Saints vs. Cowboys 2012: Hard to find blame in tough loss for Dallas

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys lost on Sunday, but not because of a lack of will or effort.

The Dallas Cowboys appeared powerless to stop the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, yet somehow engineered a furious comeback that would only end in heartbreak in overtime. Trailing 31-17, Tony Romo threw two touchdown passes in the final 3:35 of regulation to tie the game, only to see the offense fizzle on the first possession of the extra frame.

The Saints quickly marched down the field and appeared to have been stopped on third down, only to have the incomplete pass ruled a fumble and recovery by New Orleans at the 2-yard line. Review upheld the ruling and the Saints quickly kicked the chip-shot game-winning field goal.

The Cowboys allowed 562 yards of total offense to the Saints, yet KD Drummond of Blogging The Boys finds it difficult to lay blame on a defense carried by practice-squad castoffs:

In the end, though, it's incredibly tough to place blame for the loss. Sure, the defense barely was able to hold the Saints down, but the Saints offense has never been one that teams normally find all the answers for. Today, the defense was unable to generate pressure. It's always next man up, but it can't be understated that Dallas played much of the game with their 5th and 6th string inside linebackers and that's the area of the field where the Saints relentlessly attacked. They were also playing Sterling Moore, Eric Frampton and Charlie Peprah in the defensive backfield and each had some tough stretches. I got tweets from fans calling for Rob Ryan's head, however no one is saying what exactly they expect him to do differently. Players don't even know which units they're in on, as there was even a play when Dallas had only 9 on the field. On third and goal.

Despite the tough loss, the Dallas Cowboys still control their own fate for the postseason. With the New York Giants losing to the Ravens, the Cowboys can win the NFC East with a win in Washington next week.

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