The New Orleans Saints defeated the Dallas Cowboys in overtime on a game-winning field goal. Saints Kicker Garret Hartley sealed the deal with a 20-yard field goal as the Saints essentially eliminated the Cowboys from playoff contention with a 34-31 overtime win.
The Saints played a great game and were able to close the Cowboys out in overtime. However, despite winning the game, the Saints need to do a better job of closing out games. The game should have never went into overtime as the Saints built a 31-17 lead at one point. The Saints were poised enough in overtime to pull off a win, but there are still some issues they need to iron out.
As the season is coming to a close the Saints have a few things that they need to address heading into the off-season. One of the biggest things the Saints need to address is their defense.
The Saints’ defense has shown signs of improvement but they are still by far one of the worst defensive units in the NFL. On Sunday, the Saints’ defense gave up 416 yards and four touchdowns to Cowboys’ quarterback Tony Romo. Furthermore, the Saints gave up two of those touchdowns in the fourth quarter, and one of them coming in the last 15 seconds of regulation.
In order for the Saints to close out games better, the defense needs to tighten up when it matters. There were plenty of close games for the Saints that came down to the wire this season that they were not able to win because of the defensive breakdowns.
With all of that said, the most important thing is that the Saints got the win. I know the team’s defensive execution will improve next week. The Saints will end the season hosting their division rival, the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers are currently on a three-game win streak and are 6-9 on the season.
The Saints are 7-8 and looking to end their season with a .500 winning percentage with a victory against the Panthers. The Saints defense needs to step up against the Panthers – if the Saints establish a big lead, the team must hold it. The Saints are looking good right now but they just need to do a better job of closing out games.