Tom Brady spent a lot of the first half under pressure from the Cowboys defense, but five sacks and several other hits weren’t enough to keep the Patriots from jumping out to a 13-3 lead.
The Cowboys weren’t quite as successful at getting into the pocket come the second half, but the Patriots defense remained nearly impregnable and Brady threw a pair of touchdown passes that led to a 30-6 victory. The first score came on a short pass to Dion Lewis, who would have had an admirer in Patches O’Houlihan for the way he dodged, dipped, dove, ducked and dodged his way into the end zone. The second score was a pass the Julian Edelman turned into a 59-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter after being sprung on a pick by Danny Amendola.
Brady got crushed by Greg Hardy after making that throw, but stayed in the game and finished the game by completing 10-of-11 passes in the second half. The final Patriots score came after a Brandon Weeden interception in the fourth quarter guaranteed there would be no late drama and the Pats didn’t really get threatened at any point after halftime on the way to a 4-0 record.
The Cowboys may have had a chance to put some pressure on at the tail end of a 15-play, 75-yard drive that left them with a fourth-and-2 from the five-yard-line with a little more than a minute to play in the third quarter. Jason Garrett elected to kick a field goal that cut the lead to 14 points rather than try for a touchdown that would actually challenge the Patriots’ ownership of momentum.
It’s understandable that the Cowboys want to avoid taking too many risks with an offense that’s missing Tony Romo and Dez Bryant, but they need to take some if they are going to win games before those two are back in the lineup. The defense played as well as anyone could have realistically hoped through three quarters of the game, but there was no support coming on the other side of the ball and no reason to believe trying the same thing again again will have any better result.
Thankfully for the Cowboys, there’s a bye next week and some hope that Bryant will play against the Giants on October 25.
The Patriots have already had their bye week. They’ll be in Indianapolis for a date with the Colts that the team’s fans have been circling with fervor ever since the words deflate and gate were first pushed into unholy alliance. Sunday’s cool, efficient outing for the Patriots makes it feel like not too much has changed on the New England end of things, which might make for bad news for the Colts.