The New Orleans Saints set an NFL-record 40 first downs and a franchise-record 625 total yards in their 49-17 victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night.
Drew Brees completed 34 of 41 passes for 392 yards and four touchdowns, and the Saints won their 12th straight prime-time victory in the Superdome.
“Somebody told me that right at the end of the game,” said Brees, via the team’s website. “They said that if we get one more first down that we will set an NFL record for first downs in a game. I knew we were going to be running it. We got eight yards on that first down run with Luke (McCown) in there. We had been running the ball well in the fourth quarter. Sean (Payton) said if we get one more first down, then we will set an NFL record.
“That’s just like telling a pitcher that he has a no hitter. It stops. So, now we are sitting there (at) fourth (down) and five and I kind of looked at him and he said that we were going for it. That situation in the game if you don’t get it, then they were probably going to take a knee. We really had nothing to lose there. I think Luke told the guys in the huddle. They thought that he was kidding around. They were like we don’t need any motivation here. We are pros. We got it and the guys said that he wasn’t messing with them.”
Brees’ touchdown passes went for 52 yards to Kenny Stills, 22 yards to Marques Colston, 28 yards to Darren Sproles and a yard to Pierre Thomas.
Mark Ingram added a 4-yard touchdown en route to a career-high 145 yards rushing, and Thomas had a 1-yard score late in the game. Sproles also had a 3-yard touchdown run.
“He’s kind of been bitten by the injury bug,” said Brees on Ingram. “Mark’s a great football player. The run game, pass blocking, catching the ball out of the backfield. Every time he got opportunities, he made the most of them. Man, he received those today. He was a man on a mission today. He’s another guy who just battles. I’m so happy for him. This is kind of just breaking the seal for what he’s capable of.”
The Saints defense held the Cowboys offense to just 193 total yards. Tony Romo was 10 of 24 for 128 yards and was sacked three times.
“I just didn’t expect this,” said Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. “I never saw this coming. What I did think is that we could come in here and get some points on the board. I felt that certainly we are compromised relative to our defense where we are right now with our personnel – but that’s not an excuse; because we still didn’t play as well as they played. They just did a very good job of defensing us – keeping us off the field.”