Dallas Cowboys vs. New England Patriots: Live Score, Highlights and Analysis
Final score: Patriots 20, Cowboys 16
The New England Patriots and the Dallas Cowboys don't get many opportunities to meet each other. But fast-forward four years from their previous meet in Irving, Texas. The Patriots dominated that game 48-27 on their way to a perfect regular season—and on the surface, very little has changed.
Tom Brady still runs one of the most explosive offenses in the league in New England, and after a lightning-fast start to the season, the 2010 league MVP is on course to shatter Dan Marino's passing yards record, whilst threatening his own 50 touchdown haul from 2007.
Meanwhile, Tony Romo is still supported by a talented cast-list on offense in Dallas. Romo continues to impress fantasy football owners, but back in the real world, when the game is on the line he is prone to implosion, and the loss to the Detroit Lions in Week 4 will live long in the memory.
The bye week has been timely for the Cowboys, who have been dealing with injuries to Romo (ribs) and Austin (hamstring), allowing them to lick their wounds and regroup.
The last time defensive coordinator Rob Ryan had two weeks to prepare for a Tom Brady offense, his Cleveland Browns destroyed the Patriots 34-14 in Week 9 of last season. And you can be sure that Bill Belichick wore that tape out in the film room this week.
However, the fact remains: Tom Brady simply doesn't lose at Gillette Stadium. At least not in the regular season, anyway; his last taste of defeat came in 2006 when the New York Jets rolled into town.
For the Cowboys to stand a chance today, Romo has to keep pace with Brady's relentless scoring whilst eliminating fourth-quarter mistakes.
Get your popcorn ready. We're in for a feast of points.
Statistically, there was very little to separate the two teams today. In games decided by fine margins, the turnover battle is usually critical, so credit to the Patriots for losing that one 4-2 and finding a way to get the ball into Brady's hands at the death.
Once again, the benefit of having two elite tight ends on the roster showed with both Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski making big plays for the Patriots at critical moments (a combined 142 yards and a score). With the game in the balance through all four quarters, the lack of trust in Chad Ochocinco was evident, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him depart during the bye week.
Given the media scrutiny in Texas, the heat will be turned up on Tony Romo and Jason Garrett this week, but I feel they deserve a break. Gillette Stadium is one of the most difficult venues in the league to visit, and the Cowboys very nearly came away with a collector's item: A regular season win in Foxborough.
That's all from me folks, thanks for following the live blog today. Feel free to post your thoughts on the game in the comments section below.
Onto the housekeeping: Dallas slip to 2-3, but with the St. Louis Rams heading to Arlington next Sunday it would be a real shock if Jason Garrett's men didn't improve to .500. They have to be the best team in the NFL with a losing record right now.
The Patriots meanwhile, head to the bye week with an impressive 5-1 record. The standings won't tell you this, but this defense hung tough in a game where they were expected to wither. Belichick will find plenty to beat his team with over the next fortnight, and ball security will be at the very top of his sermon.
Final Score: Patriots 20-16 Cowboys
This was an old-school win for the Patriots, a hark back to the days when they established the run, and Brady managed the game. He looked in danger of gifting the Cowboys the win during the fourth quarter, but in the final two minutes he demonstrated the ice-cool superiority associated with the "dynasty" years.
For their part, I feel that the Cowboys didn't really deserve to lose that one. Rob Ryan executed the perfect game plan, one which we have seen before in the Patriots' defeat to the New York Jets in last season's wild card playoffs.
Individual Cowboys that deserve an honorable mention include Terence Newman, Sean Lee and Tony Romo, who had a much improved outing from the debacle versus Detroit in Week 4.
Touchdown: Patriots 20-16 Cowboys, 0:22 left on the clock
I pretty much called every aspect of this game badly. Brady evokes the spirit of Super Bowl XXXVI with a picture-perfect two minute drive, ending with a crisp catch by Aaron Hernandez, redeeming his earlier fumble.
This. Is. Tense.
The no-huddle offense is so effective for New England, you almost wonder why they don't use it exclusively. Brady has two minutes to take the drive another 50 yards for the win.
Brady gets the opportunity to prove me wrong. I'm pretty sure he'd like that. 2:31 to go, Patriots get the ball back on their own 20.
Game over? A three-and-out sends Brady to the sidelines with 3:46 left on the clock.
Credit has to go to the Cowboys' secondary, who are using man-coverage to perfection, allowing the rush to get to Brady in time. Even if he gets the ball back for a two-minute drive, I wouldn't back Brady to march the length of the field right now.
New England bend, but don't break again on their goal line; it has been a feature of Belichick's defenses for the past season and a half now.
This has the feel of a playoff game, with none of the execution you'd expect from one. Cowboys settle for a field goal. Tense times.
Patriots 13-16 Cowboys with 5:13 to go
Tom Brady has a passer rating of 63.5 with 6:39 left in the fourth quarter. How often has Brady looked this off-key at Gillette Stadium? Clue: The defense is usually run by a Ryan...
Interception: Sean Lee makes a special play at a key moment. The sky's the limit for the second year linebacker out of Penn State. Generalizing a little bit, but teams that win the turnover battle rarely lose. Put your money on Dallas.
Great hustle from Patriots' cornerback Kyle Arrington on third down to force the Cowboys' punt team out. It's an error-strewn contest, but all the more gripping for it.
Welcome to Romo's Kryptonite: The fourth quarter. With the mood he's in though, this game won't stay tied at 13 for long.
A bizarre game. Every good play is negated by a sloppy one, and vice-versa. Anthony Spencer and Terence Newman are at opposite ends of the spectrum here, hindering and helping in equal measure. No bother, though: Romo has the ball back at the end of the third quarter. Patriots 13-13 Cowboys
What odds on Chad Ochocinco being cut by New England during the bye week? He has done nothing in this game, and not much more all season.
A lot has been made of Jerod Mayo's absence at the center of this Patriots defense, and given the soft coverage on show today, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Mayo would make a difference. Much as I appreciate his work as a solid tackler and defensive organizer, he simply doesn't make the big plays that warrant top ten picks in drafts.
Andre Carter on the other hand...
The drive ends in a field goal. Given how comfortable Romo looked, that is a very disappointing finish. Patriots 13-13 Cowboys
Tony Romo finds his rhythm at last, there are still acres of space in the middle of the Patriots defense, and their secondary is beginning to look ragged. Momentum very much with the Cowboys right now.
No DeMarcus Ware? No problem. Dan Connolly will look out-matched on occasions this season as the Patriots' center, replacing Dan Koppen. But losing the one-on-one match-up when facing a three-man rush is a bit embarrassing.
Most quarterbacks hate to be sat down by a pass-rush, but Brady's Achilles' heel has always been direct, interior rush pressure. Rob Ryan knows this.
It would take a brave man to pick the winner here. Both offenses have almost identical production, both defenses are making plays. Then again, Romo's got a fourth quarter to look forward to.
Half Time: Patriots 13-10 Cowboys I'm thinking of naming my next Bleacher Report article "Why Nick Butterworth Knows Nothing About The NFL". Stuttering offensive drives, turnovers, playmakers on both defenses, and a quiet outing from Wes Welker (save for the touchdown play)? Sure. Next you'll be telling me Belichick and Jason Garrett will fight at the end of the game...
Touchdown: Patriots 13-10 Cowboys I don't think the Cowboys will miss Felix Jones should he be unable to return. DeMarco Murray is much better than advertised, showing elusiveness and speed on that drive. His threat sold the play action to Jason Witten for the short score.
Not a huge amount the Patriots defense could have done about that one. Witten is simply the best in the business.
0:26 left in the second quarter
That's the second time that Dez Bryant has found a soft spot in the center of the Patriots' pass defense. I would persist with those crossing route plays until New England figure a way to plug the middle.
Touchdown: Patriots 13-3 Cowboys. Wes Welker squeezes inside the left pylon to end an impressive drive after a challenge on the play. Aaron Hernandez is the star of the show though; his movement and elusiveness have returned. What MCL sprain?
Look up the phrase "match-up nightmare" online, and you will see a ton of pictures of Rob Gronkowski. We are watching the best two tight ends in the NFL right now for my money.
Remind me which team is coming off a bye week? Romo's timing looks off, and the Patriots' secondary are covering receivers much more tightly than a 32nd ranked team ought to. Patriots get the ball back with 10:37 remaining in the second quarter.
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?