ARLINGTON, Texas – The Cowboys had some fight early in the game, especially on defense, but defending Tom Brady and the Patriots for four quarters is quite a chore.
The Patriots pulled away in the second half with a convincing 30-6 win at AT&T Stadium.
On Saturday, the staff writers gave their gut feeling for Sunday's game. Check out the instant reactions from the staff of DallasCowboys.com.
David Helman:I said before the game that I thought the Cowboys would fight, and that I thought New England would pull away on a late touchdown to Julian Edelman. That more or less proved to be correct, but I came away surprised at exactly how inept the Dallas offense was. I called for the Cowboys to score 20 points against a so-so New England defense. But if you watched this game, you know that the thought of Dallas scoring an offensive touchdown was laughable. The Cowboys had two decent drives, both of which ended in field goals, and the rest was a disaster. I'm really not sure if benching Brandon Weeden would accomplish anything, but the limitations of this offense with him under center are obvious. The Cowboys couldn't move the ball, and even though the Dallas defense played well, you knew it was only a matter of time before Tom Brady took control. I honestly thought the Cowboys did a solid job of limiting Brady – for the most part – but it just isn't enough when your offense can't answer. I did think the defense would force some turnovers, and that turned out to be wrong. But it was the offense, or lack thereof, that was the difference against the Patriots.
Bryan Broaddus: One thing the Patriots have always done is a great job of having personnel that fits their scheme. Dion Lewis is that type of a player. He might not be a prototypical every down back but what he gives them is a player that can line up at a number of different spots and be that difference maker. Give the Patriots credit in the way they used him as a receiver in space. By doing this they forced Barry Church to have to walk outside and cover him which is not his strength at all.
Nick Eatman: Overall, I wasn't too far off here, but saying the Cowboys would put up some offensive numbers was embarrassing. Brandon Weeden struggled to get the ball down the field and Terrance Williams didn't help him much. The Cowboys have no playmakers on offense right now and it's killing any kind of momentum on that side of the ball. The Patriots, and any defense for that matter, has no reason but to stack the line of scrimmage and dare Weeden to beat them. The defense was great, led by Greg Hardy and that was fun to see. But they also wore down in the second half as expected. Defensively, it was something to build on, but any way you slice it, it's a three-game losing streak heading into the bye.
Rob Phillips: Well, I got the 30 points part right. I expected Tom Brady and the Patriots' offense to make their plays, and conversely, I expected the Cowboys' offense to attempt to control the clock and establish some balance in order to keep their defense fresh and keep Brady off the field. By halftime Dallas had five sacks, exceeding their single-game high in any game from last season, and Greg Hardy and Rolando McClain were big-time factors in their return from suspension. Problem was, the Cowboys won time of possession in the first half (16:03 to 13:57) but only had three first downs to New England's 12. The Patriots finally broke loose in the second half with back-to-back 80-yard touchdown drives. The one time Dallas got in the red zone they kicked a field goal. Can't beat the world champs that way, but again, they were simply missing too key players to keep pace with the world champions.
For the initial gut feeling predictions of the staff writers posted on Saturday, click here: