By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Four "ups" and three "downs" from a hard-fought win over the Cowboys for the Patriots in soggy Foxboro.
-- CB Stephon Gilmore. The only catch Amari Cooper made on Gilmore was erased because of a holding penalty on the Cowboys. Other than that, Gilmore basically wiped Cooper off the planet earth with yet another shutdown performance. No catches on two targets? Call it The Gilmore Effect. He also made Prescott pay for his first target to Cooper, as he undercut the route and caught the slightly-behind pass for his fourth interception of the season.
-- ST Matthew Slater. The Patriots special teams captain made arguably the play of the game with his blocked punt in the first quarter, which helped set up the only touchdown of the afternoon. Special teams has been a force for the Patriots this season, in large part thanks to another outstanding season for Slater.
-- WR N'Keal Harry. Welcome to the show! Not an earth-shattering day for Harry by any means, but he made his only catch really, really count. Tom Brady looked his way in a 1-on-1 matchup on the outside in the end zone, and Harry dominated it by reeling in the back-shoulder throw and tapping his feet in bounds to complete his first career touchdown. He didn't have a perfect day - he should have caught a comebacker on the left sideline that clanged off his chest - but after catching the only touchdown of the game, the arrow is finally pointing up for Harry.
-- CB Jonathan Jones. The Patriots' excellent slot CB set the tone for the evening with a pass breakup against Randall Cobb on third down that he made look easy on the Patriots' first defensive drive. He also had a key third-down tackle in the third quarter to stop Cobb for no gain and recovered Chris Jones' blocked punt, which leads us to...
-- RG Shaq Mason. Mason committed an offensive holding penalty that set the offense back into an eventual third-and-20. Brady bailed Mason out, but the right guard allowed Maliek Collins to break through for a sack on the next third down play. He also committed a false start in the fourth quarter. Overall, a step back from last week for Mason.
-- P Jake Bailey. The weather almost certainly played a role in Bailey's sloppy kicks, but this was the first game of the season where Bailey wasn't a major factor. He averaged only 43.8 yards and made three touchbacks.
-- RB James White. Not sure what happened to White on this day, but he wasn't just a non-factor, he was a negative. Just two carries for five yards and one catch for -6 yards, so he netted -1 yards on the day. Safe to say he'll have more productive games down the stretch.
More ups and downs coming next Sunday after the Patriots play the Texans.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].