FOXBOROUGH – The Patriots improved to 5-1 entering their bye week with a hard-fought 20-16 victory over the Cowboys.
Let’s take a quick look back:
WHY DID THE PATRIOTS WIN?
The defense held the Cowboys to just six points off of four Patriots turnovers, and then Tom Brady and his receivers were able to make enough plays when it counted – on a 10-play, 80-yard scoring drive with 22 seconds left.
S Patrick Chung (wind knocked out) returned to the game.
THREE THINGS TO FEEL GOOD ABOUT
- Situational defense: There’s a lot to hash out about the Cowboys’ strategy in the red zone and late in the game, but the bottom line is Dallas only 16 points total and only six off four turnovers. The results speak for themselves.
- Defensive line: Whether it was the run or pressuring Tony Romo, the Patriots’ defensive line appeared to have its best all-around game of the season and got contributions from everyone, not just Vince Wilfork, Andre Carter and the occasional flash from Kyle Love.
- You have No. 12 playing at home: Apparently everyone but Cowboys coach Jason Garrett knows Brady is just about unbeatable at home, so if you give him the ball back down a field goal with 2:31, the chances are heavily in favor of Brady winning the game. Which he did.
THREE THINGS TO WORRY ABOUT
- Offensive line: Brady was sacked three times and knocked down at least five more times. It was tough sledding with the run as well.
- Chad Ochocinco: We’ve stayed off the beat-him-up bandwagon, but he clearly fell out of favor with Brady when he barely got off the line and then didn’t make a basic route adjustment in the third quarter. At least try to appear that you have a clue. They really don’t need Ochocinco until late in the season, and we were willing to give him until after the bye week, but we’re beginning to wonder what’s the use?
- Secondary: OK, we’re reaching a little bit here pending a film review, but if Miles Austin doesn’t drop two passes on one drive, and Garrett inexplicably never targets Dez Bryant in the red zone, you wonder how the game might have looked.
- Tom Brady: That’s a damn good defense, and beat them at the end. Take the next week off, Tom.
- Andre Carter: He played strongly in three of the first five games, but he finally broke through with two sacks against the Cowboys.
- Gronkandez: 15 catches, 142 yards and one touchdown. OK, so Hernandez fumbled. Still a beast of a game when the other pass catchers combined for 12 receptions.
Then at Pittsburgh Steelers (4-2), Oct. 30, at 4:15 p.m.
Result: Steelers beat the Jaguars 17-13.