ARLINGTON, Texas – The Cowboys had a couple of defensive touchdowns in the game, and another big pass to CeeDee Lamb, who had his first TD of the season.
But here are some plays that might not be remembered, but were significant the final score.
Rushed Jones forces overthrow – On the Patriots' first drive of the game, they faced third-and-1 at the Cowboys' 6. Mac Jones was getting heavy pressure by Micah Parsons, forcing him to hurry his throw to tight end Mike Gesicki, who was open in the back of the end zone. Not only the decision not to run the ball there, but then throw it and misfire on the pass, led to the Patriots tying the game instead of taking an early lead. While they needed more than one touchdown, plays like that could set the tone in a positive way but it didn't materialize.
Gonzalez hurt, Cowboys attack the backup – With the Cowboys nearing the red zone late in the first quarter, Patriots rookie CB Christian Gonzalez made a tackle on Tony Pollard at the 20 and suffered an injured right shoulder, forcing him to leave the game. Gonzalez had been covering CeeDee Lamb most of the game to that point. So with him out, the Cowboys attacked backup CB Myles Bryant, who was lined up on Lamb, who beat him for a 20-yard touchdown.
How the NFL scores red-zone attempts – For those that want to focus on the Cowboys' continued red-zone problems, it must be noted the NFL actually doesn't credit plays from the 20-yard line as a red-zone attempt. So technically, Dak's 20-yard pass to CeeDee Lamb for a touchdown doesn't officially help the team's red-zone problems.
Punt by Anger, Tolbert's tackle – Leading 10-3, the Cowboys got a stop on fourth-down when the Patriots tried a QB sneak. But after three-and-out on offense, Bryan Anger boomed a sky-high, 55-yard punt that allowed Jalen Tolbert to get down and make a big tackle on the Patriots returner Damario Douglas at the 10-yard line. After a penalty, the Patriots were sacked by Dante Fowler, who forced a fumble which was recovered by Leighton Vander Esch and returned for a touchdown. But the punt and the tackle pinned the Patriots back that set up the score.
Edoga's penalty helped or hurt record books? – This play certainly didn't affect the outcome of the game. Then again, anything after the first quarter wasn't going to do it. But don't forget that Chuma Edoga had a false start penalty right before Brandon Aubrey's 66-yard field goal attempt. Had he made it, it would've been a Cowboys record and tied the NFL record for longest FG. But the penalty forced the Cowboys to put the offense back on the field and they eventually kneeled on it. Maybe it was a good thing for Aubrey, who has now made 13 straight field goals to open the season.