Enough is enough, thank you.
The Dallas Cowboys saw their record drop to .500 for the season after suffering a 26-20 overtime loss to the New Orleans Saints in front of a national television audience on Sunday Night Football. Even worse, they added injury … and injury … and injury to the insult.
At this point, the Cowboys can't be blamed for officially waving the white flag as far as players now taking up residence in the trainer's room.
Already without their All-Pro wide receiver, Dez Bryant, and their Pro Bowl quarterback, Tony Romo, the Cowboys saw their leading tackler, Sean Lee, leave the game first with a concussion, which means he's likely to be out next week as well.
And then, on the opening kickoff of the third quarter, Lance Dunbar, who is tops on the team in receiving yards, was helped off the field with what appeared to be a serious knee injury. That was followed by wide receiver Brice Butler, originally acquired to help replace the loss of Bryant, being sidelined with a hamstring issue.
All of that made only worse a defeat that came against a Saints team that was winless on the season and had lost six straight at home, dating back to last year. Drew Brees, who has made a living out of torching the Dallas defense, was again the difference in this one. Despite playing with a banged-up shoulder, he threw for 359 yards, completing 33-of 41 of his pass attempts with two touchdowns and no interceptions.
With so many injuries, the Cowboys needed their defense, themselves depleted, to hold down the fort. When that unit unable to slow down Brees when it mattered most, the offense just couldn't keep up.
Brandon Weeden, the beleaguered backup quarterback, was again efficient, completing 16-of-26 attempts for 246 yards and one touchdown with no picks. And, he was even downright brilliant on the team's final drive of the game. But, it just wasn't enough.
The Cowboys played it safe for most of the first half with the longest completion going for only 14 yards, although Dunbar broke free for a 45-yard gain on the ground. But they didn't turn the ball over and Dallas only committed one penalty on its way to a 10-7 lead at the break.
The also got a little help along the way. On their first scoring drive, which traveled 80 yards over 10 plays, the Cowboys twice picked up first downs thanks to Saints' penalties. Then when Randle dove over the line, reaching out for the end zone, he had the ball knocked loose in what was at first called a fumble recovery for New Orleans. But, replays showed that Randle had been able to get the nose of the ball across the goal line before losing it, the Cowboys getting the six points, plus the field goal.
Of course, they could of potentially had more, as their very first series of the game reached the New Orleans' 12-yard line before Dallas had to settle for a 30-yard field goal from Dan Bailey. And, the Cowboys could of had a pair of interceptions, one on the Saints' first possession, when Tyler Patmon dropped a potential pick in New Orleans territory.
Then Dallas had the opportunity to stymie the home team's next drive when Barry Church came up with an interception at the New Orleans 32-yard line. But a holding penalty on Brandon Carr gave the Saints new life and they went on to collect two more first downs before punting away to the Dallas 17-yard line, a big change in the field-position battle.
When New Orleans then tied the game in the third quarter, it again came after what appeared to be another forced turnover by the Cowboys, this time the officials first ruling that linebacker Andrew Gachkar had recovered a fumble. Instead, video review ruled that running back Mark Ingram was already down before losing the football.
With the ball back in their possession, the Saints went on to kick a 29-yard field goal to even up the score, 10-10, where it remained as the clock ticked over to the fourth quarter.
But when the team playing at home features a future Hall of Fame quarterback managing the game in the final minutes while the team playing on the road is getting by with their backup behind center, well, the outcome would seemingly be inevitable.
And in the end, it was. But not without some dramatics.
First Brees marched his team 67 yards in 10 plays early in the final frame, which included a 9-yard completion on fourth-and-1 at the Dallas 45. Of course, three of the team's final four plays on the drive stayed on the ground, Khiry Robinson getting the scoring honors by rumbling in from a yard out to give the Saints the lead, 20-13.
Weeden, however, was certainly up for the fight. On the Cowboys' final drive of the night, which started at their own 9-yard line, the quarterback did his best Romo impression, completing three straight passes for 24, 28 and 19 yards, which got Dallas to Saints' 20-yard line.
Then on fourth-and-7 at the New Orleans' 17, Weeden threw a beauty of a pass to the back, right corner of the end zone where Terrance Williams made an incredible diving catch to tie the game, 20-20, after Dan Bailey's extra point.
But despite having no timeouts, the Saints still had just under two minutes of time with which to work. That was more than enough for Brees to pick apart the Dallas secondary. Fortunately for the Cowboys, though, kicker Zach Hocker missed a 30-yard field goal with 16 seconds left that would have won the game. Instead, the two teams headed to overtime.
Alas, the Saints would win the toss and the ball to start the extra frame and then needed only two plays to wrap up the night. On second-and-10 from his own 20, Brees found a wide open C.J. Spiller on the right side, rookie linebacker Damien Wilson having lost his man. The running back then took the catch the distance, going 80 yards for the game-winning score, 26-20.
With the loss, Dallas fell to 2-2 on the year and are now in a three-way tie for first atop the NFC East with the Giants and Redskins. And things don't get any easier as the Cowboys now face Tom Brady and the Patriots next Sunday afternoon.