Cowboys end Saints’ run at perfection

Here are five, quick-hit observations from the Cowboys’ 24-17 upset over the Saints on Saturday night.

1. The Saints might be a team of destiny, but they’re not perfect.
There’s a reason why there have only been two undefeated teams in the history of the NFL: Because it’s freaking hard to run the table. It doesn’t matter that the Cowboys had lost two in a row or have always struggled in December under Wade Phillips; they had a great chance coming into Saturday night because the law of averages were eventually going to catch up with the Saints. And that’s exactly what happened.

2. The Saints have a problem defensively.
Three weeks ago when the Saints narrowly escaped Washington with a win, I noted that they better get healthy defensively or else they would have problems down the road. Not having DT Sedrick Ellis really hurt the Saints tonight, as Dallas churned out 145 yards on the ground and seized control of the game in the first half. New coordinator Gregg Williams has done a great job turning around the New Orleans’ defense, but this is not a unit that can overcome injuries and win a Super Bowl. They’re just not that deep.

3. Jermon Bushrod had a tough night.
Not to pile it on, but every defensive end that lined up across from Saints’ right tackle Jermon Bushrod abused him tonight. DeMarcus Ware was beating him so bad to the outside that on the final play of the game, Bushrod just fell over because he couldn’t get into his backpedal quick enough. (The play resulted in Drew Brees fumbling, which sealed the win for Dallas.) If Phillips’ defense can play with that much aggressiveness, energy and focus in the playoffs, the Cowboys are going to be a tough out.

4. Tony Romo played a flawless game.
Romo gets too much credit when the Cowboys play well and too much criticism when they don’t. But tonight was one of those games where even the biggest of Romo critics have to appreciate how he played. He found open receivers, he kept plays alive with his feet and he picked up extra yardage when he saw opportunities to run. And when Dallas needed a big drive to put the Saints away, Romo delivered by setting his team up with what should have been a game-clinching field goal with just over two minutes remaining.

5. Speaking of which…
Raise your hand if you thought the Saints were going to march right down the field and tie the game after Nick Folk clanked that extra point-sized field goal off the right upright. I don’t know if Dallas can find a kicker this late in the season, but they might as well start holding open tryouts, because Folk is brutal.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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