The odds were in the New Orleans Saints’ favor.
No NFL team had been more money on fourth down this season, 11 of 12 entering their Thursday night game against Dallas at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. So when the Saints lined up at fourth-and-goal from the Cowboys' 1-yard line with 10:04 left in the second quarter, trailing 10-0, it wasn’t an outlandish notion.
They did so with confidence from their accumulated success this season.
But for just the second time this season, the Saints couldn’t convert. And what could have been a momentum-swinging score, instead because a significant stop for Dallas in its 13-10 victory.
Drew Brees took the shotgun snap and handed off to Alvin Kamara, whose nose for the goal line has few equals. And Kamara ran hard into the left side of the line. But Dallas left defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, unblocked on the play, ran it down from the side and, assisted by fellow defensive end Tyrone Crawford, helped bring Kamara to the turf for no gain.
Compounding matters, defensively, New Orleans didn’t force a three-and-out to regain possession with good field position.
Instead, after the Cowboys took over on downs, they drove 71 yards on offense to kick a 46-yard field goal that would prove to be their last score, and the victorious margin.
The Saints reached the red zone once more (and kicked a field goal), and shut out the Cowboys’ offense after that. But Dallas’ stop was significant, and momentum-swinging.