The Patriots beat the Dallas Cowboys, 13-9, to improve to 10-1. The triumph ensured that the Patriots, as they chase a seventh Super Bowl title with Brady as their quarterback and Bill Belichick as their coach, will remain ahead of the Baltimore Ravens this week in the race for the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs.
The outcome also left Cowboys owner Jerry Jones venting his displeasure in the visiting locker room after his team’s record dropped to 6-5.
“This is very frustrating, and it’s frustrating to me to just be reminded that some of the fundamentals of football and coaching were what beat us out there today,” Jones said.
The Patriots’ issues were, by comparison, first-world NFL problems. Their inconsistency on offense remains worrisome, and there is probably no help on the way with tight end Rob Gronkowski expected to stay in retirement and the Patriots unlikely to re-sign free agent wide receiver Antonio Brown.
Brady threw for only 190 yards on 17-for-37 passing Sunday. He was forced to rely on rookie wide receivers N’Keal Harry and Jakobi Meyers, with veterans Mohamed Sanu and Phillip Dorsett inactive. Harry had his first NFL touchdown catch, and Meyers contributed four catches for 74 yards. But there also were mistakes. It didn’t help that kicker Nick Folk missed two of his four field goal attempts.
“I think every team develops at different times and so forth,” Brady said. “I think we just take the challenges as they come and try to do the best we can. It was a great win. They’re a good football team. I’m happy we came away with more points than them.”
The Patriots scored 10 points off a blocked punt by special teams ace Matthew Slater and an interception by cornerback Stephon Gilmore of a pass by Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott. They moved a total of 15 yards on those two scoring drives. The conditions certainly were a factor. But they have leaned heavily all season on the league’s top-ranked defense. That’s nothing new.
“I was really proud of the way guys stood up and came through,” Belichick said. “We were missing a few players. We had a couple guys that were playing that were well less than 100 percent. But they really sucked it up and played hard for the team and gave us a great effort tonight.”
Belichick’s defense won the showdown with the Cowboys’ top-ranked offense. Prescott threw the interception to Gilmore and was limited to 212 passing yards. Tailback Ezekiel Elliott ran for 86 yards, but the Cowboys scored on only three field goals by kicker Brett Maher. The third of those came with just more than six minutes remaining after Coach Jason Garrett opted against a fourth-and-seven try from the New England 11-yard line.
The Cowboys also had a fourth-down diving catch by wideout Amari Cooper for a first down with less than two minutes left nullified by an instant replay review that ruled the ball hit the turf. Cooper, blanketed by Gilmore all day, was held without a catch. The Cowboys remained a game ahead of the Philadelphia Eagles atop the NFC East. That didn’t pacify Jones.
“I don’t think there’s a game that a coaching staff has … that it couldn’t do better in,” he said. “I just don’t like it that we’ve got so many as I’m standing here tonight.”
Jones said that, to him, special teams play “is 100 percent coaching.” He said he didn’t “want to get into anything about coaching relative to changes.” But he didn’t hide his exasperation.
“I’m frustrated,” Jones said. “This was an important game for us to win. We all saw why we didn’t win. That’s very frustrating. We had a lot of things we had to show up for. The quality of our opponent was tops. But they were certainly a team that we can beat. They should be beatable. And I’m disappointed we didn’t get it done. And it was pretty glaring as to why we couldn’t get it done.”
Game highlights can be found below.
November 24, 2019 at 6:43 PM EST
Patriots take lead into fourth quarter
Afternoon has given way to evening, and the conditions are no kinder at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots and Cowboys traded punts in a scoreless third quarter and New England takes its 10-6 lead into the fourth quarter. Each team punted three times in the third quarter.
The Patriots’ top-ranked defense is prevailing so far in its matchup with the Cowboys’ No. 1-ranked offense. The Cowboys have 203 yards of total offense through three quarters, two fewer than the Patriots. Dak Prescott has only 102 passing yards for Dallas, 33 fewer than Tom Brady has for New England. Brady has connected on only 10 of 24 passes. (Patriots 10, Cowboys 6 after the 3rd quarter)
November 24, 2019 at 6:05 PM EST
Halftime in Foxborough
The Patriots lead the Cowboys, 10-6, at halftime in rain-soaked Foxborough, Mass., after a field goal-fest in the second quarter. The Cowboys got two field goals by Brett Maher in the quarter, to one by the Patriots’ Nick Folk. But Folk also missed from 46 and 48 yards, with the second misfire coming as time expired in the half. Folk’s successful kick in the second quarter, from 44 yards, made it a 10-0 game and was set up by a diving interception by cornerback Stephon Gilmore of a pass by Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott.
The Patriots have scored off a blocked punt and an interception in this game. Their two scoring drives have totaled 15 yards. Maher connected from 46 yards and 27 yards in the second quarter after missing from 46 yards in the first quarter. The Cowboys used seven straight running plays to set up the first field goal before Prescott missed on a third-and-three pass. The second field goal was set up by a 22-yard completion from Prescott to wide receiver Michael Gallup and a roughing-the-passer penalty on the Patriots. But the Dallas drive stalled at the New England 9-yard line.
Prescott is wearing a glove on his throwing hand for the first time in his NFL career, in the difficult conditions. He had only 84 first-half passing yards, but the Cowboys had some success in the running game, with Ezekiel Elliott rushing for 61 yards in the half.
Sony Michel ran for 54 yards for the Patriots, while Brady threw for 102 yards on only seven-for-16 passing. Brady is being forced to rely on rookies N’Keal Harry and Jakobi Meyers, with the Patriots shorthanded at wide receiver. Harry had a first-quarter touchdown catch and Meyers had two catches for 55 yards in the half. But there also were mistakes. Harry had a second-quarter drop along the sideline and Meyers appeared to be in the wrong spot on one of his catches, as he ended up nearly side by side with Julian Edelman and later offered a “my fault” tap on his chest. (Patriots 10, Cowboys 6 at halftime)
November 24, 2019 at 5:05 PM EST
Pats use blocked punt to lead after soggy first quarter
The Patriots have a 7-0 lead over the Cowboys after a soggy first quarter at Gillette Stadium. Tom Brady threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver N’Keal Harry as the Patriots cashed in on a blocked punt by special teams ace Matthew Slater. Harry made a nice catch along the sideline on a back-shoulder throw by Brady. It was the first career NFL touchdown catch for Harry, making him the 75th different player to which Brady has thrown a touchdown pass.
The windy and rainy conditions in Foxborough are a huge factor. The Cowboys, with the NFL’s top-ranked offense coming into the game, punted twice in their first three possessions. The closest they came to scoring was when kicker Brett Maher missed a 46-yard field goal attempt, as the football bounced off the left upright and out.
The Patriots punted on each of their first two drives before taking over at the Dallas 12-yard line after the blocked punt. The New England offense is benefiting from the return of left tackle Isaiah Wynn, who was just activated off the injured reserve list. But the Patriots are shorthanded at wide receiver with Mohamed Sanu and Phillip Dorsett on the inactive list for this game. (Patriots 7, Cowboys 0 after the 1st quarter)
November 24, 2019 at 4:00 PM EST
Patriots host Cowboys in marquee game
Two of the NFL’s most glamorous franchises get together Sunday in a game with major postseason implications for both teams. The Patriots, with a record of 9-1, are trying to stay ahead of the Baltimore Ravens for the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs. The Ravens, who are 8-2 but have a tiebreaker edge over the Patriots after beating them, play Monday night in Los Angeles against the Rams. The Cowboys, at 6-4, are a game ahead of the Philadelphia Eagles for the NFC East lead.
The Patriots go for the sweep of the NFC East after already beating the Washington Redskins, New York Giants and Eagles. They won, 17-10, at Philadelphia last Sunday, with their lone touchdown coming on a trick-play pass thrown by wide receiver Julian Edelman.
Quarterback Tom Brady was listed as questionable on the Patriots’ injury report because of an ailing elbow, but is expected to play. He should get a boost from the expected return to the lineup of left tackle Isaiah Wynn, who was activated from the injured reserve list and has not played since Week 2 because of turf toe. But the Patriots are hurting at wideout with Edelman, Mohamed Sanu and Phillip Dorsett all listed as questionable on the injury report.
The real intrigue comes when the New England defense is on the field against the Dallas offense. The Patriots lead the league in total defense and scoring defense. The Cowboys are ranked first in total offense (although they’re only fourth in scoring offense). Quarterback Dak Prescott has had three straight games with three touchdown passes and has totaled 841 passing yards in the last two games. The Cowboys might need to be more balanced in this game, with tailback Ezekiel Elliott coming off consecutive outings with less than 50 rushing yards.
The Dallas defense will be without linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, who is out with a neck injury.
November 24, 2019 at 3:45 PM EST
How to watch Patriots-Cowboys
Here is broadcast information for the game:
When: Sunday at 4:25 p.m. Eastern
Where: Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.