Patriots

Jason Garrett's baffling choice to kick late field goal cost Cowboys against Patriots

Jason Garrett's baffling choice to kick late field goal cost Cowboys against Patriots

FOXBORO -- Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett is often criticized for his conservative decision-making, and his unwillingness to test the New England Patriots defense late in the fourth quarter of Sunday's Week 12 game at Gillette Stadium might have cost his team a win.

The Cowboys had a 4th-and-7 at the Patriots' 11-yard line with 6:04 remaining in the game, and instead of taking a chance and going for the first down or touchdown, Garrett called on the field goal unit. Brett Maher converted a 29-yard field goal to trim New England's lead to 13-9. The Cowboys never got inside the Patriots' half of the field again and ultimately lost by that 13-9 scoreline.

Garrett tried to explain his decision to kick the field goal after the game.

Yeah, just to give us a chance coming back the other way, 4th-and-7," Garrett said. "You know, make it a four-point game. They go ahead and kick a field goal coming back, you still have a chance to be in the game. We would get it back with just under three, with a chance to go win it. So just felt good about that decision, at that time.

In most situations, kicking a field goal in that spot is the right choice, but Sunday was no ordinary instance. The weather was brutal, with rain and wind making it difficult to throw the ball (Tom Brady and Dak Prescott combined for just 402 passing yards) and kick (there were three missed field goals between the teams). 

The Cowboys also had enormous trouble moving the ball versus a Patriots defense that might be the best unit in the league. Dallas had three second-half drives before the series where Garrett kicked a field goal, and all of those series ended in punts. In fact, the Cowboys never crossed misfield in the second half. 

There was nothing to suggest the Cowboys were capable of moving back down the field and scoring the go-ahead touchdown, which made Garrett's decision to kick that 29-yard field goal absolutely baffling. It was just another example of the massive coaching mismatch on the sidelines at Gillette Stadium.

Pats set incredible new NFL record with win over Cowboys>>>

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Next Pats Podcast: Will Patriots go mobile at QB if Tom Brady leaves?

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Next Pats Podcast: Will Patriots go mobile at QB if Tom Brady leaves?

There's one big question that New England Patriots are facing this offseason. Who is going to be their starting quarterback in 2020?

For the past 20 seasons, the team hasn't really had questions at the position. It has always been Tom Brady's job. But with the 42-year-old set to hit free agency, the Patriots can't necessarily count on him returning unless they want to pay him what he's worth.

So, now the question for the Patriots becomes, what will life look like if Brady departs?

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On the latest episode of The Next Pats Podcast, which returns for its first episode of the 2020 offseason, Phil Perry is here to explore that question. And really what it all boils down to is what the Patriots are looking for in a potential successor.

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As Perry notes, it's likely to be one of two types of quarterback: The traditional pocket passer or a more mobile athlete in the mold of some of the recent success stories at the position.

Do the Patriots look for the next Brady? Uber-accurate, somebody who's going to sit in the pocket and absolutely dissect every little aspect of the defense that he is looking at. Or, do they go a different route? Do they go with an athlete? Do they get more mobile? Because talking to people this offseason, I'm getting a whiff -- I'm getting a scent that people believe the pocket passer might be dead.

Perry is joined by guests including Pro Football Focus' Steve Palazzolo, Greg Cosell of ESPN and NFL Films, and NFL Network's Kurt Warner to answer questions about Brady's future and what his game has looked like in recent seasons.

For more thoughts about the Patriots offseason, check out the latest episode of the Next Pats Podcast, available as part of the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network.

David Ortiz says leaving Patriots wouldn't impact Tom Brady's legacy

David Ortiz says leaving Patriots wouldn't impact Tom Brady's legacy

Over the past 20 years, Tom Brady has established himself as one of the greatest and most beloved athletes in Boston sports history.

But if Brady leaves New England for a new team in free agency this offseason, would that leave a stain on his Patriots legacy? Fellow Boston sports legend David Ortiz doesn't believe so.

The former Red Sox slugger recently spoke with Rob Bradford of WEEI.com about Brady's impending free agency. According to Ortiz, leaving Foxboro behind ahead of his age-43 season won't take away from anything Brady has accomplished with the Pats in the past two decades.

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"His legacy has already been built. It’s always there," Ortiz told Bradford. "That’s not the problem. His problem is not going to be legacy. He could go and play somewhere else for the next 10 years when he returns to New England his legacy is going to be there.

"It’s a good thing to do but you also have to look at your options. I hope he stays with the Patriots, but it’s not up to what I say. It’s his decision. Sometimes an offer at home might be a couple of million less than what you could get on the road. It’s up to you whether you think it’s worth it."

Brady will officially become an unrestricted free agent if he and Patriots don't agree to a contract extension by March 18. Several teams are expected to be in the mix to sign the six-time Super Bowl champion, with the Tennessee Titans and Las Vegas Raiders as two of the most likely destinations.

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