|New England Patriots||7||3||0||3||13|
This was the tripping penalty game. I am going to address this immediately; I had the sound off watching this game because other things were going on. When they showed the replay of the Travis Frederick trip, I thought ‘That’s a pretty soft holding call’. It wasn’t until after the game that I learned it was not one but two tripping calls that I didn’t even see on broadcast.
The Patriots began the game missing Dorsett and Sanu. Edelman was limited by an injury. Even Brady was suffering from an injury to his throwing elbow. Wynn and Harry had both come off the IR, the latter playing in the Eagles game too. The Cowboys had one of the best offenses, which some people found impressive, and the best record in the NFC East at 6-4, which is decidedly less impressive. Combined with the heavy fall New England rains, the game would be defined by the Patriots defense picking up the slack once more.
The run blocking for Michel was much better this game, the special teams unit got into the action again, and N’Keal Harry picked up his first touchdown on a beautifully executed back-shoulder fade. Both teams accumulated decent yardage, but a combined 5-27 third-down conversions and three missed field goals resulted in a 10-6 halftime lead for New England.
The third quarter was a trade of punts and the Patriots picked up another field goal early in the fourth to go up by seven points. It is the decision making from Garret in the subsequent series that dominated the postgame talk. The Cowboys were down seven points. A touchdown, with the extra point, is worth seven points. If a team is down seven points and kicks a field goal, they will be down four points and still need to score a touchdown regardless as to whether the FG is good or not. Therefore, if you are down seven points with little time remaining, you should go for it on fourth down to try and score a touchdown for seven points. So when the Cowboys had their only good drive of the second half reach a 4th-and-7 from the Patriots 11 yard line, they naturally decided to kick a field goal for three points.
The Cowboys did manage to get the ball back, but they still needed a touchdown and their drive was effectively ended when the aforementioned tripping call overturned a third down conversion. The Patriots had made it to 10-1, including a perfect 4-0 against the NFC East. They were carried by their defense once again. Meanwhile, the Ravens were on their heels at 9-2 and held the head-to-head tiebreaker. The next game for the Patriots was the other Texas team, this time in Texas.