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Penalty Problems Weigh Down Cowboys

On Sunday, the Cowboys snapped a streak that went back even longer than the Patriots' run of 13 straight games scoring 30 points or more.

But just like they were the ones limiting New England's firepower, the Cowboys were themselves responsible for inflicting the damage to break this run of their own.

It had been 15 outings since the Cowboys last recorded double-digit penalties in a game, dating back to their 11-flag day at Minnesota last year. The Cowboys' third game with at least 10 penalties in 2010, it forced the club to enlist local officials to monitor practices and point out fouls to help the team avoid them in games.

With 10 penalties a season-high 77 yards at Gillette Stadium, though, it's apparent this week's lessons didn't travel with the team.

New England, by comparison, was penalized five times for 35 yards.

Anthony Spencer had three flags of his own, one for roughing the passer, one for running into the kicker, and another for being the 12th man on the field, when he couldn't get to the sideline prior to the Patriots snapping the ball.

Offensively, the Cowboys were called for holding three times in the first quarter, and once more in the fourth, and twice were flagged for false start, one of which being the most costly penalty of the game.

In a third-and-13 situation, with 2:47 to play in the fourth, rookie tackle Tyron Smith moved before the snap, eliminating any possibility that the Cowboys would throw a pass to try to move the chains. They ran a draw, punted the ball back to New England, and Tom Brady drove for the game-winning touchdown.

"They stopped a few drives," Tony Romo said. "I think it's disappointing when you look back just because we hurt ourselves in a lot of different situations, and we had some opportunities that got called back, and when you're behind the chains on the road, it's a tough spot to be in and we had too many today."

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