Drew Brees threw his 400th career touchdown pass to C.J. Spiller in overtime to give the New Orleans Saints a 26-20 overtime victory over the Dallas Cowboys Sunday night.
On the second play of overtime, Spiller ran a fly route down the right sideline and Brees hit him in stride for the score.
Dallas was playing without Tony Romo (collarbone) and Dez Bryant (foot), then lost running back/kick returner Lance Dunbar to a knee injury sustained on the second-half kickoff.
The Cowboys took a quick 3-0 lead on a drive set up by Lance Dunbar's 45-yard run, but Drew Brees answered with the 399th touchdown pass of his career, hitting tight end Josh Hill on a 3-yard score. Joseph Randle gave Dallas a 10-7 lead in the second quarter, diving over from one yard out and holding the ball just long enough to break the plane of the goal line before it was knocked away.
Dallas lost linebacker Sean Lee to a first-half concussion, but were still able to keep New Orleans out of the end zone on two third-quarter possessions deep onto Cowboys territory. The Saints kicked two field goals, sandwiched around a 38-yarder by Dan Bailey.
That made it 13-13 going into the fourth quarter, but with Saints punter Thomas Morstead nursing a quadriceps injury, Brees converted a 4th-and-1 at the Cowboys 45 with 10:07 to play. Four plays later, Mark Ingram pushed through two Dallas tacklers to apparently score the go-ahead touchdown, but a replay review ruled his butt had touched inches short of the end zone.
Khiry Robinson dove over on the next play, making it 20-13 with 7:58 to play, and the Cowboys went three-and-out on the ensuing drive. Dallas forced a punt with 4:12 to play, but Hocker's first career punt resulted in a fair catch at the 9. That meant Weeden was going to have to take the Cowboys 91 yards for a tying touchdown.
He started quickly, hitting Terrence Williams for 24 yards, Jason Witten for 28 and Cole Beasley for 19, putting the Cowboys at the New Orleans 20 with plenty of time left.
At the two-minute warning, though, Dallas was facing 3rd-and-8 on the New Orleans 18, and Williams had to play defensive back to prevent an interception on the next play. His effort wasn't in vain, as he made a diving catch on fourth down to tie the game with 1:51 to play.
The Saints got the ball on their own 20 with 1:51 to play and no timeouts, but Brees hit 17-yard passes to Willie Snead and Brandon Coleman to set up a 30-yard kick for Hocker with 16 seconds left. The kick, though, hit the left upright and bounced back onto the field.
Three things we learned
1) The Cowboys are running out of healthy bodies
With Romo, Bryant and Dunbar all sidelined in the second half, the Cowboys struggled to put together any sustained drives, and Lee's loss made it harder for Dallas to stop Brees and the Saints.
2) Al Michaels is a human thesaurus
When Ingram was ruled down at the "six-inch" mark, taking away his go-ahead touchdown, Michaels reeled off an impressive list of synonyms for the part of the human body that we sit upon.
3) Drew Brees isn't healthy
Brees struggled to throw the ball deep, and an NBC comparison between his throwing action in 2014 as opposed to Sunday night showed that he clearly didn't have the full range of motion in his shoulder.
Brees missed last week's game due to a bruised rotator cuff, and didn't complete a pass of longer than 21 yards against Dallas until Spiller's 80-yard catch-and-run to end the game.
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