It's not that the New Orleans Saints aren't making strides; Thursday night was an improvement over the previous two games, losses to Philadelphia (40-29) and Buffalo (31-6). But the strides weren't large enough against Dallas in the Caesars Superdome, and the result, a 27-17 loss, was the fifth straight for New Orleans (5-7), which will look to right its ship Sunday, Dec. 12 against the Jets.
Some individual performances were noteworthy, though.
OFFENSE: Quarterback Taysom Hill was impossible to not notice, for some of the right reasons and a lot of the wrong reasons. The bad, which can't possibly be overlooked, was four interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown. That was significant in a game that was within reach for a large portion of the time. But he also threw two touchdowns and passed for 264 yards on 19 completions, and ran 11 times for a career-high 101 yards, becoming the second quarterback in franchise history to run for 100 (Aaron Brooks gained 108 against San Francisco in 2000). There's no doubt he provided an offensive spark, and he played a decent chunk of the game with a splint on an injured finger on his right (throwing) hand. He pretty much seemed to be a one-man attack on offense at times.
DEFENSE:Marshon Lattimore had an interception and three passes defensed, and he came close to doubling the former and appeared to have doubled the latter. Thursday night was one of those games where he showed up big on several occasions. It wasn't all rosy for the Saints' defense, which allowed several explosive plays. But Lattimore, who also had eight tackles, did his part on a night where the defense allowed just 20 points and produced stops 11 times on 13 third-down attempts by Dallas.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Safety J.T. Gray truly is an artist as a gunner on the punt cover team. The way he tracks opponents is something to behold – providing an edge to prevent them from getting wide, then slicing inside to make the tackle. He had two special team tackles against Dallas, but his presence is much larger than that.