Patriots, Brady Continue to Dominate, Defeat Cowboys 30-6


Despite a slow start, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots were able to fight through and easily handle the Dallas Cowboys 30-6. The Patriots were locked in a 3-3 tie with the Tony Romo and Dez Bryant-less Cowboys after the first quarter, but they were eventually able to exert their will on the team, coming away with a decisive victory.

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Despite playing without Romo and Bryant on the offensive end, the Cowboys had two key defenders return from four-game suspensions on Sunday. Both defensive end Greg Hardy and linebacker Rolando McClain made their season debuts on Sunday, and they were certainly factors early on.

The Patriots’ offensive line had many issues early in the game, giving up five sacks in the first half. McClain had the first sack of Brady on the afternoon, and Hardy had two of the first-half sacks, and was getting to the quarterback quickly even when he wasn’t reaching for the sack.

Both McClain and Hardy made a difference for the Cowboys’ defense, but eventually Brady was able to get going. Late in the second quarter, Brady orchestrated an impressive seven-play 55-yard drive. That drive was capped off with a one-yard touchdown sneak for the quarterback, and set the tone for the rest of the game.

After the Brady rushing touchdown, the Patriots’ defense stalled the Cowboys for a quick three-and-out. Brady pushed the ball up the field, highlighted with a Julian Edelman 24-yard catch-and-run. Patriots’ kicker Stephen Gostkowski hit a 57-yard field goal to end the half, and give the Patriots a 13-3 halftime lead with all of the momentum.

To make matters worse for the Cowboys, the Patriots got the ball at the start of the second half and immediately marched down the field for a score. Running back Dion Lewis capped off that drive with a 10-yard touchdown reception. Lewis caught the Brady pass out of the backfield, and made a couple of defenders miss on his way to the endzone. It was an incredible play by the Patriots’ back, but see for yourself:

The Patriots’ defense was able to hold serve the rest of the game, allowing only a 23-yard field goal by Dan Bailey late in the third quarter.

Brady was able to find Edelman on a huge 59-yard catch-and-run early in the fourth quarter to pretty much put the game away. Gostkowski later added a 34-yard field goal just for good measure.

Brady was great (20/27, 275 yards, 2 TD and 0 INT), Lewis was explosive, LeGarrette Blount was steady (13 carries for 74 yards) and Edelman was incredible (four receptions for 120 yards and one touchdown), but it is important to note the play of the Patriots’ defense. The Cowboys were not able to get anything consistent going in the game, finishing with only 264 total yards for the game, and a lot of that was second half garbage time.

The Patriots’ defense was able to confuse Brandon Weeden throughout the game, and they were never able to get a consistent running game going either. Linebacker Jamie Collins stood out as an impressive defensive performer, making plays all over the field, including great pass defense on tight end Jason Witten. Collins finished with 10 total tackles in the game.

Safety Devin McCourty was also great, playing tough coverage as both a deep safety, and in the man-to-man game on the outside. The Patriots were also able to get nice pressure on Weeden against the Cowboys’ all-world offensive line, with Jabaal Sheard leading the way with two sacks on Weeden.

Simply put a dominating performance all around for the boys from Foxboro.

The Patriots did not come away unscathed in this game however. Star linebacker Dont’a Hightower did not return to the game after leaving with a rib injury in the first half, and left tackle Nate Solder also missed the entire second half with an elbow injury. Both players would be huge losses for the Patriots so it is something to keep an eye on going forward.

Next: Five 2016 NFL Draft Targets for Pats

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