Cowboys 100: Facts + Figures for New Orleans Saints

You've been waiting all week for a... battle of the backups? How often have backup quarterbacks faced each other on SNF? What about Sean Payton's record in prime time games? How impressive has Lance Dunbar's first three games been? We've got that and more with our patented facts, so check them out!



This is the 25th time the Cowboys have started 2-1 in club history. They have made the postseason 14/24 times the team has made the playoffs.


This is the 13th time in franchise history the Saints have started 0-3. The Saints have never made the playoffs after a 0-3 start. The best they have ever done after such a three-game start is finish 8-8 in 1979.


Since 1990, 127/196 teams that started 3-1 made the playoffs compared to 93/239 teams that started 2-2.


Since 1990, 24/163 1-3 teams have made the playoffs compared to 1/85 0-4 teams. That lone 0-4 team is the 1992 San Diego Chargers.


Since 2002, the Cowboys are 5-6 in Week 4 games.


Dallas is wearing their blue jerseys in New Orleans for the first time since 1971, ending a 45-season drought. The only other place with a longer blue jersey drought is Pittsburgh at 47 seasons.


The Cowboys are 2-1 in their blue jerseys against the Saints. This is the first time they will wear them in the Superdome.


Since 2009 when the NFL started wearing pink accessories in October to raise awareness for breast cancer, the Cowboys are 8-14 in the month.


The Cowboys are 2-2 against the Saints in October. In fact, this is the first time since 1988 Dallas will play New Orleans in October.


Dallas is 6-7 in New Orleans with their last win coming on Dec. 19, 2009. Here are the results by venue:

Tulane Stadium: 3-1

Mercedes-Benz Superdome: 3-6


Sunday night features a battle between two former Cleveland Browns quarterbacks. Brandon Weeden was drafted in the first round in 2012 while Luke McCown was taken in the fourth round in 2004.





Weeden is 1-8 on the road as a starter in the NFL with an 81.8 passer rating. His average stats are 21/37 for 250 yards for one touchdown and one interception and taking two sacks.


Weeden has faced a Rob Ryan defense once before: Nov. 18, 2012 when Weeden was a rookie with Cleveland playing on the road against the Cowboys. The Browns lost 23-20 in overtime, but Weeden went 20/35 for 210 yards and two touchdowns for a 93.8 passer rating and took two sacks.


© Eric Hartline | 2015 Sep 20 | USA Today

"He played a hell of a game the other day." -- Cowboys COO Stephen Jones on Weeden last week

Weeden is 2-8 against 3-4 defenses with a 67.9 passer rating. He averages 20/36 for 206 yards, one touchdown, one interception, and takes two sacks.


Weeden is making his first start in the road blue jerseys. He is the first backup quarterback to wear them since Brad Johnson on Oct. 19, 2008 when Dallas fell 34-14 to St. Louis. Here is how other Cowboys backups have fared in the road blues:


Steve Walsh: 1-0

Jason Garrett: 1-0

Glenn Carano: 1-0

Kevin Sweeney: 1-0

Steve Beuerlein: 1-0

Craig Morton: 1-0

Randall Cunningham: 1-1

Steve Pelluer: 1-1

Roger Staubach: 0-1

John Roach: 0-1

Brad Johnson: 0-1

Gary Hogeboom: 0-1





Though starting his second game for the Saints, McCown is already 1-0 in the Superdome. On Dec. 2, 2007, McCown led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a 27-23 win at New Orleans.


McCown is 2-8 as a starter. His last win was Sept. 11, 2011 when he led Jacksonville to a 16-14 win over Tennessee with a 17/24, 175-yard performance with a 91.5 passer rating.


McCown is 2-5 as a starter against 4-3 fronts with an 87.1 passer rating. He averages 20/29 for 218 yards, one touchdown, one interception, and takes 3.5 sacks.


Last week, McCown posted an 89.7 passer rating in the Saints’ 23-21 loss at Carolina, the fourth-highest of his career.


McCown is the first quarterback not named Drew Brees to start in New Orleans since Dec. 26, 2004 when Aaron Brooks led the Saints to a 26-13 win over the Falcons.


McCown also is the first quarterback since Aaron Brooks to start in a prime time game for New Orleans. On Dec. 12, 2005, Brooks started for the Saints on Monday Night Football in Atlanta in a 36-17 losing effort.


McCown has never faced the Tampa-2 defense either as a starter or in a relief role.





This is the fifth straight season that Garrett has started the year 2-1. Only 1/4 of those previous seasons results in a playoff berth (2014).


Garrett has a 10-13 record on the road.


Garrett has prevented a loss from turning into a losing streak 12/21 times.


Jason Garrett is 11-13 in prime time games. Here is the breakdown by network:

NBC: 8-9

ESPN: 1-3

NFL Network: 2-1



"I think we love playing whenever they have us scheduled to play. The Cowboys for years have always played a lot of night games, Thanksgiving games, all those kinds of games and we really embrace that opportunity." -- Jason Garrett on playing on Sunday Night Football

Garrett is 5-8 in away prime time games compared to 6-5 at home.


Garrett’s teams are 5-3 in the blue road jerseys. Here is how he compares to other Cowboys coaches:


Wade Phillips: 6-2

Jason Garrett: 5-3

Tom Landry: 35-33-1

Chan Gailey: 2-2

Jimmy Johnson: 7-8

Barry Switzer: 3-5

Bill Parcells: 3-7

Dave Campo: 2-5


Garrett is 3-1 with backup quarterbacks in road games.





Payton is now 0-2 with backup quarterbacks.


Payton leads all New Orleans coaches with a 21-11 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: 21-11

Aaron Kromer: 1-0

Joe Vitt: 1-2



Sean Payton surpassed Jim Mora in 2013 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.


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: 3-2



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

Philadelphia: 4-1

Dallas: 3-2

Washington: 1-2



Payton’s teams are 26-7 when they score first at home, including playoffs.


Payton started out the year 0-3 in 2007. The Saints finished 7-9 and failed to reach the playoffs.


Payton has never had a five-game losing streak. The last time the Saints had a five-game losing streak was in the final weeks of 2005 when Hurricane Katrina displaced the team.


3/8 of the previous Saints 0-4 starts in club history resulted in the head coach being fired midseason or at the end of the year. Payton is one of those 5/8 who survived.





This is the fourth time the Cowboys and Saints are facing each other on NBC Sunday Night Football, making it the most common intra-conference matchup in series history.


Dallas and New Orleans have played seven prime time games in their series with the Cowboys holding a 5-3 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

2014 – Saints-Cowboys – NBC – 38-17 Cowboys

*Sunday night special, delayed 1:45 due to Reagan-Mondale presidential debate


Sunday’s game makes the ninth 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 slot:

Early games: 9-7

Late games: 2-1

Prime time: 5-3


The Saints are 7-0 on NBC Sunday Night Football at home.


New Orleans will be the first 0-3 team to be on NBC Sunday Night Football.


The Saints began playing in 1967 and have appeared in 82 prime time games. Since 1995, the Cowboys have appeared in 83.


New Orleans is 17-13 when Al Michaels calls their games compared to Dallas’ all-time record of 45-31. The ledger favors the Saints at 3-2 when Al Michaels calls a game in this series.


Dallas is 18-16 when Cris Collinsworth calls their games while the Saints are 12-3.


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.


Jason Witten and L.P. Ladouceur are tied for the most appearances by a player on Sunday Night Football with 34 apiece.


Sunday night will make the first time that backup quarterbacks have faced each other on Sunday Night Football since NBC took over in 2006.

"To me, it doesn't really matter. Any time, anywhere, any place. You've just got to be ready to go no matter who you're playing and no matter where you're playing." -- Travis Frederick on if he likes playing on Sunday nights

Since 2006, backup quarterbacks are 11-21 on NBC Sunday Night Football, including playoffs.


The last backup quarterback to win at home on Sunday Night Football was T.J. Yates of the Houston Texans in the 2011 AFC Wildcard against the Cincinnati Bengals.


The last backup quarterback to win on the road was Colin Kaepernick as the San Francisco 49ers defeated the New England Patriots 41-34 on Dec. 16, 2012.


Home teams are 7-2 on Sunday Night Football in the first game of October and are currently on a six-game winning streak.


The Cowboys are 0-3 on Sunday Night Football with their backup quarterbacks starting.


The Saints are the only NFC team the Cowboys have never beaten on FOX (0-9).


On KXAS, the NBC affiliate for Dallas-Fort Worth, the Cowboys are an all-time 44-30, including simulcast cable games from 1987-90.


Since their 1964 inception, the Cowboys are 10-12 in their road blue jerseys in prime time.


Dallas is 3-0 in their blue jerseys on Sunday Night Football.





This week’s referee is Brad Allen, a second-year referee who is officiating his first game with the Cowboys. Allen refereed a Saints game Dec. 28, 2014. Here are the results:


2014 – New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 23-20 New Orleans


The Saints also won the penalty battle going 2/15 while the Buccaneers were 4/23.


New Orleans did not challenge in that game, though Replay Assistant was 1/2 with one of those calls benefiting the Saints.


After three weeks, Allen is tied with John Hussey for the absolute worst home team winning percentage in the league:


Ed Hochuli: 1.000

Terry McAulay: 1.000

John Parry: 1.000

Bill Vinovich: 1.000

Gene Steratore: .667

Clete Blakeman: .667

Jeff Triplette: .667

Carl Cheffers: .667

Walt Coleman: .500

Tony Corrente: .500

Pete Morelli: .333

Jerome Boger: .333

Craig Wrolstad: .333

Ron Torbert: .333

Walt Anderson: .333

John Hussey: .000

Brad Allen: .000



In terms of the home team having fewer penalties, Allen is tied with Terry McAulay for the absolute best percentage in the league:


Brad Allen: 1.000

Terry McAulay: 1.000

Clete Blakeman: .667

Bill Vinovich: .667

Craig Wrolstad: .667

Jeff Triplette: .667

Carl Cheffers: .667

Walt Coleman: .500

Tony Corrente: .500

Jerome Boger: .333

John Parry: .333

Gene Steratore: .333

Pete Morelli: .333

Ed Hochuli: .333

Walt Anderson: .333

John Hussey: .000

Ron Torbert: .000



Last year, Allen had a home team winning percentage of .400, which was tied with Walt Coleman for the lowest in the league. However, Allen led the league in the home team winning the penalty battle at .733 – a complete reversal compared to the first three weeks of 2015.


This is Allen’s first-ever Sunday Night Football game.


This is the second time this season the Cowboys will get an officiating crew that had the week prior off.






Dallas and Oakland are tied for the most false start penalties with eight each. The Cowboys lead the league in away false start penalties with six.


Witten is tied with Chicago’s Vladimir Ducasse and Atlanta’s Jared Veldheer for the most false start penalties with three each.


The Cowboys are tied with five other teams for third-most offensive holding penalties with seven.


Dallas has yet to get charged with an offside call this year.


Witten has three false start penalties through three games. In the past two seasons combined, he only had three. His personal worst for a season is six set in the year 2006.


Witten’s 21 catches through three games is the most he’s had to start to a season.


Witten’s 181 yards through three games is tied with 2009 as the fourth-most yards he’s had to start a season.


Witten’s two touchdown catches through three games are tied with 2007 and 2013 as the most touchdown receptions he’s had to start a season.


Witten is 1-2 against Rob Ryan’s defenses. He averages four catches for 46 yards.


Witten is 14-12 all-time in the road blue jerseys. He averages four catches for 41 yards.


Through two games against the New Orleans Saints, tight end Gavin Escobar has one catch for six yards.


Last week, running back Lance Dunbar had 10 catches, which were the most by a Cowboys running back since Felix Jones’ 10 receptions for 61 yards on Oct. 17, 2010.


Dunbar’s 100 yards last week were the most by a Cowboys running back since Marion Barber’s 128 on 11 catches on Oct. 12, 2008.


"Catching the ball, running the ball, I'm just trying to make plays. I feel like I can do it either way." -- Lance Dunbar on his role in the offense

Dunbar leads NFL running backs with 21 receptions. He is tied with teammate Jason Witten not only for top spot on the team, but for 13th-most in the league.


Dunbar’s 215 receiving yards are the most by a running back in the NFL. The second-most belongs to New England’s Dion Lewis with 179 yards.


The Cowboys running game has amassed 316 rushing yards through three games. This is the 12th-fewest rushing yards to start the season in franchise history.


Through three games in 2015, the Cowboys have earned 316 rushing yards. Though very low, it is still the third-best rushing output to start a season in the Garrett era.


Despite relying on a running-back-by-committee, the Cowboys have rushed the ball 77 times through three games, tying it for 10th-most rushing attempts to start a season.


New Orleans is 2-0 when Mark Ingram plays for them. He has a yards per carry of 5.7 and averages 18 carries for 99 yards and a touchdown.


Ingram’s 3.26 yards per carry through three games is his third-best start to a season.


Ingram’s 127 yards rushing through three games is his third-best start to a season.


Ingram’s two rushing touchdowns through three games is his second-best start to a season.


Ingram is 4-4 against Tampa-2 defenses averaging 5.0 yards per carry. On average, he carries the ball 12 times for 61 yards and a touchdown.


The last time quarterbacks not named Drew Brees or Tony Romo started in this series was Dec. 12, 2004 when Aaron Brooks led the Saints into Texas Stadium to face Vinny Testaverde and the Cowboys. New Orleans won 27-13.


Since Oct. 23, 2006, the only Dallas backup quarterbacks to start on the road have been Brad Johnson, Jon Kitna, and Stephen McGee, who combined for a 3-4 record in Romo’s absence.


Last week, La’el Collins became the first undrafted rookie since Phil Costa in 2010 to start at left guard for the Cowboys.


The Cowboys’ three sacks through three games is tied for second-fewest sacks to start a season. Remember sacks weren’t official NFL stats until 1982.


The Cowboys’ three total takeaways through three games is tied with eight other seasons for the fifth-fewest to start a season. 4/8 of those teams made the playoffs with all winning playoff games.


The Cowboys offense’s six giveaways is tied for the 24th-fewest in club history.


Since 2006, the Cowboys are 11-13 against Texas high school quarterbacks.


Sunday night could be the first home game for the Saints that Drew Brees has not started since his arrival in 2006.


At age 36, Brees is the fourth-oldest starting quarterback in New Orleans franchise history.


Saints linebackers coach Joe Vitt is the second (’05 Rams) and fourth (’12 Saints) interim head coach to have defeated the Cowboys. Pat Peppler (’76 Falcons) and Jim Haslett (’08 Rams) are the only others who can claim to have beaten Dallas as interim head coaches.



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.



Dallas is 2-5 on 10/4. Here are the results:


1964 – @CLE, 6-27 – L

1965 – @Cardinals, 13-20 – L

1970 – @Cardinals, 7-20 – L

1981 – @Cardinals, 17-20 – L

1987 – @NYJ, 38-24 – W

1998 – @WAS, 31-10 – W

2009 -- @DEN, 10-17 – L



The Cowboys have five birthdays to celebrate on Oct. 4:


Issiac Holt, CB, 1989-92 – 10/4/1962

John Roper, LB, 1993 – 10/4/1965

Ryan McNeil, CB, 2000 – 10/4/1970

Ken-Yon Rambo, WR, 2001-02 – 10/4/1978

Woodrow Dantzler, RB, 2002 – 10/4/1979

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