What we learned

Even with the playoffs finally out of their reach, even after they gave up two late TDs to allow the Cowboys to force overtime, the Saints weren’t going to give up easily — responding with a 72-yard drive that led to the game-winning field goal.

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Drew Brees became the first player in NFL history to throw for 4,500 yards in three straight seasons when he surpassed that mark in the first half. With 4,781 yards, he needs just 219 yards next week to chalk up his third 5,000-yard season in five years.

Final thoughts

After a dreadful 0-4 start, the Saints — to their credit — have played like everyone thought they would play this season with a 7-4 record since then and have an opportunity to finish 8-8 in their finale next week against the Carolina Panthers.

Sheldon Mickles