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Defense, offense, coaching all failed in Dallas defeat

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Here's a quick survey of what's being written about that pitiful performance that was just turned in by the Cowboys. Buck Harvey excoriates Bill Parcells, and in my opinion, rightly so. The Saints didn't do anything fancy, sure they used some players as playmakers that weren't household names - to say the least. But come on, a fullback running a pass into the flats is some kind of new trick play? Not really, but the Cowboys acted like they had never seen it before.

Put away the anointing oil, all right.

For Bill Parcells.

Parcells drew a penalty. Watched as his staff was caught napping by an onside kick. And was out-maneuvered and out-guessed by his former employee.

Sean Payton's schemes utilized Drew Brees' accuracy, as well as Reggie Bush, the second half of the Texans' draft-day botch. But his schemes also got the ball to faceless backups who were seemingly always running in open space.

Parcells naturally put this on his guys Sunday, saying this was about "execution."

But wasn't coaching the critical disparity?


I'd say it's 50-50, because the players weren't exactly making the plays when they were in position. But half the time, there was no one within 10 feet of the guy making the catch. There was so much open space I could've scored.

More Buck:

But most of it was thorough game planning, with the Saints spreading the field and waiting for spaces to clear.

Indeed. Here's his bottom line.
The Cowboys are still in position to win their division. But on this night? His players had the right to say a few things about [Parcells].

We didn't make any adjustments until late in the 2nd-half and by then the Saints just ran the ball over a demoralized and embarrassed defense.

Speaking of the defense, they completely fell apart in this game. From the DMN:

Mike Zimmer's defensive unit appeared clueless. Maybe helpless is a more apt description because the longer the game continued, the more apparent it became the Cowboys had absolutely no idea how to stop the Saints.

Parcells disagreed. Sort of. He claimed the coaches designed a game plan capable of slowing the Saints. The players, he said, failed to execute the plan, leading to the Cowboys' 42-17 loss.


Whatever the case, these numbers are for the Hall of Shame.
The Saints rolled up 536 yards, 28 first downs and six touchdowns. The Saints had touchdown drives of 63, 74, 88 and 95 yards, while keeping the ball for 37 minutes, 11 seconds. Brees passed for 384 yards and five touchdowns, and Deuce McAllister rushed for 111 yards.

Even Tony Romo, the magic man, was finally shown to be a mere mortal. Having his first real stinker of a game, he threw 2 INT's, his only TD throw should've been his third INT, and he completed less that 50% of his passes.

This was the night when Romo's magic finally wore off. The Cowboys had won five of six games since Romo replaced Drew Bledsoe as the starting quarterback, but Romo threw two interceptions and looked confused at times by the Saints' defensive sets.

"We had been playing pretty well, so we definitely didn't see this coming," said Romo, who was 16 of 33 for 249 yards.


The Cowboys didn't give him any help by going away from the running game, even though it was pretty successful early. And the offensive line had some very spotty play throughout the game.

But for me, this DMN article highlights one of the biggest problems.

OK, let's not exaggerate here. Karney and Jones were the only Saints to score their first career touchdowns. But Brees did concede that coach Sean Payton's knowledge of the Cowboys allowed the Saints to run certain routes against certain defenders. When the Cowboys rushed their outside linebackers and pressured Brees early, he adjusted by getting the ball out to Bush in the flat.

One of those resulted in a beautiful, 61-yard touchdown reception for the rookie back. He finished with six catches for 125 yards.


They threw passes into the flats to Karney and Bush over and over, and nobody was there to stop them. I'll know more when I do the film review, but the picture of Brees lobbing passes over the outstretched arms of a rushing DeMarcus Ware is seared into my brain. When the passes landed into the arms of Karney and Bush, there was no one within 5-yards to tackle them. It was embarrassing.