ARLINGTON, Texas - Tony Romo and the Cowboys are in the same situation they would have been if they had been able to complete their comeback against New Orleans.
With the New York Giants losing later Sunday, Dallas' 34-31 overtime loss to the Saints didn't hurt its playoff chances.
"It is disappointing, but most anything that we were coming up with, we had to win the Washington game next weekend," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said minutes after his team lost.
Well, for the third time in five seasons, the Cowboys can get to the playoffs by winning their regular-season finale on the road against an NFC East rival, this time at Washington. They lost such games against the Giants last New Year's night and vs. the Eagles in 2008.
Romo threw two of his four touchdowns in the final 3 minutes, 35 seconds of regulation, including a 19-yarder to Miles Austin with 15 seconds left. But Dallas (8-7) stalled after gaining only 16 yards on its lone overtime possession.
Romo also had a pair of 58-yard scoring passes to Dez Bryant, who had a career-high 224 yards receiving on nine catches.
The Saints (7-8) got a game-ending 20-yard field goal from Garrett Hartley on the play after Marques Colston caught a pass, was stripped, and the ball was recovered by New Orleans at the 2.
Playing near the home of suspended Saints coach Sean Payton, Drew Brees threw for 446 yards and three touchdowns.
The Saints, who started 0-4 after getting stunned by Payton's yearlong ban in the team's bounty scandal, saw their playoff hopes end with Minnesota's win over Houston.
After New Orleans forced a punt in overtime, Brees moved the Saints to the Cowboys' 33. He completed a pass to Colston, who took a couple of steps before Morris Claiborne stripped the ball, sending it rolling toward the end zone.
The completion was held up on review, and Hartley made the winning kick on the next play.
Saints 34, Cowboys 31
N.O. 7 10 7 7 3 – 34
Dallas 0 14 3 14 0 – 31
NO–Ingram 9 run (Hartley kick), 10:25.
Dal–Bryant 58 pass from Romo (Bailey kick), 12:47.
Dal–Bryant 58 pass from Romo (Bailey kick), 5:43.
NO–Moore 6 pass from Brees (Hartley kick), 1:11.
NO–FG Hartley 37, :00.
Dal–FG Bailey 47, 10:26.
NO–P.Thomas 5 pass from Brees (Hartley kick), 4:03.
NO–D.Thomas 3 pass from Brees (Hartley kick), 11:10.
Dal–Harris 16 pass from Romo (Bailey kick), 3:35.
Dal–Austin 19 pass from Romo (Bailey kick), :15.
NO–FG Hartley 20, 10:33.
First downs 33 18
Total Net Yards 562 446
Rushes-yards 38-116 11-40
Passing 446 406
Punt Returns 2-10 2-39
Kickoff Returns 4-60 2-29
Interceptions Ret. 0-0 0-0
Comp-Att-Int 37-53-0 26-43-0
Sacked-Yards Lost 0-0 2-10
Punts 5-52.6 6-51.2
Fumbles-Lost 2-0 1-1
Penalties-Yards 6-42 5-32
Time of Possession 41:59 22:28
Rushing: New Orleans, Ingram 21-53, Sproles 9-48, P.Thomas 7-16, Brees 1-(minus 1). Dallas, Murray 11-40.
Passing: New Orleans, Brees 37-53-0-446. Dallas, Romo 26-43-0-416.
Receiving: New Orleans, Colston 10-153, Sproles 7-104, Graham 7-88, P.Thomas 7-61, Moore 4-30, Ingram 1-7, D.Thomas 1-3. Dallas, Bryant 9-224, Witten 6-60, Murray 4-51, Austin 4-45, Harris 1-16, Ogletree 1-12, Hanna 1-8.
Missed Field Goals: New Orleans, Hartley 36 (WL).