New England 20, Dallas 16: 57 Minutes of Great Defense

Jay Ratliff and the defense gave Tom Brady trouble, up until the last 150 seconds of the game.

With the Cowboys leading 16-13 with two and a half minutes left in the game, the Cowboys punted the ball to the Patriots. Up to that point, Tom Brady looked very human. He had completed 19 of 32 for 211 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.

Dallas had no answer for Brady on the final drive.

16 to Aaron Hernandez

11 to Rob Gronkowski

5 to Wes Welker

10 to Wes Welker

9 to Danny Woodhead

Incomplete pass

A third-down QB sneak by Brady

13 to Woodhead

6 to Welker

8 to Hernandez in the middle of the end zone. Touchdown. Game over.

 

None of the Patriot weapons hurt the Cowboys badly all game until that final drive. Maybe it was a moral victory for Dallas. But it was certainly the Cowboys’ third loss of the season, with each of those losses coming in winnable games.

At least Tony Romo didn’t lose this game. His biggest mistake came early in the game when he misfired on a throw to either Miles Austin or Dez Bryant and instead found New England corner Kyle Arrington. That gave the ball to the Patriots in Dallas territory, but the Patriots were not able to convert the turnover into a touchdown. A field goal gave New England a 3-0 lead.

Dallas had some early opportunities. One of Brady’s interceptions in the first quarter led to a Dallas field goal. The Cowboys forced a fumble on the ensuing kickoff return, but Tashard Choice fumbled five plays later.

Dallas struggled for a while after the Choice fumble, and the Patriots increased their lead to 13-3. However, Dallas managed a drive in the last five minutes of the second quarter, and Romo’s touchdown to Jason Witten cut the Patriot lead to 13-10.

New England had to punt on one drive. After Dallas tied the game at 13 following a long drive in the third quarter, the Patriots moved the ball into Dallas territory. However, Bradie James stripped the ball from Hernandez after a short gain, and Terence Newman recovered.

The Patriots held the Cowboys, but when New England drove to the Dallas 33, Victor Butler hit Brady’s arm, and Sean Lee caught the pick after another deflection.

The Dallas offense answered by driving 60 yards on 10 plays. However, the Cowboys could not punch the ball in and settled for a field goal. Dallas then led 16-13.

The Cowboys defense had a great drive, forcing a three-and-out. Dallas got the ball back with 3:36 at the Cowboy 28.

Jason Garrett didn’t give Romo a chance to play the goat, calling runs on first and second down. Felix Jones was not on the field because of an ankle injury, and DeMarco Murray was not able to gain positive yardage. Though the Cowboys forced New England to take two time outs, New England still had 2:31 left after the Dallas punt.

At 2-3, Dallas has sole possession of third place in the NFC East. Washington lost to the Eagles today, while the Giants beat the Bills. New York leads the division with a 4-2 record, while Washington falls to second with a 3-2 mark. Philadelphia is a half-game behind Dallas at 2-4.