Rolando McClain with solid effort

Last week, Rolando McClain appeared doubtful for Sunday night’s game against the New Orleans Saints.

The Dallas Cowboys linebacker was battling a groin injury and hadn’t practiced until Friday, and when he did step onto the field, it was in limited fashion. Sunday night, McClain was a force, again, for a Cowboys’ defense that was part of a strong effort in a 38-17 victory.

"I just had to work out with the trainers before the game and I felt OK," said McClain, who forced a fumble and recorded two tackles.

McClain didn’t start the game because the Cowboys were in the nickel defense, but he was in on the base package at middle linebacker.

"I need them," McClain said. "I need to be on the field. They want me on the field, we need everybody. It’s not taking one, it’s taking everybody to finish the game. It was a great team win, it’s not just me, it’s everybody."

Through four weeks, McClain, who has 17 total tackles, 14 solo, has set the tone with his violent tackles and aggressive play.

The Cowboys have missed several players because of injuries to linebacker Justin Durant, defensive end Anthony Spencer and defensive tackle Henry Melton.

All three, along with McClain, participated in Sunday’s victory.

The Cowboys needed them to erase what happened in last season’s loss to the Saints. The Cowboys allowed 625 yards in a 49-17 loss in New Orleans. The return meeting was in Arlington, and the Cowboys were aggressive to the ball and were able to contain quarterback Drew Brees and the Saints' high-powered offense.

"It was physical," McClain said of Sunday’s win. "I wasn’t here last year, but we watched the tape from the game and it was embarrassing and everybody knew that. As a defense, we just want to go out and play better."