Patriots hold off Cowboys to assure 17th consecutive 10-win season
The Patriots had fewer than 300 yards. Tom Brady passed for fewer than 200 yards. The Patriots scored only one touchdown. They had no scoring drive longer than 38 yards.
The Patriots won anyway, holding on for a 13-9 victory.
It was the Patriots’ 18th consecutive home victory in the regular season and the 21st in row counting the postseason. Carolina was the last road team to win at Gillette, beating the Patriots on Oct. 1, 2017.
The Patriots moved their record to 10-1 to maintain a two-game lead over the Bills. They set an NFL record with a 17th consecutive 10-win season, breaking a tie with the 49ers (1983-98).
The Cowboys, who play the Bills on Thanksgiving Day, fell to 6-5. They remain a game ahead of the Eagles in the division.
New England’s scoring drives covered 12, 3 and 38 yards as special teams and defense bailed them out on a less-than-ideal day at Foxboro.
Matthew Slater blocked a Chris Jones punt that Nate Ebner recovered at the Dallas 12 to set up Brady’s 10-yard touchdown pass to N’Keal Harry, who became the 75th different player to catch a scoring pass from Brady.
Stephon Gilmore‘s interception of Dak Prescott on a pass intended for Amari Cooper set up the Patriots at the Dallas 29 and led to a Nick Folk field goal.
The Patriots’ final score came after two special teams penalties on the Cowboys allowed the Patriots to start at their own 38.
The Cowboys will leave thinking of all the missed opportunities.
On their final drive, the Cowboys gained 27 yards before facing a third-and-one at their own 35. Ezekiel Elliott caught a 3-yard pass from Prescott, but center Travis Frederick was called for tripping, the second questionable tripping call in the game to wipe out a gain on third down for the Cowboys.
Prescott threw incomplete and then thought he had a 20-yard gain to Cooper on fourth-and-11 before replay reversed it. The ball clearly hit the ground before Cooper secured it.
The Patriots held Cooper without a catch, and Prescott, who entered the game leaving the league in passing yards, passed for 212 yards. The Cowboys had 321 total yards.