hill, Saints on TNF

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVDecember 3, 2021

AP Photo/Brett Duke

The Dallas Cowboys got the win they needed as the season enters the stretch run.

Dallas defeated the New Orleans Saints 27-17 in Thursday's NFC showdown at Caesars Superdome. Tony Pollard's long run and the defense led the way for the victors, who improved to 8-4 by snapping a two-game losing streak and rough stretch that saw them go 1-3 in the previous four weeks.

FOX Sports: NFL @NFLonFOX

How bout them Cowboys!?<br><br>The <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DallasCowboys?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#DallasCowboys</a> get back into the win column with a <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TNFonFOX?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TNFonFOX</a> victory on the road over the Saints! <a href="https://t.co/Iy7xNK6uK5">pic.twitter.com/Iy7xNK6uK5</a>

They are still comfortably ahead of the 5-6 Washington Football Team in the NFC East.

Taysom Hill threw two touchdowns but also had four interceptions for the Saints, who dropped to 5-7 with their fifth consecutive loss and missed an opportunity to move into the final NFC wild-card spot with a win.


Notable Player Stats

  • Dak Prescott, QB, DAL: 26-of-40 passing for 238 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
  • Tony Pollard, RB, DAL: 7 carries for 71 yards, 1 TD
  • Taysom Hill, QB, NO: 19-of-41 passing for 264 yards, 2 TDs, 4 INTs; 11 carries for 101 yards
  • Deonte Harris, WR, NO: 4 catches for 96 yards, 1 TD

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Timely Plays Enough for Cowboys Offense

There was certainly reason for concern from Dallas' perspective coming into Thursday's matchup given its recent struggles, but it received welcome news prior to kickoff with the return of pass-rusher DeMarcus Lawrence and wide receivers CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper.

While Cooper didn't play much in the early going, he and his fellow wide receivers made quite the impact on the visitors' only touchdown drive of the first half.

Cooper hauled in a long pass across the middle, Lamb took a short pass and exploded through the Saints secondary to the 1-yard line, and Michael Gallup made an incredible catch in the end zone on a fade route.

B/R Gridiron @brgridiron

CeeDee Lamb. WHOOP.<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/NFL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFL</a>)<a href="https://t.co/tBr7TVlPmk">pic.twitter.com/tBr7TVlPmk</a>

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Michael Gallup WHAT A CATCH<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/NFL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFL</a>)<a href="https://t.co/UvUOsoGGyl">pic.twitter.com/UvUOsoGGyl</a>

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Theres goes Tony Pollard πŸƒβ€β™‚οΈπŸ’¨<br><br>Down the sideline for a 58-yard touchdown! <a href="https://twitter.com/Tp__5?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Tp__5</a> <br><br>πŸ“Ί: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DALvsNO?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#DALvsNO</a> on NFLN/FOX/PRIME VIDEO<br>πŸ“±: <a href="https://t.co/LMzEctbvnL">https://t.co/LMzEctbvnL</a> <a href="https://t.co/a997wSA6QS">pic.twitter.com/a997wSA6QS</a>

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Lattimore said GIMME THAT! <a href="https://twitter.com/Saints?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Saints</a> have the ball in Cowboys territory.<br><br>πŸ“Ί: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DALvsNO?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#DALvsNO</a> on NFLN/FOX/PRIME VIDEO<br>πŸ“±: <a href="https://t.co/LMzEctbvnL">https://t.co/LMzEctbvnL</a> <a href="https://t.co/EB6F3Z3XZ6">pic.twitter.com/EB6F3Z3XZ6</a>

It was a reminder of just how dangerous the Cowboys can be with all their playmakers, even though the offense largely stalled outside of that before intermission with field goals, punts and a turnover on downs that saw Prescott miss Lamb on a fourth-down pass.

Some of the struggles continued into the second half when Dallas attempted to establish the run, but that changed in dramatic fashion late in the third quarter when Tony Pollard exploded through the line on a toss play and outran Marcus Williams to the corner of the end zone for a 58-yard touchdown to create some much-needed breathing room.

It proved to be all the more important as the offense was nonexistent in the fourth quarter. Prescott threw an interception to Marshon Lattimore on one possession and two ill-advised incompletions while attempting to run out the clock on another.

Frankly, the offense didn't need to do much outside of the Pollard run and Gallup catch because the Dallas defense was in full control.


Taysom Hill's Limitations as a Passer Hold Back Saints

The Saints needed a change, and they made one Thursday.

This season has unraveled after Jameis Winston suffered a torn ACL, and the 5-2 start seems like a distant memory at this point. Trevor Siemian went 0-4 as a starter in Winston's place, so New Orleans turned to Taysom Hill under center in an effort to provide a spark to an offense that is sorely missing Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas.

There were some sparks, such as when Hill found Lil'Jordan Humphrey for a touchdown in the first half and hurdled a defender as a runner in the second half. Still, there weren't many as the offense was abysmal for much of the game with a quarterback who was not a true threat to consistently find receivers downfield.

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Tipped and PICKED. Damontae Kazee has it for the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DallasCowboys?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#DallasCowboys</a>!<br><br>πŸ“Ί: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DALvsNO?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#DALvsNO</a> on NFLN/FOX/PRIME VIDEO<br>πŸ“±: <a href="https://t.co/LMzEctbvnL">https://t.co/LMzEctbvnL</a> <a href="https://t.co/fZltrwtZJr">pic.twitter.com/fZltrwtZJr</a>

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BIG MAN PICK-SIX.<br><br>Taysom Hill has 4 INTs 😬<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/NFL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFL</a>)<a href="https://t.co/mMK8X9KKcC">pic.twitter.com/mMK8X9KKcC</a>

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10th sack of the season for rookie <a href="https://twitter.com/MicahhParsons11?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MicahhParsons11</a>! 😀 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DallasCowboys?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#DallasCowboys</a><br><br>πŸ“Ί: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DALvsNO?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#DALvsNO</a> on NFLN/FOX/PRIME VIDEO<br>πŸ“±: <a href="https://t.co/LMzEctbvnL">https://t.co/LMzEctbvnL</a> <a href="https://t.co/rbJmbvMoOv">pic.twitter.com/rbJmbvMoOv</a>

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TAYSOM HILL 😱<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/NFL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFL</a>)<a href="https://t.co/I0kGksCAnq">pic.twitter.com/I0kGksCAnq</a>

Hill impressed with his legs, which is what he does best, but his mistakes proved to be the bigger storyline.

He threw an interception to Jayron Kearse, who made an acrobatic play along the sidelines, to end a promising drive. He threw another to Damontae Kazee in the fourth quarter in Dallas territory when the Saints were in comeback mode. 

It got even worse with interceptions to Trevon Diggs and Carlos Watkins on the next two possessions, the second of which was returned for a touchdown. Even his runs were too predictable at times, especially when Micah Parsons chased him down in the backfield for a monster sack on a key third down in the fourth quarter.

While the BYU product can be a dangerous weapon when used in certain packages, his decision-making limits his upside as a quarterback. That was on full display as the Saints managed just ten points in an ugly second half.                 


What's Next?

Both teams are on the road in Week 14 when the Cowboys face the Washington Football Team and the Saints play the New York Jets.

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