1) I can't begin to tell you about the job that Byron Jones did on Rob Gronkowski. For Gronkowski to end up with just 67 yards – and one of those receptions being 33 yards – says a lot for the way the kid played. In watching Jones work, he was matched up one-on-one throughout the majority of the game, and he didn't flinch, which is a credit to his toughness and preparation in carrying one of the best offensive players in the league all over the field.
2) You saw why Jerry Jones went out and made the commitment to defensive end Greg Hardy this offseason. You can say what you want about Hardy the person, but there is no question about his ability as a player. Patriots left tackle Nate Solder left this game with an elbow injury, but there is a side of me that believes he decided he no longer wanted to face Hardy. When Hardy and Randy Gregory get back on the field together after the bye, you will see an even better pass rush from this defense.
3) I will admit that I was wrong about Darren McFadden. He is not the best back on this offense, but I am not sure if Joseph Randle is either. McFadden overall was just poor. He doesn't appear to be playing with any power or balance. Where I thought he would be a slasher and a second level runner, he is neither. He now goes down way too easy. I was also disappointed in his pass protection. He knows better than to cut block in the middle of the pocket. That decision cost his team dearly.
4) Rolando McClain is a man when it comes to playing the Mike linebacker. This is not a shot at Anthony Hitchens, but this defense missed McClain at that spot. Coming into this game, I felt like to have any type of success against this Patriots offense, the defense had to attack the front of the pocket, and for the most part they were able to put some pressure on Brady. That was largely due to the play of McClain.
5) I am surprised that Jason Witten had even five catches with the way the Patriots were playing him. There were snaps when he had a linebacker jamming him along the line with a safety over the top. Safeties Patrick Chung and Devin McCourty were outstanding at picking up Witten off the line and carrying him up the field. Knew that it was going to be a difficult battle and it was.
6) Julian Edelman didn't have big numbers on the receiving end and a lot of that I thought was due to the pressure that the front seven was able to generate. When you play against an offense that likes to pick and rub like the Patriots do, as a cornerback you have to be ready to handle that. I didn't feel like Morris Claiborne played his best game. He didn't play with enough awareness, and he was too tentative in his approach to Edelman. In his previous assignments, he was aggressive and his overall play was better.
7) I am not typing this as a cop-out, but I am really going to take a strong look at the tape and see what was up with Ronald Leary in this game. I always encourage fans to take a look at all plays and just not three bad ones to evaluate how a lineman performed. I am like coaches and don't like to switch offensive linemen out just to switch them out, but if La'el Collins is a better player then I will write that a switch needs to be made.
8) One my keys for a Dallas victory was third-down conversions. Opponents that defeated the Patriots last season averaged 58 percent in that area. This Cowboys offense only managed to convert 29 percent of the time, and to be honest, it appeared to be far worse.
9) It is clear that these opponents do not respect the Cowboys receivers. This was back-to-back weeks where they had to deal with press coverage, and as a group, they once again didn't handle it well. The Patriots walked right up on them and challenged the receivers to consistently win off the line. For the majority of the game, they were not able to do it.
10) Jason Garrett and the staff made a mistake before the half in allowing that Patriots field goal. If there was a situation where they should have run the ball and played to get out of the half, that was it. There was a 1:12 left with the Patriots holding three timeouts. The offense really wasn't moving the ball and to throw on first down was a mistake. You gave Brady the ball back with 53 seconds and one timeout, which they were able to use to stop the clock with 14 seconds left. The Patriots got the points and the ball to start the half, which they took and also scored.
11) Not going to win many games averaging 3.9 yards a completion.
12) Garrett said that the staff would evaluate the quarterback position during the bye week. Garrett's answer was firm and direct, which is exactly what it needed to be. In my opinion, if Garrett doesn't make a switch, he is in danger of losing this locker room. Players need to believe they are fighting for something, and they need to feel as if they have hope. I would question if they feel this way if Weeden remains the quarterback.