For certain, the New Orleans Saints were a livelier team on Thursday night in the Caesars Superdome than they'd appeared to be a week earlier. But the result – a 27-17 loss to Dallas, instead of a 31-6 loss to Buffalo – remained the same as it has for five consecutive games for the Saints (5-7), who couldn't pair enough offense with their defense to end the losing streak.
OFFENSE: There wasn't nearly enough feasting to match the famine on offense. New Orleans totaled 405 yards (153 rushing) and possessed the ball for 31:54. But 70 of the yards came on a cosmetic, 70-yard touchdown pass from Taysom Hill to Deonte Harris with 2:47 left in the fourth quarter, and Hill threw four interceptions that overwhelmed his two touchdown passes. Much of the good that was constructed, including nine receivers making catches, was counterbalanced by the turnovers, one of which was returned for a touchdown. There's no debating that Hill provided a spark on offense, so if the errors can be shaved (if not totally eliminated), New Orleans could find a way to get back into the win column.
DEFENSE: The defense had its best game since a 23-21 loss to Tennessee. It held Dallas to 20 points (a touchdown below its average), and produced stops on 11 of 13 third-down attempts, forced a turnover (Marshon Lattimore's interception) and did its part to keep the Saints within striking distance. Dallas had a few more chunk plays than is comfortable, including Tony Pollard's 58-yard touchdown run. But the unit applied pressure (one sack, seven quarterback hits) and defended once the ball was in the air (seven pass breakups). The total rushing yards allowed – 146 yards on 24 carries – won't make anyone happy, but the third-down stops gave New Orleans a chance.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Kicker Brett Maher made one of two field-goal attempts, but the miss was a 56-yard attempt and that's not a layup kick by any stretch of the imagination. Otherwise, another fairly nondescript evening for a unit that needs to add a little something (long return, blocked kick, forced fumble) to the pot.
The New Orleans Saints take on the Dallas Cowboys at the Caesars Superdome in Week 13 of the 2021 NFL season.