By Calvin Watkins | ESPN.com
New Orleans defeated Dallas in overtime 34-31
at Cowboys Stadium. The Cowboys' hopes for the playoffs need outside help, most easily in the form of one loss by the New York Giants
in the season's last two weeks.
What it means:
The Cowboys needed to win their last two regular-season games to clinch the NFC East without help. But the loss, combined with the Washington Redskins
' victory, keeps the Cowboys on the outside of the playoff picture. A win by the Giants later today would also hurt the Cowboys' chances of reaching the postseason.
Cowboys outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware
missed the bulk of the second half with a right shoulder strain. He was battling a hyperextended elbow and a shoulder that was popping out of place. With Ware out, the Cowboys asked Victor Butler
and Anthony Spencer
to pick up the pass rush. Ware did return for one snap with 12:05 to play in overtime, then left.
Murray's fumble costly:
With 4:17 to play in the third quarter, DeMarco Murray
fumbled at the Cowboys' 5. He was stripped by linebacker Curtis Lofton
, who also recovered. Murray lost the ball just before his knee hit the ground. The turnover, with the score tied at 17, proved costly. Drew Brees
found Pierre Thomas
for the touchdown to give the Saints a 24-17 lead.
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