NFL: New Orleans Saints beat Dallas Cowboys in overtime with Garrett Hartley field goal
By Paul Higham Twitter: @SkySportsPaulH. Last Updated: December 23, 2012 11:36pm
The Dallas Cowboys almost mounted another miraculous recovery, but their play-off hopes are now hanging by a thread after New Orleans won 34-31 in overtime in Texas.
Tony Romo dragged his team back from two scores down inside the final three-and-a-half minutes to tie it up at 31-31 with a late touchdown throw to Miles Austin with just 15 seconds left to force overtime.
Dallas could not muster anything with the first possession of overtime though and despite a fumble the Saints recovered to set-up a Garrett Hartley field goal from 20 yards to win it.
After winning in overtime last week, the loss ended the Cowboys' three-game winning streak as they looked to sneak into the post-season, but they can still yet make the play-offs heading into the final game next week in Washington.
Drew Brees threw for 446 yards for New Orleans, who recorded their fifth-best team yardage total of 562 as they dominated the ball in terms of possession, total plays and first downs, but the Cowboys hung on in there.
Mark Ingram ran in for the Saints early before Dez Bryant showcased his growing reputation with a pair of muscular 58-yard touchdown receptions with plenty of speed and power after the catch.
Brees then connected with Lance Moore, Pierre Thomas and David Thomas to take control at 31-17 before Romo launched the comeback bid for the home side.
Dwayne Harris held on to a 16-yard Romo pass before Austin hauled in a 19-yarder to light up the home crowd in the dying seconds, who sensed that another late Cowboys win was on the cards.
Both teams focused on the pass to get the job done, and Bryant finished with 224 yards receiving and his two scores while Marques Colston led the Saints with 153 and Darren Sproles had 104.
Any lingering hopes the Saints had of an NFC wildcard were extinguished with Minnesota's win over Houston, but Dallas still somehow live on into the final week of the regular season.