Hidden Handful

Drew Brees threw a perfect pass to Robert Meachem to beat Terence Newman for a 55-yard gain.

    • Barber Toss Wide - Trailing 17-0 and desperate for any kind of offensive life, the Cowboys opted to go for a first down with Marion Barber on a sweep to the right side. Barber didn't even get back to the line of scrimmage and was stopped for a loss. Had the Cowboys attempted a 48-yard field goal with Buehler, it might have given them more of a spark. And since the Cowboys lost by three, maybe the outcome would have been different as well. * Brees Flip - With the Saints leading 17-3 late in the first half, the Cowboys missed a chance to get the ball back on a third-and-10 play. Seemingly sacked by a host of Cowboys defenders, Drew Brees instead found a way to flip the ball to Julius Jones, who then broke two tackles en route to a 12-yard gain. The Saints continued their march and finished the drive with a 45-yard field goal by Garrett Hartley for a 20-3 lead before halftime. Again, another field goal in a three-point game always proves pivotal. * Cowboys' Midfield Breaks - Three plays in one drive all went the Cowboys' way and kept them with the field-position edge. Felix Jones recovered his own fumble near midfield, then Martellus Bennett recovered a Jon Kitna fumble a few plays later. When the Cowboys did have to punt, Mat McBriar dropped the snap but decided to rugby-style kick the ball deep. Had he fallen on the ball, the Saints take over near the 50, but McBriar booted the ball to the Saints' 16. The Cowboys were then able to intercept a pass and turn it into a go-ahead touchdown. * Meachem's Big Play - The play of the game wasn't one of the touchdowns, that's why it's on this list. But with the Saints trailing 27-23 with 2:25 to play, and facing a third-and-10 from their own 33, Drew Brees threw a perfect pass to Robert Meachem to beat Terence Newman for a 55-yard gain. After the two-minute warning, the Saints scored on a 12-yard strike from Brees to Lance Moore for the game-winner. * Force Throws To Dez- Pick any of the three passes Jon Kitna threw to rookie Dez Bryant just before the final field goal attempt. The Cowboys had a first down at the Saints' 41. But instead of going back to Jason Witten, who had three straight catches to start the drive, or even a draw play to Felix Jones to get a little closer, the Cowboys tried to get the ball to Bryant, who ended up with no catches on the day. Not getting any yards forced the Cowboys to attempt a 59-yard field goal, which barely missed to the left. Those are just a handful of key plays that made a difference, hidden in a game with so many highlights and a dramatic finish.
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