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Interception, personal foul penalty significant factors for New Orleans Saints against Dallas | Turning Point of the Game for Week 13

Interception erased scoring opportunity in second quarter

The New Orleans Saints take on the Dallas Cowboys at the Caesars Superdome in Week 13 of the 2021 NFL season.

The opportunity was present, but the New Orleans Saints couldn't seize it in their 27-17 loss to Dallas on Thursday night in the Caesars Superdome. And two plays that could have been pivotal in the seizing didn't go their way.

The first play happened late in the second quarter, with 2:28 remaining and New Orleans in position to tie the score at 10-10 with a field goal, or take the lead with a touchdown. On second-and-10 from the Cowboys 26-yard line, New Orleans said it got the look it wanted from Dallas' defense and the play it wanted to run against it.

A double move by receiver Kenny Stills got him behind the cornerback and into an open spot down the left sideline, but Stills couldn't reel in the pass from quarterback Taysom Hill. And when the ball fluttered away from him, Cowboys safety Jayron Kearse not only stretched out and got his hands around it, but also dragged his feet inbounds to complete the interception at the 5-yard line.

The Cowboys converted the turnover into a clock-beating field goal and took a 13-7 halftime lead.

Then, in the third quarter, with the Saints having pulled to within 13-10, the Saints took over at their own 21-yard line with 8:26 left after forcing a Dallas punt.

On first down, New Orleans opened with an 11-yard pass from Hill to Deonte Harty for a good start to the drive. But tight end Garrett Griffin received a personal foul penalty for a blindside block to wipe out the play – Griffin picked up a blitzing Kearse off the right edge and blocked Kearse before Kearse could get to Hill – and from there, the Saints were behind the sticks.

The first-and-21 from the 10 eventually led to a punt, and Dallas scored a touchdown on its next possession – a 58-yard scoring run by Tony Pollard capped the four-play drive.

Dallas took a 20-10 lead, and that would be enough points for the Cowboys on Thursday night.

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