The Patriots have so many ways to beat you, and the Cowboys avoided a lot of them Sunday. They kept Wes Welker in check. They didn't get run on too badly. Tom Brady didn't have one of those wild, five-touchdown, 450-yard games.
But an old problem of the Cowboys' crept up to bite them, as Brady bested the Cowboys' passing defense by working the ball to his tight ends. Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski led New England with eight catches and seven catches, respectively, combining for 142 yards.
Hernandez, who Brady targeted 14 times, made the game-winning touchdown catch with 22 seconds left in the fourth quarter, beating cornerback Mike Jenkins on an in route to give the Pats a 19-16 lead.
"No excuses, he caught the ball," Jenkins said. "I've got to be on my man and I've got to make that play. Guys on this team look for me to make plays like that. I've got to finish the play ... He's a good player. Tom Brady's a real good quarterback. But I've got to finish that play."
Hernandez had a 16-yard catch on the first play of Brady's 10-play, 80-yard charge to win the game, and Gronkowski followed it up with an 11-yarder.
So far this season, Hernandez and Gronkowski have combined for 56 catches, 690 yards and eight touchdowns.
"They're some of the best tight ends in the league," linebacker Sean Lee said. "Big, they run well, they're quick. We tried hitting them. We tried doubling them in certain situations. But they did a good job getting open. We knew it was going to be tough."