*Where'd Mo Go? Fish's column on Mo Claiborne going AWOL - complete with an interesting audio exchange between Fish and Mo -- is here. By the way, we will update the story all day, but know that 1) Mo left Valley Ranch at noon yesterday, 2) assorted teammates called and counseled him, and 3) he is back at work this morning.
*We make sense of Orlando Scandrick telling us he's "pissed.''
*Our one-click Cowboys Huddle-Up: "Rush To Judgment.''
*How Bruce and Mo stole St. Louis.
*Fish's Premium column on how Dallas is disappointing the doubters.
SERIES SAINTS FACTS
Since 1990, when playoff formats were last tinkered with, 50.3% of the qualifiers were 2-1.
Comparatively, only 30.8% of playoff participants since 1990 began with a 1-2 record.
The Cowboys have started out 2-1 for the fourth consecutive year. This is also the third time in franchise history Dallas has had a 2-1 record four years straight (1984-87; 2003-06).
In the history of the Dallas Cowboys, there have been 24 seasons that started out 2-1. 13/24 of those teams made the playoffs with 8/13 making at least the conference championship game.
New Orleans has begun 1-2 only 18 times in franchise history. Only 2/18 times did they make the playoffs (1987, 1990).
Dallas has not won a Week 4 game since 2007 and are 1-5 since. In the fourth game of the season, the Cowboys are 1-9 going back to 2004.
This is the first time since 2005 that the Cowboys have had a better record on the road (2-0) than at home (0-1) through the first three weeks of the season.
This is the sixth time since 1998 the Saints have had a worse record than the Cowboys heading into the matchup. In such instances, the Saints have a 5-0 record.
The last time the New Orleans Saints started out 1-2 was 2008. They would finish the year 8-8.
The Cowboys are 10-4 at home (0-2 at AT&T Staduim) and 5-7 on the road in this
The Dallas Cowboys are 4-1 against the New Orleans Saints in September with the lone loss being a 28-0 shutout in the Superdome to inaugurate the Jerry Jones era on 9/10/89.
The New Orleans Saints are 2-0 in AT&T Stadium. Only the Chicago Bears, New York Giants, and Green Bay Packers have ever gone 2-0 or better in AT&T Stadium.
Among NFL venues built since 2000, AT&T Stadium is the only place the New Orleans Saints are undefeated.
The New Orleans Saints are the only NFC team the Dallas Cowboys have not played in the postseason. Comparatively, the Dallas Cowboys are among five NFC teams that the New Orleans Saints haven’t faced in the playoffs.
From 1967-69, the Cowboys amassed 5 wins over the expansion Saints. This ties with the Falcons for the Cowboys’ second-best start against an expansion team. Franchise first place is over the Buccaneers with 6 straight wins.
Despite having lost eight of the last nine games to the New Orleans Saints, the Dallas Cowboys are still 15-11 against New Orleans Saints in the series.
The Saints are one of four teams to have once been division opponents with Dallas for more than a season. The other three teams are the Cardinals, Browns, and Steelers.
JASON GARRETT FACTS
Garrett is 10-9 against head coaches who have won Super Bowls.
Against head coaches who used to coach him, Garrett is 1-2:
2010 – NO (Sean Payton), 27-30 – L
2011 – BUF (Chan Gailey), 44-7 – W
2013 – NO (Sean Payton), 17-49 – L
Garrett is 6-12 in prime time games. Here is the breakdown by network:
NFL Network: 1-1
Garrett is 2-8 in away prime time games compared to 4-4 at home.
Jason Garrett is 0-3 against the New Orleans Saints. There is no other team outside of the NFC East he has three or more losses against.
Garrett’s 0-3 record is the worst record against the Saints since Bill Parcells. Here is how other Cowboys coaches have fared against New Orleans:
Tom Landry: 11-2
Jimmy Johnson: 2-1
Barry Switzer: 1-0
Chan Gailey: 0-2
Bill Parcells: 0-3
Wade Phillips: 1-0
Jason Garrett: 0-3
Jason Garrett was a member of the 1989 and 1990 New Orleans Saints. Against teams Garrett once played for (Saints, Giants, Buccaneers, Dolphins), he holds a 7-6 record.
SEAN PAYTON FACTS
Sean Payton leads all New Orleans coaches with an 18-9 record in prime time, including playoffs. Here is how he fares with other Saints coaches:
J.D. Roberts: 0-1
John North: 0-2
Dick Nolan: 0-2
Bum Phillips: 1-2
Jim Mora, Sr.: 11-11
Rick Venturi: 0-1
Mike Ditka: 1-2
Jim Haslett: 4-7
Sean Payton: 15-7
Aaron Kromer: 1-0
Joe Vitt: 1-2
All of Sean Payton’s professional coaching experience came as an assistant in the NFC East. Here is his record against NFC East teams:
New York: 3-0
Payton is 5-1 in Week 4 games since 2006 and 5-2 in the fourth games of the season.
Sean Payton surpassed Jim Mora last season for most playoff appearances with five. Mora did more than “diddly poo” with the Saints, as he still holds the franchise record for winning seasons with five.
Payton’s teams are 23-9 on the road when they score first compared to 14-25 when they don’t. In Atlanta, they scored first (loss), while in Cleveland they didn’t (win).
Payton has started out with a 1-2 record or worse on the road only three times since 2006. His clubs are 3-4 in their third road games of the season.
Sean Payton has the most wins against the Dallas Cowboys than any other head coach in Saints history:
Tom Fears: 0-5
J.D. Roberts: 1-0
John North: 0-1
Hank Stram: 0-1
Dick Nolan: 0-1
Bum Phillips: 0-3
Jim Mora: 2-3
Mike Ditka: 2-0
Jim Haslett: 2-0
Joe Vitt: 1-0
Sean Payton: 3-1
Despite claiming a dome as home field, the Saints are 10-6 on the road in other domes.
TONY ROMO FACTS
Romo is 23-16 in prime time, including playoffs. He holds a 14-8 record on Sunday Night Football, including playoffs. He is 0-2 against the Saints on SNF.
Romo’s 12/19/09 win over the Saints made him the only Cowboys quarterback since Troy Aikman in 1994 to defeat New Orleans.
The Saints are the one team in the NFC South against whom Romo holds a losing record at 1-3. Against the rest of the NFC South, Romo is a combined 10-1.
Tony Romo is 1-1 against former Cowboys defensive coordinators with a 74.0 passer rating. On average, he goes 18/34 for 198 yards, one touchdown, one interception, and takes three sacks.
DREW BREES FACTS
Brees is 2-0 against Dallas on SNF with an 11-4 record overall on the package. For his career, Brees is 25-13 in prime time.
In last year’s game, Brees was sacked only once, and that lone sack belonged to DeMarcus Ware.
Brees played Texas high school football at Austin Westlake. He is 4-1 in the state of Texas. Only the Houston Texans on 11/18/07 handed him his lone loss in the Lone Star State.
Brees has a 15-8 record against the NFC East with an 8-3 record on the road.
Much is made of Brees’ 54 consecutive games with a touchdown. However, the two games preceding that streak featured the Saints quarterback throwing zero touchdowns.
This is the first time since 2009 that a 1-2 team and a 2-1 team have faced each other on Sunday Night Football. Only twice has it happened since 2006, and 1-2 teams have a two-game lead.
Sunday’s game makes the 7th prime time game in the series. This series has seen 16 early games and 3 late games. Here’s the Cowboys’ records for each time
Early games: 9-7
Late games: 2-1
Prime time: 3-3
The Saints are the only NFC team the Cowboys have never beaten on FOX (0-9).
Cowboys-Saints has appeared on all four broadcast networks: CBS, ABC, FOX, and NBC.
On 12/19/09, NFL Network became the only cable network to have broadcast a
The Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints have played seven prime time games in their series with the Cowboys holding a 4-3 advantage:
1973 – Saints-Cowboys – ABC – 40-3 Cowboys
1984 – Saints-Cowboys – ABC* – 30-27 Cowboys
1988 – Cowboys-Saints – ABC – 20-17 Saints
1994 – Cowboys-Saints – ABC – 24-16 Cowboys
2006 – Saints-Cowboys – NBC – 42-17 Saints
2009 – Cowboys-Saints – NFLN – 24-17 Cowboys
2013 – Cowboys-Saints – NBC – 49-17 Saints
*Sunday night special, delayed 1:45 due to Reagan-Mondale presidential debate
The New Orleans Saints have played in 77 prime time games, including playoffs, in their entire team history. Here are the records broken down by network:
NFL Network: 1-3
The New Orleans Saints have played in 77 prime time games, including playoffs, in franchise history. The Dallas Cowboys have played in 77 since 1995, including playoffs.
This is Al Michaels’ 29th New Orleans Saints game. New Orleans is 16-12 when he calls their games.
This is the 73rd Dallas Cowboys game Al Michaels will call. The Cowboys are 41-31 when Al Michaels calls their games.
Head-to-head, the Dallas Cowboys are 1-2 when Al Michaels calls a game between Dallas and New Orleans.
This is Cris Collinsworth’s 14th New Orleans Saints game. The Saints are 11-2 when he calls their games.
Cris Collinsworth will call his 31st Dallas Cowboys game. The Cowboys are 14-16 when Collinsworth calls their games.
From 1970-97, NBC carried the rights to broadcast AFC road games at the Dallas Cowboys, where the Cowboys compiled a 30-14 record, including postseason appearances. Since 2006, when NBC picked up the rights to broadcast the NFL’s premier game of the week, Dallas has gone 15-15 on that network, including postseason appearances.
A total of five former Cowboys have called TV games in the series: Eddie LeBaron, Don Meredith, Roger Staubach, Troy Aikman, and Daryl Johnston. Only former head coach Hank Stram has been the only ex-Saint to call games in the series on TV.
On KXAS, the NBC affiliate for Dallas-Fort Worth, the Cowboys are an all-time 40-30, including simulcast cable games from 1987-90.
GENE STERATORE FACTS
This week’s referee is Gene Steratore. Since becoming a referee in 2006, the Cowboys are 1-4 when Steratore officiates their games. Here are the results:
2006 – DET, 31-39 – L
2008 – TB, 9-13 – W
2010 – @MIN, 21-24 – L
2011 – @PHI, 7-34 – L
2013 – PHI, 22-24 – L
Surprisingly, Dallas is has won the penalty battle 4/5 times under Steratore:
2006 – DET: 7/65; DAL: 4/45
2008 – TB: 7/58; DAL: 5/35
2010 – MIN: 5/45; DAL: 11/91
2011 – PHI: 6/33; DAL: 3/20
2013 – PHI: 6/50; DAL: 1/5
New Orleans is 5-4 when Steratore referees their contests. Here are the results:
2006 – TB, 24-21 – W
2007 – CAR, 13-16 – L
2007 – @ATL, 34-14 – W
2008 – @ATL, 20-34 – L
2009 – @Rams, 28-23 – W
2010 – TB, 13-23 – L
2011 – NYG, 49-24 – W
2013 – ATL, 23-17 – W
2013 – @CAR, 13-17 – L
The Saints have won the penalty battle 4/9 times with Steratore as referee:
2006 – TB: 8/66; NO: 9/49
2007 – CAR: 7/59; NO: 5/35
2007 – ATL: 4/40; NO: 3/20
2008 – ATL: 2/25; NO: 7/45
2009 – Rams: 4/20; NO: 6/40
2011 – TB: 7/54; NO; 5/45
2011 – NYG: 4/32; NO: 11/104
2013 – ATL: 2/19; NO: 6/57
2013 – CAR: 3/26; NO: 4/40
Steratore has officiated four NFC East-NFC South games with the series split 2-2 on his watch:
2008 – Tampa Bay at Dallas – 13-9 Dallas
2009 – Atlanta at NY Giants – 34-31 NY Giants
2012 – Atlanta at Philadelphia – 30-17 Atlanta
2013 – Washington at Atlanta – 27-26 Atlanta
Even in the penalty battle, there is an even split as no division has an advantage:
2008 – TB: 7/58; DAL: 5/35
2009 – ATL: 3/16; NYG: 8/64
2012 – ATL: 6/40; PHI: 6/57
2013 – ATL: 7/73; WAS: 9/66
Steratore has refereed eight Sunday Night Football games, including playoffs, and the home and away sides each have four wins:
2007 – Indianapolis at San Diego – 23-21 San Diego
2007 – Philadelphia at New England – 31-28 New England
2008 – Indianapolis at San Diego – 23-20 Indianapolis
2010 – NY Jets at Indianapolis – 17-16 NY Jets
2011 – Dallas at Philadelphia – 34-7 Philadelphia
2012 -- Houston at Chicago – 13-6 Houston
2013 – Denver at New England – 34-31 New England
2013 – Philadelphia at Dallas – 24-22 Philadelphia
However, the visiting teams have won the penalty battle 5/8 times on the NBC package with Steratore as ref:
2007 – Colts: 4/21; SD: 10/78
2007 – PHI: 3/18; NE: 7/44
2008 – Colts: 3/15; SD: 5/37
2010 – NYJ: 3/15; Colts: 2/10
2011 – DAL: 3/20; PHI: 6/33
2012 – HTX: 3/35; CHI: 5/49
2013 – DEN: 9/85; NE: 5/36
2013 – PHI: 6/50; DAL: 1/5
This season, Steratore has overturned 2/3 challenges. He is 1/1 with Replay Assistant and 1/2 with coaches’ challenges.
When Steratore has officiated Cowboys games, he has overturned 4/5 challenges with only 1/4 of those overturns benefiting Dallas. He is 1/4 with coaches’ challenges and 1/1 with Replay Assistant. Opposing coaches are 3/3 in challenges when Steratore is referee.
When Steratore has refereed New Orleans games, he has overturned 2/12 challenges with 9/12 of those decisions benefiting the Saints. He is 2/8 with coaches’ challenges and 0/4 on Replay Assistant. Sean Payton is 2/5 on challenges with Steratore.
The last Cowboys running back to start off the year with a rushing touchdown in each of the first three games was Marion Barber in 2008.
Two weeks ago in Tennessee, Murray fumbled after a nine-yard carry. Last week in St. Louis, he fumbled after a nine-yard reception.
Much is made of Murray fumbling in each of the first three games. However, he is currently on a four-game fumbling streak because he lost a fumble on a two-yard gain in last season’s Week 17 showdown with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Murray’s 385 rushing yards are a full 70 yards ahead of second place, Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell.
If Murray posts another 100-yard day against the Saints, he will become the first Cowboys running back since Emmitt Smith in 1995 to open the year with four straight 100-yard games.
In last year’s 49-17 blowout loss in New Orleans, Murray had a 5.6 YPC and a rushing touchdown.
The Cowboys have had a running back lose a fumble for five consecutive games going back to Week 16 of 2013 in Washington when fullback Tyler Clutts lost a fumble after a four-yard catch.
The last Saints running back to carry for 100 yards or more was Pierre Thomas in Week 2 of 2012 at Carolina. Thomas rushed 9 times for 110 yards.
Pierre Thomas walked onto the 2007 Saints as an undrafted free agent. The last Cowboys running back to have been as tenured as long as Thomas was Emmitt Smith.
Since 2010, Witten has 366 receptions to Graham’s 325. However, Graham has 4,117 yards to Witten’s 3,929.
The Saints give up 24 points per game while the Cowboys give up 24 per game.
Through three games, Rob Ryan’s defense has four sacks while Rod Marinelli’s has just three.
To this point, Rob Ryan’s defense has only one takeaway while Rod Marinelli’s has four.
Teams are 2/2 on fourth downs against the Saints compared to 1/3 against the Cowboys.
The team against whom Chris Boniol, the previous record holder for most Cowboys consecutive field goals made, missed his 28th field goal against the Chicago Bears on Opening Day 1996.
Drew Brees played Texas high school football for Austin Westlake. The Cowboys are 3-7 against former Texas high school quarterbacks in AT&T Stadium.
Joe Vitt is the second (’05 Rams) and fourth (’12 Saints) interim head coach to have defeated the Cowboys. Only Pat Peppler (’76 Falcons) and Jim Haslett (’08 Rams) can claim to have beaten Dallas as interim head coaches.
The New Orleans Saints have had 7 interim head coaches since their 1967 inception, the most in the league in that timeframe.
The Dallas Cowboys have only ever had 9 defensive coordinators: Dick Nolan, Ernie Stautner, Dave Wannstedt, Butch Davis, Dave Campo, Mike Zimmer, Brian Stewart, Paul Pasqualoni, and Rob Ryan. The Cowboys are 3-1 when they have faced their former defensive coordinators serving in the same capacity elsewhere.
New Orleans is tied as having hosted the most Super Bowls with 10: IV, VI, IX, XII, XV, XX, XXIV, XXXI, XXXVI, and XLVII. The Superdome has hosted the most Super Bowls with 7: XII, XV, XX, XXIV, XXXI, XXXVI, and XLVII.
The Dallas Cowboys won the first ever Super Bowl played indoors, Super Bowl XII played in the Superdome.
The New Orleans Saints have had three ex-Cowboys assistants as head coaches: Dick Nolan, Mike Ditka, and Sean Payton. Dick Nolan is the only one who did not get a win against the Cowboys.
Cowboys Pro Scout Alex Loomis is the son of Saints general manager Mickey Loomis.
Rita Benson LeBlanc, granddaughter of owner Tom Benson, is the Saints vice chairman, thus making her one of six women who are NFL owners and/or executives. The other five are Dawn Aponte, executive vice president of football administration with the Dolphins, Bengals executive vice president Katie Blackburn, 49ers owner Denise DeBartolo York, Bears owner Virginia Halas McCaskey, and the Dallas Cowboys executive vice president Charlotte Jones Anderson.
Tom Benson bought the New Orleans Saints in 1985. Along with Jerry Jones, they are two of six current owners who began their tenures in the 1980’s. The other four owners are Virginia Halas McCaskey (1983), Alex Spanos (1984), Pat Bowlen (1984), and Dan Rooney (1988).
Not even a year into his NFL ownership, Jerry Jones led a group known as the Chicago 11 to block the installation of then-Saints GM Jim Finks as Commissioner Pete Rozelle’s replacement. Ultimately, Paul Tagliabue succeeded Rozelle thanks to Jerry Jones and the Chicago 11.
The Dallas Cowboys are 6-1 on 9/28 in team history. Here are the results:
1969 – @NO, 21-17 – W
1975 – Cardinals, 37-31 – W-OT
1980 – @GB, 28-7 – W
1997 – CHI, 27-3 – W
2003 – @NYJ, 17-6 – W
2008 – WAS, 24-26 – L
2009 – CAR, 21-7 – W
The Dallas Cowboys have two birthdays to celebrate on Sunday:
Jim Cooper, OT, 1977-1986 – 9/28/1955
Alex Barron, OT, 2010 – 9/28/1982