Saints set NFL first down record in win over Cowboys

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON-- New Orleans Saints running back Darren Sproles (43) scores the second of his touchdowns and celebrates with New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) during a NFL football game between the New Orleans Saints and the Dallas Cowboys in New Orleans, La. Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013. Show caption
Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON-- New Orleans Saints running back Darren Sproles (43) scores the second of his touchdowns and celebrates with New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) during a NFL football game between the New Orleans Saints and the Dallas Cowboys in New Orleans, La. Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013.

The Saints set an NFL record for the most first downs in a game (40) and Drew Brees passed for 392 yards and four touchdowns in a 49-17 victory against the Dallas Cowboys in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Brees completed 34 of 41 passes.

The previous mark for the most first downs in a game was 39, which was tied three times prior to Sunday

Brees and the Saints offense did their best work in the first half.

The Saints led 7-3 in the first quarter when Brees threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to receiver Marques Colston. It was Colston's first touchdown reception since the season opener.

But the Cowboys came back with a touchdown of their own on the ensuing possession to take a 10-7. Running back Demarco Murray ran around left end for a 7-yard touchdown with 14:05 left in the second quarter.

Then the Saints scored 21 unanswered points to take a 28-10 lead at halftime. Running back Pierre Thomas had a 1-yard touchdown run to give New Orleans a 14-10 lead with 4:18 left. Darren Sproles had a 3-yard touchdown run to make the score 21-10 with 2:29 remaining. Brees finished the scoring with a 28-yard touchdown pass to Sproles with 48 seconds left.

Brees completed 26 of 30 passes for 252 yards and three touchdowns in the first half. He threw a team record 19 consecutive completions in the first half.

The Saints increased their lead to 35-10 when Mark Ingram scored on a 4-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.