Bridgewater wins in debut, Cowboys improve to 3-1, and all of NFL Week 4—the Monday Morning Realist


Every Monday morning, Section 215’s Akiem Bailum gives an in-depth and unfiltered look at all of the latest sports news in The Monday Morning Realist. You can follow Akiem on Twitter @AkiemBailum.

Holy smokes, Realists! We’ve passed Week 4 already? It feels like yesterday that the season just started. But then again, that’s what we always say around this time, right? Season going by too fast now that we’ve already approached the quarter pole?

So what happened yesterday? Ahh, yes…

Big Bucs Buc the Burgh

Sep 28, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson (83) catches the game-winning touchdown pass in front of Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback William Gay (22) during the second half at Heinz Field. The Buccaneers won the game, 27-24. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

How does a team respond after getting blown out on the road on a Thursday night by the Atlanta Falcons?

Warning: do not remind Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans of what happened the previous week. They probably prefer to forget what happened when the Bucs own pirate ships were invaded by a ruthless flock of Dirty Birds from Georgia.

That loss put the Buccaneers and head coach Lovie Smith at 0-3. Needless to say that this year’s Buccaneers are not exactly the 2006-07 Chicago Bears, whom Smith made a Super Bowl appearance with.

Meanwhile, Pittsburgh was playing its second game against an NFC South opponent. The Steelers did rather well against their previous foe from the NFC South when they went on the road to Charlotte and defeated a Carolina Panthers team by a final of 37-19 in which two of their runningbacks had 100-plus yard outings.

And does anything need to be said about how well Steeler fans travel? Or is it just that there are Steelers fans virtually everywhere in the country? Winning six championships in your franchise’s history certainly helps with that.
Whatever game planning the Bucs did of Pittsburgh’s rushing attack from the Carolina game eventually worked. The Steelers’ opening possession of the game ended in a 3rd & 16 from their 14. It resulted in a sack of Ben Roethlisberger at the nine yard line, where he fumbled and Michael Johnson was responsible. Jacquies Smith was on the recovery.

A lot of Mikes were responsible for big plays early for Tampa Bay as Mike Glennon found Mike Evans for a seven yard touchdown and an early 7-0 lead. Patrick Murray’s PAT was good.

The ensuing Steelers possession would conclude in a three and out while that of Tampa’s once again resulted in points. This time, the lead would expand to 10-0 as Murray was true from 50 yards out.

The Steelers would appear on the scoreboard with their third drive of the first quarter. A completion from Roethlisberger to Markus Wheaton was the big play of the drive as it was a 31 yard play. They forced first and goal from the nine and advanced the chains to the seven, but had to settle for only three courtesy of a 25 yard field goal try from Shaun Suisham. 10-3 Bucs.

On top of the Suisham field goal, the Steelers would answer Tampa Bay’s opening 10 points with 10 of their own. The following Pittsburgh drive featured a pair of big plays to Antonio Brown. One was for 27 yards to the Bucs’ 35, and the other was for 11 yards and a TD to the tie the game. Brown was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct (whatever that means these days) and the 15 yard penalty would be assessed on the kickoff. The completion was challenged and upheld.

One could sense that if there was a such thing as momentum, it was on the home side of Heinz Field. Pittsburgh then went 13 plays for 93 yards on their following drive, and didn’t have a play of over 20 yards until Roethlisberger found Brown again for a 27 yard completion for a touchdown to cap off that drive and give the Steelers a 17-10 lead.

A possession later, it appeared that Pittsburgh would go into halftime with at least a lead of 20-10 or more. With time running out and the ball at the Bucs’ 32 yard line, Suisham attempted his second field goal of the game. It was wide right, leaving the Steelers with only a seven point advantage despite winning the second quarter.

Tampa Bay was feeling good about themselves, down only seven at the half and beginning the second half with possession of the football. This would show on their opening drive when after a 40 yard pass to Evans from Glennon, three yards later, Doug Martin (as he would say scored easy) from three yards out to find the endzone and tie the game back at seventeen.

But, it became a 24-17 advantage for Pittsburgh after the next Steelers possession. It appeared that the TD would come via a Roethlisberger pass to Heath Miller for nine yards. But an unnecessary roughness flag on the Bucs along with offensive holding against the Steelers offset the penalties and there was no play. Roethlisberger and Miller eventually connected for five yards for a TD and a 24-17 advantage for the Steelers.

The defense of the Steelers knew that Evans was being targeted all game. On a first and ten from midfield, Pittsburgh read one of those plays. Glennon hoped to find Evans again, but instead found Cortez Allen for an interception.

It would not result in points, but the ensuing Bucs drive did that lasted into the fourth quarter. One play was for 31 yards from Glennon to Louis Murphy. That advanced the football into inside the ten yard line of Pittsburgh. But, Murray’s field goal only brought Tampa Bay to within four at 24-20.

It appeared as if the Bucs would only have one drive left to win the football game, meaning they were within four down territory. Instead, in spite of moving the ball to the 14 yard line, they could not convert on a 4th and 10 and gave the rock back to the Steelers on their turf.

Luckily for Tampa Bay, it was past the two minute warning and they had two of their timeouts, and they stopped the Steelers from getting a first down.

The final Bucs drive began at the 46 yard line of Pittsburgh and would advance 41 yards when Glennon found Murphy to the five yard line. He then spiked the ball. Five yards and one Vincent Jackson, and one Patrick Murray later, the Bucs were back in front by three at 27-24 with 12 seconds left.

On the final kickoff of the game, the Steelers had no band on the field and no Devin Hester or Deion Sanders. Buccaneers win 27-24.

• Glennon—21/42, 302 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
• Martin—14 carries, 40 yards, 1 TD
• Murphy—6 receptions, 99 yards

• Roethlisberger—29/40, 314 yards, 3 TDs
• Bell—19 carries, 63 yards
• Brown—7 receptions, 131 yards, 2 TDs

Week 5—TB at NO, PIT at JAC

“Football? You Americans Call this Football?!”

Sep 28, 2014; London, UNITED KINGDOM; General view of the Wembley Stadium exterior before the NFL International Series game between the Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

As the NFL’s fetish with overseas contests in London seems to know no end, this year, we should be sending our compadres across the pond in the UK an apology letter.

Previous games have included the New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers taking the trip to play American football at soccer’s Wembley Stadium. This year, we gave the United Kingdom (that is still united thanks to the Scotland vote) Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders.

Huh, come again? Blimey!

Yep. That was the case. If the previous week is to be considered, then it was not the best of performances by either Miami or Oakland on Sunday afternoon last week. Kansas City defeat the Dolphins 34-15, but the Raiders suffered defeat at the hands of the New England Patriots by a score of 16-9.

Remember that these are the Patriots we just so happen to be mentioning. The same team that Raiders fans nearly two decades later are still fuming at for being on the receiving end of the “Tuck Rule”.

As for today, it would mean that the Raiders would be playing their second consecutive game against an opponent that hails from the AFC East.

The way this one played out against Miami across the pond, no more London trips for the Raiders. They may prefer New England even at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro.

It started out promising for Oakland and quarterback Derek Carr. A huge play of the opening possession of the game was when Carr connected with James Jones for 30 yards before culminating in a Carr pass to Brian Leonhardt for a three yard touchdown. The Raiders were in front 7-0.

The Dolphins first possession also resulted in a score to get that nil off their end of the scoreboard. Lamar Miller had a huge 20 yard run on this possession and Miami nearly was able to drive the ball into the red zone. But, they were stopped at the 23 yard line of the Raiders, making Miami settle for a 41 yard field goal from Caleb Sturgis. 7-3 Oakland.

On the following possession after a Miami punt, Ryan Tannehill would find Brian Hartline for 37 yards. This put the Fins in good position to score once again. They would as Tannehill would connect with Mike Wallace for 13 yards and his first TD of the game. It was now a 10-7 lead after Sturgis’ extra point was true.

The Dolphins were not even close to being done as on their next possession, they began at their own 37 yard line, but put together seven plays for 63 yards resulting in a nine yard TD run from Miller to extend the lead for Miami. It was now 17-7.

Silver and Black and Blue.

The Carr seemingly had no gas. The Raiders had another three and out where they moved the ball only one yard. They punted back to the Dolphins’ Jarvis Landry who returned the football to the Raiders’ 43 yard line, before turning the ball over. Leonhardt was on the tackle and Jon Condo recovered the ball.

In typical 2014 Raiders fashion, their offense had another three and out, giving the ball back to Miami again with no harm and no foul done.

Miami made the Raiders pay again as they were able to get away with that special teams miscue. Tannehill threw to Dion Sims for eighteen yards for his only reception of the game for a TD. 24-7 Dolphins.

That would be the halftime score. Also, Miami would begin the second half with possession of the football. One more score from the Dolphins would likely put this one away and they were on their way to doing so. Despite a Miller run of 20 yards and a Tannehill pass to Rishard Matthews for 23, Miller fumbled on 1st & goal from the 2 yard line where it was recovered by Charles Woodson. Oakland was still in this ball game.

Barely, before the Raiders gave the ball right back to Miami. Carr was looking for Vincent Brown but found Brent Grimes who returned his pick from the Raiders’ 35 yard line 32 yards the other way. A pair of Miller runs later, he corrected his earlier mistake for a short TD run. 31 to 7 Dolphins. The rout was on.

That became 38-7 after a Cortland Finnegan fumble recovery for a touchdown that went fifty yards in the Dolphins’ direction.

There was even a Matt McGloin appearance in this game, but even he was struggling. A first and 10 from the Raiders’ 35 resulted in a McGloin pick by Jimmy Wilson. He returned the football to the Raiders’ 29 for 33 yards.

This had another Miami score written all over it. A Tannehill pass to Daniel Thomas went 16 yards for a TD before it was nullified by an OPI flag on Sims. Tannehill then was looking for Sims on 2nd & 24 from the 30 before T.J. Carrie intercepted and carried the football to the 48 yard line for 28 yards.

The next possession for the Raiders: another 3 and out.

Oakland would score again on their next drive when after a 29 yard pass to James Jones in which he was forced out of bounds, McGloin hit paydirt with a 22 yarder to Holmes. Stephen Janikowski’s extra point—good. 38-14.

The next possession, McGloin targeted David Ausberry twice. The first time was a completion, the second was an interception by Walt Aikens. On the following possession, knowing they had the game won, Miami attempted a 4th and 3, but Orleans Darkwa was stopped by Justin Tuck.

It wouldn’t matter as the Raiders final drive resulted in not being able to make 4th and 6, as the Dolphins won emphatically in Jolly Ol’ England.

• Tannehill: 23/31, 278 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
• Miller: 12 carries, 64 yards, 2 TDs
• Hartline: 6 receptions, 74 yards

• Carr: 16/25, 146 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
• McFadden: 11 carries, 40 yards
• Jones: 6 receptions, 83 yards

Week 5: MIA bye, OAK bye

Bridge over Minnesota’s Troubled Waters

Sep 28, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) celebrates his touchdown with running back Matt Asiata (44) during the second quarter against the Atlanta Falcons at TCF Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings are a team that is begging for any kind of positive headline they can get.

This is a team that is now embroiled in the controversy involving Adrian Peterson given the team’s bungled response to the allegations involving child abuse. He’s their franchise player and the one guy on the team responsible for big time jersey sales, so of course Zygi Wilf wanted to keep him.

Instead, they only put him on the Commissioner’s List because sponsors began raising cain. This should have began a discussion in the mainstream media of how NFL owners do not do anything until sponsors begin speaking up. Because, in the NFL, the bottom line means more than yard lines or cut lines.

It would be, though, the debut in the NFL of QB Teddy Bridgewater out of Louisville. Maybe that could be a beginning of things turning around in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

Meanwhile, after last week’s blowout victory by the Atlanta Falcons over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Georgia Dome, it looked as if the Dirty Birds from the Southeast were once again the Super Bowl contenders they were supposed to be last year prior to Julio Jones’ injury.

Except, for when a defense does not show up to play as what happened at TCF Bank Stadium. Remember that the Vikings are in the process of moving into new digs in 2016 and will be playing at the University of Minnesota’s football stadium until they’re complete.

The Falcons began this game with a three and out on their first possession. Meanwhile, Bridgewater looked efficient on his first ever drive in the NFL (take note, Manziel fondlers!). His big play was a 52 yard pass to Julius Wright and this became points with a short run from Matt Asiata. The extra point from Blair Walsh was good and the score became 7-0 Minnesota.

The Falcons responded. Matt Ryan threw to Roddy White for two plays over 20 yards, including a 24 yard reception for a TD. This tied the game at seven after the Matt Bryant extra point attempt.

Cordarrelle Patterson returned the ensuing kickoff 49 yards to give Minnesota excellent field position at the 47. Bridgewater found Greg Jennings for a 29 yard completion to move the chains to the Falcons’ 14 yard line. Another Asiata run later and the Vikings had the lead again at 14-7.

A pair of Falcons’ possessions later the score would be tied at 14 again. On first and goal from the three, it looked like Atlanta had the TD courtesy of a short run from Steven Jackson, but it turned out that he did not break the plane and was ruled short. Patrick DiMarco’s only catch of the game was when Ryan threw to him for a 1 yard TD. Bryant’s PAT was good and the score became 14 all.

A touchback put the Vikings at their 20 yard line, but including a 21 yard pass to Wright, Bridgewater engineered a drive that resulted in him keeping the ball himself for a 13 yard TD. Walsh’s PAT was good and Minnesota regained the advantage at 21 to 14.

Minnesota moved the ball well again on their last possession prior to the half. The Falcons took two of their timeouts in the hopes that they’d regain possession prior to the end of the half (Matt Ryan loves those situations).

On first and seven, it looked as if McKinnon was going to get a seven yard TD to extend the Minnesota lead, but officials ruled that he didn’t break the plane. On third and goal with five seconds left, they decided to take the three points with a 19 yard field goal from Walsh. The score was 24 to 14 Minnesota.

Thankfully for the Vikes, they’d start the second half with possession. Their first drive of the second half resulted in another Walsh FG, this time from 50 yards out. 27 to 14 Vikings.

Uh, Falcons defense? Where are you? Are you at the Mall of America right now?

Ryan and the Falcons offense were at TCF Bank Stadium and nowhere near that mall. Shortly after a 20 yard pass to Julio Jones, four plays later, Ryan looked to Devin Hester for a 36 yard TD to bring the game back to 27 to 21. Hester’s not only good at returning punts, in case you forgot.

The Falcons comeback continued on their next possession via a 48 yard run from Antone Smith. This gave Atlanta the lead for the first time this game at 28-27.

But a pair of Vikings possessions later (in the 4th), Bridgewater looked efficient throwing the ball again. He found Jennings for 29 yards then Patterson for 22. Asiata’s third TD run of the game and a Bridgewater two point conversion to Rhett Elliot made the score 35-28 Minnesota. Bridgewater was taken out of the game at this point with an ankle injury.

That became 38-28 when the Vikings began possession again at their own 45 yard line. With the drive for Minnesota stalled at the 37, Walsh was true from 55 yards out.

A pair of plays into the ensuing drive for the Falcons from first and 20, Harrison Smith picked off Ryan on a pass intended for White. Smith was pushed out of bounds at Atlanta’s 30 yard line.

But the Falcons burned all of their timeouts on the Vikings’ next drive that included the two minute warning. The 33 yard field goal from Walsh was good and the lead became 41-28 for Minnesota.

The final Falcons’ possession of the game would result in a Ryan interception by Josh Robinson at the Vikings 2 yard line, sealing a 41-28 win for Minnesota.

• Bridgewater—19/30, 317 yards
• McKinnon—18 carries, 135 yards
• Wright—8 receptions, 132 yards

• Ryan—25/41, 298 yards, 3 TDs, 2 INTs
• Jackson—13 carries, 49 yards
• Jones—6 receptions, 82 yards

Week 5: ATL at NYG, MIN at GB

“O” For the love of (Pistol) Pete!

Sep 28, 2014; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers defensive end Justin Smith (94) puts pressure on Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles (9) resulting in an interception during the third quarter at Levi

Coming into Week 4 of the NFL season, the Philadelphia Eagles had brought a lot of sporting excitement to Eastern Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey, and Delaware. Mired in sports purgatory thanks to a disappointing 2014 Philadelphia Phillies campaign, other teams were green with envy as they were one of the last three undefeated teams remaining along with the Arizona Cardinals and Cincinnati Bengals.

Some were already thinking Super Bowl with this team, but that’s a little too early to be mentioning that at this point.

But, there was also a 49ers side to this equation, of course. San Francisco was defeated at home in their second game at the new Levi’s Stadium by the Cardinals. This was by a score of 23-14 despite 245 yards from Colin Kaepernick. The Cardinals were in first place in an NFC West that had included both of last year’s NFC Championship participants.

Philly was already looking like they were a better team than San Francisco, and one that should defeat the 49ers even going on the road all the way to the West Coast.

Just as Seattle is known for rain, the San Francisco Bay Area is known is known for fog. A radio station in the Bay Area even has its call letters (KFOG) reflecting this distinctive aspect of San Francisco life.

Was there fog in the heads of Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles’ offense? Because it definitely appeared like that was the case. Chris Polk returned the opening kick with the Eagles having possession, but the offense would only manage one first down.

San Francisco would get a three and out on its opening drive, but an Andy Lee punt was blocked. Brad Smith was on the recovery resulting in a touchdown for Philadelphia. 7-0 after Cody Parkey’s PAT attempt.

On the following 49ers drive, it would begin from their 20 with the longest play being a Kaepernick pass to Brandon Lloyd for 23 yards. After advancing all the way to the 10 yard line, offensive holding pushed back the Niners ten yards. This set the scene for a 29 yard field goal from Phil Dawson to put San Francisco on the board at 7-3.

The first play of the second half as San Francisco was driving went for 55 yards from Kaepernick to Frank Gore.

Result of the play was a touchdown and an extra point via Dawson. It was now 10 to 7 San Fran.

Another Eagles possession would feature two Philadelphia penalties (offensive holding and offensive pass interference) and another three and out. They punted it back to the 49ers who themselves would give it back three plays in. Kaepernick attempted to find Lloyd but found Malcolm Jenkins at the 47 yard line. He turned that into a Pick Six and a 14 to 10 Eagles lead.

A few first downs into the 49ers’ next possession, it was fourth down again and San Francisco punted. Darren Sproles was waiting.

Big time.

82 yards later, the Eagles had a 21-10 advantage. Compounding that punt return was a face mask penalty on Kasim Osgood that would be assessed on the ensuing kickoff. Parkey’s PAT was good as well.

A pair of possessions later, the 49ers began their next possession at their 32 yard line and were able to move the ball to the Eagles’ 33. An Anquan Boldin reception of 23 yards helped the cause for San Francisco on this drive before the Niners had to take three with a 51 yard field goal courtesy of Dawson. It was 21 to 13.

Six plays into the Eagles’ next drive, ball met turf when a Nick Foles pass to Riley Cooper was fumbled thanks to Chris Culliver. Justin Smith recovered the football just as the half expired.

Note: it was 21 to 13 with Philadelphia leading at the half thanks to interceptions and special teams play. The Eagles’ offense looked like it was enjoying a ride on one of the San Francisco historic streetcars.

The Niners began the half on offense, but was forced into a three and out. Philadelphia had a proverbial two and out when on 2nd and six at their 20, Foles threw to Zach Ertz for 3 yards before he put the ball on the turf. Perrish Cox recovered the ball on a fumble forced by Antoine Bethea. The rule of fumble was challenged and upheld.

San Francisco made Philly pay for that miscue when Stevie Johnson caught a 12 yard TD pass from Kaepernick. The following extra point was good. 21-20 Eagles.

Another three and out from Philadelphia translated into more offensive plays for the 49ers, including a 28 yard run from Gore that put the football at the Philadelphia 36. 4th and 11 from the 28 meant Dawson would be brought back on the field one more time to attempt another field goal. 46 yards later, the 49ers took their first lead of the game at 23-21.

Translation: the Eagles’ offense gave the Niners the lead.

Just as they were giving them the game. Two plays into their next offensive drive, 2nd and 8 from the 28 resulted in a Bethea pick of Foles on a play intended for Jeremy Maclin. San Francisco would punt again…

…and the Eagles would have another three and out.

It looked as though the Eagles offense did not want to see the Eagles defense off the field. Including a 25 yard pass from Kaepernick to Crabtree, a ten play, 46 yard drive that lasted over five minutes resulted in another Dawson field goal as he was true from 31 yards out for a 26 to 21 lead.

Then, Philadelphia began to do something they had not done all game: move the football and the chains. Foles seemed to be getting it done with short passes as well as one for 22 yards to Maclin to the 49ers 17 yard line. The Eagles then were in a 1st & goal spot from the six yard line, then 3rd & goal from the one. But two pass plays on 3rd and 4th down ended in no points for Philly.

Play calling, play calling, play calling…

After one more 49ers three and out, the last Eagles possession would end, fittingly, in a Cox INT of Foles on a pass intended for Maclin. 26-21 for the 49ers.

• Kaepernick: 17/30, 28 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
• Gore: 24 carries, 119 yards
• Boldin: 5 receptions, 62 yards

• Foles: 21/43, 195 yards
• McCoy: 10 carries, 17 yards
• Maclin: 5 receptions, 68 yards

Week 5: STL at PHI, KC at SF

Stars on Sunday Night Shine Bright…

Sep 28, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray (29) runs with the ball for a second quarter touchdown against the New Orleans Saints at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Wasn’t it on Week 1 where Tony Romo threw three interceptions against the San Francisco 49ers and everyone from sea to shining sea began burying America’s Team?

Everyone was thinking that this would be another one of those mediocre seasons for the Cowboys; a staple of the team since their glory days of their mid-1990s dynasty.

But, since Week One, the ‘Boys have pulled off victories over the Tennessee Titans (16 to 3) and a road comeback in St. Louis to pull off a 34-31 win over the Rams.

And last week, the Saints defeated a Minnesota team 20-9 sans Adrian Peterson in a stadium that is more used to seeing college football than anything else.

To make a long story short, the Saints looked like they were playing a college team last week. Say what you want about the Vikings this week since they resembled an NFL team again with Bridgewater at QB.

Dallas began this primetime matchup on Sunday night with possession of the football, and would jump out to a 7-0 advantage before New Orleans would even have a chance to take the field on offense. Romo’s six yard pass to Terrance Williams started the scoring parade for the Cowboys. Dan Bailey’s extra point attempt was good.

The Saints would have to conclude their first possession with a punt despite moving the ball into Cowboys territory. This put Romo’s offense back on the field again. They themselves would also punt despite gaining three first downs.
New Orleans would get a big play from Marques Colston for 22 yards on a first and 10 from their own 47 yard line and advanced the football to the Cowboys’ 23 yard line. Except…

Shayne Graham’s field goal from 41 yards out was no good and wide right.

Bailey’s following field goal attempt on the next possession for Dallas was good from 51 yards out to extend their advantage to 10-0.

Two plays into the Saints’ next drive, Brees was looking for Robert Meachem, but instead found Justin Durant after Bruce Carter tipped a pass.

Romo would then connect with Lance Dunbar for 24 yards which was followed up by a 15 yard TD run from DeMarco Murray. After the PAT, it was 17-0 Cowboys.

After another Saints, three and out, the Cowboys offense continued coming up with big plays. A 22 yard run from Murray and Romo finding Williams for a 23 yard TD were the notable plays in the ensuing Dallas possession. Their lead on New Orleans was now 24-0.

The Saints had to be glad that at least they would start the second half on offense. Their opening drive of the third quarter included Brees throwing to Kenny Stills for 42 yards on 1st & 10 from the Saints’ 42. This got the ball to the Cowboys’ 12 yard line, but after three plays of no gain, New Orleans had to settle for a 30 yard field goal try from Shayne Graham. It was good. 24-3 Cowboys.

If the Saints were going to get back in this game, they needed touchdowns and not FGs. That would’ve been self-explanatory at this point. Dallas made New Orleans pay for settling that last drive. Romo ran for 21 yards on one play late in the possession then Murray capped it off by running to his left for 28 yards to hit paydirt. 31 to 3 Cowboys after the Bailey extra point.

Late in the ensuing New Orleans drive, Brees threw to Jimmy Graham for sixteen yards, but Rolando McClain caused a fumble and J.J. Wilcox recovered. Graham then caused a Wilcox fumble before Dallas recovered the football again at their own 23 yard line.

The 31 to 3 advantage became 31 to 14 after Brees first threw to Khiry Robinson for 62 yards, then to Josh Hill for a 12 yard TD and his only reception of the game. Graham’s PAT was good.

Two plays into the Saints’ next (and last) scoring drive of the game, Brees found Travaris Cadet for 31 yards, then Graham for a 13 yard TD. 31 to 17.

But, two Dallas possessions later, Romo connected with Dez Bryant for an 18 yard TD to extend their lead back to 21 at 38 to 17.

This game was put on ice when Brees passed to Cadet for 17 yards then lost the football. It was ruled a fumble after a challenge, as Durant had another big play for the defense. Sterling Moore recovered it as it the game had already went past the two minute warning. The Dallas win improved them to a record of three wins and one loss on the season.
• Romo: 22/29, 262 yards, 3 TDs
• Murray: 24 carries, 169 yards, 2 TDs
• Williams: 6 receptions, 77 yards, 2 TDs

• Brees: 32/44, 340 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
• Robinson: 8 carries, 87 yards
• Graham: 8 receptions, 86 yards, 1 TD

Week 5: TB at NO, HOU at DAL

Other Games

Sep 25, 2014; London, UNITED KINGDOM; General view of the NFL shield logo on the Wembley Stadium marquee in advance of the NFL International Series game between the Miami Dolphins and the Oakland Raiders. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Giants defeat Redskins 45 to 14

Packers defeat Bears 38 to 17

Texans defeat Bills 23 to 17

Colts defeat Titans 41 to 17

Ravens defeat Panthers 38 to 17

Lions defeat Jets 24 to 17

Chargers defeat Jaguars 33 to 14

Patriots vs. Chiefs (8:30 Monday Night Football)