What went right …
1. ‘D’ up— To give up just 16 points to a superb offense like Dallas’ is a true testament to the improvement of the defense over the last two weeks. They held the Cowboys to just 4-for-12 on third down. And in the fourth, Dallas had the ball with a three-point lead and just over three minutes to play. The Pats ‘D’ needed to stand strong, and it held Dallas to three and out —getting the offense that one last chance.
2. The last drive — Down three points, the Pats got the ball with 2:31 left to play. That’s Tom Brady time. Starting from his own 20, the QB immediately hit Aaron Hernandez for 16 yards, then Rob Gronkowski for 11. A Wes Welker catch netted New England 5 yards, then Brady hit him for a first down on the Dallas 38. Danny Woodhead hauled one in for 9 yards the next down, and two plays later caught a key 13-yarder to the 14. Welker put the Pats inside the 10, and Hernandez made a nice catch for the TD. It was, in short, classic.
What went wrong …
1. No O-line — Dallas’ defensive unit is strong, and they made sure Brady knew it all game, knocking him down repeatedly. It was the constant pressure that prevented the Pats from pulling away.
2. Coughing it up — Four turnovers? That’s very unlike New England. Fortunately for them, Dallas didn’t make the most of those key opportunities.
3. Can’t solve Rob — The Pats waited until the closing seconds of the fourth quarter to score their first points of the second half. The four drives before that? Punt, fumble, interception, punt. Their 20 total points are the fewest since Week 9 of last season — when Rob Ryan was defensive coordinator of the Browns.