The Dallas Cowboys had a chance to make a statement against New England Patriots Sunday afternoon, but unfortunately fell short. They dropped yet another close one, but it wasn’t all of their doing.
You may or may not have noticed, but there were quite a few controversial calls that went against the Dallas Cowboys. That’s no excuse though, because they were several self-inflicted wounds as well that ended up sealing the Cowboys fate in Foxboro. That’s what I want to discuss today.
Let’s take a look…
Tyron Smith‘s False Start
The Dallas Cowboys had a chance to take an early lead in the first quarter against New England Patriots Sunday afternoon, but unfortunately ended up dropping a goose egg instead because of a false start penalty called on Tyron Smith. This was Smith’s first of three big penalties on the night.
The Cowboys were looking at a 3rd and 5 on the Patriots 27 yard line, but Smith’s penalty pushed them back, making it a 3rd and 10. The next play Dak Prescott failed to pick up the first down on a 4 yard scramble, which caused Dallas to turn to Brett Maher in the hopes he could convert a 46 field goal. Unfortunately his FG attempt missed, forcing the Cowboys to walk away with nothing instead of getting out to a 3-0 lead.
Chris Jones’ Blocked Punt
The one thing everybody knows about the New England Patriots is that they are one of the best teams in the entire NFL when it comes to special teams play. They proved that once again Sunday afternoon against the Dallas Cowboys when Matt Slater was able to slip through and block a Chris Jones punt late in the first quarter.
Unfortunately, the Patriots were able to score the one and only touchdown a few plays later on a perfectly thrown pass by Tom Brady to Rookie WR N’ Keal Harry. This lonely little TD ended up being the difference in the entire game. Special teams play has been a problem for the Cowboys all season and it finally came back to bite them in the butt.
Dak Prescott’s Interception
Dak Prescott has done a pretty good job all season of protecting the ball, but unfortunately one got away from him Sunday afternoon against New England Patriots and it ended up costing the team dearly. The Patriots already had a 7-0 lead on the Cowboys late in the first quarter, but Prescott’s unfortunate INT ended up extending that lead to 10-0.
You may have forgotten, but it was on a 3rd and 2 play when Prescott tried to fit the ball into Amari Cooper for the first down. Unfortunately CB Stephon Gilmore undercut the route and made a pretty impressive fully extended interception giving the Patriots the ball at the Cowboys 26 yard line. New England was only able to pick up three measly yards in the next few plays and ended up having to settle for a Nick Folk FG.
Travis Frederick‘s Tripping Penalty
It’s rare that you see a tripping penalty called in the NFL, but I believe we saw three such penalties in the game between the Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots on Sunday. Unfortunately, two of those were called against Dallas and the most controversial of which went against Center Travis Frederick. This was yet another play that likely doomed the Cowboys.
Frederick’s tripping penalty was unfortunately yet another drive killer for the Cowboys. They had just converted on a 3rd and 2 on a 15 yard pass to Amari Cooper, but the penalty ended up negating that completion. Dallas was enforced to try to convert a 3rd and 13, but Prescott’s pass to Tavon Austin sailed out of bounds. This ended yet another promising drive by the Cowboys.
Tyron Smith’s Holding Penalty
Like I mentioned earlier, Tyron Smith didn’t have his best game against the New England Patriots. Late in the fourth quarter he ended up having his third penalty called against him right before the two-minute warning and it ended up negating an Ezekiel Elliott first-down. This play probably ended up being a drive killer and quite possibly cost the Cowboys the game.
It was a 3rd and 1 right before the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter. Dak Prescott was able to complete a pass to Ezekiel Elliott for 3 yards to pick up the first down, but unfortunately Smith’s holding penalty negated that conversion and forced the Cowboys to try to convert a 3rd and 11. The next two plays were an incomplete pass to Randall Cobb and a catch by Amari Cooper of the middle that was eventually overturned after review. The end result was a turnover on downs.