From their embarrassing loss against the Jacksonville Jaguars to their incredible win against Bill Belichick and the Patriots in October, the Dallas Cowboys’ 2021 season has been a rollercoaster.
The Jaguars, who as of October stand 2-6 including preseason, beat the Cowboys 34-14 in a devastating preseason game that rocked Cowboys fans.
But the Cowboys, who stand 5-5 as of their game against the Patriots, claimed victory over the 6-time Super Bowl winners, bringing their wins to 5 alongside their losses.
With these unprecedented game results, while all three division opponents lost earlier in the day, the Cowboys earned their fifth straight win to take a commanding lead in the NFC East.
Blogging the Boys writer David Howman called the Cowboys a “work in progress” after their loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but Dallas’s football team managed to exceed expectations.
How have the Cowboys moved from huge losses to unexpected wins over the course of one season?
The return of quarterback Dak Prescott proved beneficial to the Patriots game; quarterbacks Garrett Gilbert and Cooper Rush subbed in the Jaguars game with subpar results.
Prescott threw a 35-yard pass to CeeDee Lamb in overtime, taking the game 35-29.
Though he felt pain in his calf after the game, he was pleased with the results.
“Just came down funny. Didn’t like what I felt,” said Prescott, who wore a walking boot to his postgame news conference.
“Life keeps throwing punches and I’m gonna keep throwing them back. … But I’ll be fine. I’ll promise you that.”
Prescott led the Cowboys on a 40-yard drive, and kicker Greg Zuerlein’s 49-yard field goal sent the game to overtime.
Dallas ended it after New England punted on its first possession in OT as the Patriots dropped to 0-4 at home for the first time in coach Bill Belichick’s 22 years as coach.
Prescott’s total 445 passing yards are the most ever against a Bill Belichick-coached Patriots team, including the playoffs.
His game-winning touchdown pass to CeeDee Lamb in overtime was not a good look for Patriots defensive back Jalen Mills, who got beat badly on the play.
Coach Mike McCarthy, Cowboys coach since 2020, seemed happy about the game results, but no post-game interview was given.
Even in the loss, the run game’s effectiveness was very much a bright spot for the Patriots.
Despite this, offense struggled to extend drives throughout the game.
They didn’t have a single drive of four or more plays through three quarters, finally going on a long drive in the fourth quarter.
It went 75 yards on 13 plays and took 6 minutes and 50 seconds off the clock.
In the opinion of NBC’s Nick Goss, “the Patriots need to be better against the pass and limit big plays or they will continue losing these close games.”
Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson also wasn’t great; he committed a pass interference penalty near the end zone on a third-quarter drive.
This penalty ended with a Cowboys touchdown.
However, hope isn’t lost for the Pats; lots of good quarterbacks are on the schedule for the end of the season, including Josh Allen (twice), Justin Herbert, Ryan Tannehill, Matt Ryan and Baker Mayfield.
Against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Patriots gave one of the worst rushing performances in league history.
Though the Cowboys also lost against the Bucs, their performance was better than that of the Patriots’.
The Cowboys’ next game is scheduled for October 31 against the Minnesota Vikings. The Patriots play the Los Angeles Chargers on the 31st as well, with a predicted win for the Patriots.