Then (1971) and Now (2015): Cowboys vs. Patriots

Jethro Pugh (75) and Larry Cole (63) pressure rookie quarterback Jim Plunkett in the 1971 game between Dallas and New England.

Jethro Pugh (75) and Larry Cole (63) pressure rookie quarterback Jim Plunkett in the 1971 game between Dallas and New England.

The Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots have never faced one another during a week 5 in the past. However, the teams have played during week 6 three times, including 1971, 2007, and 2011. New England won the last two of these three games while Dallas won the game in 1971.

Overall, Dallas leads the series, 7 games to 4. However, the Cowboys have not defeated the Patriots since 1996.

Let’s remember some better days today and review the 1971 game.

Then (1971): The Cowboys and Patriots had never played one another in a regular-season game. The teams faced off in 1971, one year after the NFL-AFL merger.

Now (2015): Dallas and New England play each other every four years under the current NFL scheduling system. The Cowboys won the first seven games against the Patriots, but New England has owned Dallas in the four games played between 1999 and 2011.

Then: The Patriots were led at quarterback by rookie Jim Plunkett. He was a highly touted Heisman Trophy winner, but he struggled for many years before leading the Oakland Raiders to two Super Bowl titles.

Now: The Patriots are led at quarterback by Tom Brady. He was a 6th-round pick out of college and entered the NFL without any expectations. However, he had immediate success and has led the Patriots to four Super Bowl titles.

Then: The Cowboys reached the Super Bowl in 1970 with a rookie running back named Duane Thomas. He was such a disruption that the Cowboys traded him to the Patriots in August 1971. NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle later voided part of the trade because Thomas caused so many problems in New England, and Thomas played the 1971 season in Dallas.

Now: The Cowboys reached the playoffs thanks to the running of DeMarco Murray. The Cowboys let him leave via free agency, and the Eagles signed him. He has been ineffective thus far, leading at least a few Philadelphia fans to want to send him back to Dallas.

Then: Dallas head coach Tom Landry developed an ill-fated system of alternating quarterbacks Roger Staubach and Craig Morton. The system failed miserably, and by the time Dallas played New England, the team was 3-2.

Now: Dallas head coach Jason Garrett has had to rely on backup Brandon Weeden, who has been largely ineffective against the Falcons and Saints. Losses to those teams have dropped the Cowboys’ record to 2-2. Garrett may need to turn to backup Matt Cassel if Weeden continues to struggle.

Then: Dallas was a regular contender by 1971 and would eventually win the Super Bowl that season. New England, on the other hand, had been to the AFL playoffs only once and would not reach the Super Bowl for another 14 years (1985 vs. Chicago in Super Bowl XX).

Now: New England has been to six Super Bowls in the past 14 years, and the Patriots have looked like Super Bowl favorites thus far in 2015. Dallas, on the other hand, has been to the playoffs only five times during the past 15 years and has not reached the Super Bowl in 20 years.




Losses by Touchdowns in Overtime

No-OvertimeAs we all know, the Dallas Cowboys lost to the New Orleans Saints on a 80-yard touchdown pass from Drew Brees to C.J. Spiller in overtime. At 13 seconds, it marked the fastest overtime win in NFL history.

The Cowboys are now 20-16 in overtime games since the league added overtime in 1970. Of those 16 losses, 6 have occurred when the opposing team has scored touchdowns. Here is a summary.

1975: Washington 30, Dallas 24

The Cowboys had a 24-17 lead in the fourth quarter, but a touchdown pass from Billy Kilmer to Jerry Smith tied the game. Kilmer scored on a one-yard touchdown run in overtime to give Washington the win.

The win dropped Dallas to 5-2 while improving Washington’s record to 5-2. The Redskins, however, lost two straight overtime games to the Cardinals and Raiders. Washington ended up with an 8-6 record and missed the playoffs, while Dallas finished at 10-4 and made it all the way to the Super Bowl.

1987: Minnesota 44, Dallas 38

This was Danny White’s last good game as he threw for 341 yards and 4 TDs. However, he threw three interceptions as well, including one in overtime as it appeared that Dallas would be in position for the game-winning field goal. Darren Nelson scored on a 24-yard touchdown run in OT, ending the game.

Dallas missed the playoffs that year, while the Vikings made it to the NFC Championship Game.

2000: Jacksonville 23, Dallas 17

The Cowboys overcame a 17-7 halftime deficit to force overtime. However, Mark Brunell hit Alvis Whitted on a 37-yard touchdown pass less than four minutes into overtime to win the game for Jacksonville.

2008: Arizona 30, Dallas 24

The Cowboys scored 10 points in the final two minutes, including 3 on a 52-yard field goal by Nick Folk as time expired. However, the Cardinals blocked a Mat McBriar punt in overtime and returned it for the game-winning touchdown.

2011: Arizona 19, Dallas 13

The Cowboys lost a second-half lead to the Cardinals, and the teams went to overtime. Arizona ended the game quickly as Kevin Kolb hit LaRod Stephens-Howling on a 52-yard catch and run for the score.

2015: New Orleans 26, Dallas 20

Backup Brandon Weeden led Dallas on a game-tying drive in the fourth quarter, and the Cowboys then watched as the Saints missed a potential game-winning field goal.

The Dallas celebration was short-lived, though, as Brees hit Spiller for the long touchdown on the second play of overtime.

New Orleans 26, Dallas 20 (OT): Defensive Confusion

The Dallas Cowboys lose to New Orleans after a long touchdown play in overtime.

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Then (1983) and Now (2015): Cowboys vs. Saints

Cowboys vs. Saints: Compare the 2015 game with one that took place in 1983.

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Brandon Weeden’s New Place in Team History

Brandon Weeden made team history against the Atlanta Falcons. Find out how.

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Atlanta 39, Dallas 28: A Solid 29 Minutes of Football, but Then…

The Dallas Cowboys could not build on momentum from a solid first half and lost 39-28 to the Atlanta Falcons.

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Live Blog: Dallas Cowboys vs. Atlanta Falcons

Dallas Cowboys vs. Atlanta Falcons: Week 3 Live Blog. The Cowboys face the Falcons in the first game after Tony Romo suffered a clavicle injury.

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Then and Now: Cowboys vs. Falcons, 1986 vs. 2015

Compare Sunday’s Cowboys vs. Falcons game with the week 3 game in 1986.

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Blocked Punts Returned for Touchdowns

Since 1960, the Dallas Cowboys have returned five blocked punts for touchdowns.

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Dallas 20, Philadelphia 10: Big Win, Big Cost

Tony Romo injured in a 20-10 win by the Dallas Cowboys over the Philadelphia Eagles.

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