The Patriots lost to the Dallas Cowboys in overtime on Sunday, 35-29, in a game in which Dallas gave them multiple opportunities to steal a victory. New England did not take advantage of these opportunities and as a result they sit at 2-4, with all four losses coming at home. The biggest obstacles the Patriots have had this season showed themselves on Sunday: not taking advantage of opponent mistakes and not executing consistently in critical situations.
The Cowboys outgained the Patriots 567-335 and ran 82 offensive plays to the Patriots 50. With numbers like that, it would be easy to assume that the Cowboys won in a blowout. The Patriots forced two turnovers in the end zone, the second of which on a terrific strip by Ja’Whaun Bentley on a 4th and Goal quarterback sneak by Dak Prescott. However, the Patriots did not get points off either turnover.
Four plays after the first Dallas turnover, a Kyle Dugger interception, Mac Jones was strip-sacked and the first half ended after the Bentley forced fumble. One play before the Jones fumble, Jakobi Meyers scored a touchdown, but it was called back due to a holding penalty.
The Patriots got the ball to start the second half, but went three and out. Later in the half the Patriots took a 21-20 lead on a Rhamondre Stevenson touchdown run. The Cowboys ensuing drive resulted in a missed field goal with 2:42 left in the game. All the Patriots needed was a couple first downs and they would win. Instead, the Patriots gave the Cowboys the lead.
After a run for no-gain, the Patriots were penalized for delay of game and faced a 2nd and 15. Choosing to throw, Mac Jones overthrew a pass that was intercepted by Travon Diggs and returned for a touchdown. Had the Patriots chose to run the ball there and punt after 3rd Down, or if Jones had thrown a better pass, the game may have ended differently.
After the pick-six, Jones and the Patriots offense responded in terrific fashion, connecting with Kendrick Bourne on a 75-yard touchdown pass on the first play after the interception.
Unfortunately, the Patriots defense could not hold. In what became the defining play of the game, the Cowboys’ offense faced a 3rd and 25 on their own 45 with 31 seconds left. Prescott found CeeDee Lamb for 24 yards, which set up a makeable 49-yard field goal. Had the Patriots defense held the Cowboys there, or even only given up 10-12 yards, they probably would have won.
The Patriots won the coin toss in overtime but failed to score. The Cowboys scored on their first drive to win. For New England, it is yet another game where they missed multiple chances to add points or prevent their opponent from scoring. The Patriots could easily be 5-1 if they executed better at the end of games and took advantage of opponents mistakes, but instead they sit two games below .500. If the Patriots are going to make the playoffs, they need to fix these issues. The clock is ticking on their season.