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brucealan 11-30-2010 08:24 PM

NFC South: Saints Ready to March After Close Call (Sports Network)

(Sports Network) - New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton probably had to wipe some sweat off his brow after a gut-wrenching win at Dallas on Thanksgiving.

Payton's team rode the Cowboys to a 17-0 lead and before it was over, found itself staring down a 27-23 deficit at the two-minute warning.

Enter safety Malcolm Jenkins.

Jenkins, selected in the first round of the 2009 draft to be the Saints' next star defensive back of the future, made the play of the day and one that could springboard New Orleans to another magical run. The former Ohio State star, who appeared in 14 games his rookie season and has made 10 starts in 2010, tracked down Cowboys wideout Roy Williams late in the game and stripped him of the football, giving the Saints possession deep in their own territory with a few minutes to go in the contest.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees, the newly-crowned Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year, was appreciative of the turnover and subsequently led his team on a five-play, 89-yard drive culminated by a 12-yard touchdown pass to Lance Moore with 1:55 remaining. Unfortunately, there was enough time for Dallas to take back the lead, but the Cowboys missed on a game-tying field goal try.

Payton was both relieved and happy in so many words after the game.

"It's a credit to our team's fight by hanging in there the way they did and getting this win," he said. "I was proud of them."

Brees threw for 352 yards with a touchdown toss and interception, and has hit the 300-yard mark in passing five times this season. A big reason for the Saints' Super Bowl-winning season last year, Brees was able to extend New Orleans' season-best winning streak to four games and keep the Saints one game behind surging Atlanta for the NFC South lead.

New Orleans racked up a season-best 414 yards of offense no thanks to the ground game, however. The Saints had just 81 yards rushing, with Julius Jones gaining the most with 45 on 10 carries. Reggie Bush wasn't much of a factor in his first game back from a broken leg suffered in Week 2, as he recorded one catch for 12 yards and one carry for one yard.

NFC South: Saints Ready to March After Close Call (Sports Network)

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