NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The New Orleans Saints' dreams of a perfect season have ended in the Superdome.
Tony Romo and DeMarcus Ware helped Dallas end its December doldrums and the Dallas Cowboys held off a frenzied rally by the Saints for a 24-17 upset.
The Cowboys scored touchdowns on their first two possessions. Romo hit Miles Austin on a 49-yard TD pass and Marion Barber added two rushing scores as the Cowboys built a 24-3 lead.
Linebacker Ware was questionable earlier this week after straining his neck in a headfirst collision last Sunday against San Diego. But he played well and was part of a ferocious Dallas defense that kept the pressure on Saints QB Drew Brees.
The Saints rallied with two TDs in the fourth quarter but their unbeaten dreams ended when Brees was hit and fumbled in the final minute for his third turnover of the game. Romo was a turnover-free 22-of-34 for 312 yards and a TD.
The loss drops the Saints to 13-and-1 and leaves the 14-and-0 Indianapolis Colts as the NFL's only unbeaten team. The Colts have the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills left on their schedule after easing by Jacksonville last Thursday night to open Week 15 of the NFL season.
The Cowboys improved to 9-and-5 and moved within a half-game of NFC East-leading Philadelphia. It's the Cowboys' first win in December and ends their two-game losing streak.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)