Primary Menu

New England Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - OCTOBER 17: CeeDee Lamb #88 of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates after catching the game-winning touchdown against Jalen Mills #2 of the New England Patriots in overtime at Gillette Stadium on October 17, 2021 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. The Cowboys defeated the Patriots 35-29 in overtime. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Sunday’s Patriots-Cowboys game is an early frontrunner for ‘Game of the Year,’ and it’s going to be tough to beat. With four lead changes occurring with less than 2:30 to go, it was thrilling to the end of the 35-29 Dallas victory.

Defensively, the Patriots defense started the game with a bang. They stopped Dallas on 3rd and 4th & 1 to force a turnover on downs on the opening series, setting the offense up at the Dallas 31. They quickly made Mike McCarthy pay for the decision, with Damien Harris scoring three plays later to make it 7-0.

Dallas responded well on its next drive. Dak Prescott repeatedly put the ball in the air, and despite constant pressure was 6-of-6 on the drive with completions of 11,18, 17, and 23 yards. He capped things off with a touchdown to Blake Jarwin at the goal line, tying the game at 7-7.

Working back the other way, the Patriots got a pair of big plays from Rhamondre Stevenson in a 13-yard catch-and-run and 23-yard completion up the seam. Mac Jones then lofted a throw to Hunter Henry on the goal line, again up the seam, to take a 14-7 lead as the first quarter came to a close.

The Cowboys got right back into the red zone, but the Patriots secondary made a couple of big plays to keep them off the board. First, they pressured Prescott into a throwaway on second down, then in third and long Justin Bethel jumped into a passing lane up the seam, deflecting the ball to Kyle Dugger who made the interception. It was the first career pick for the Patriots’ top draft selection in 2020.

Just when it looked like the Patriots were going to take a two-score lead, things flipped quickly. A potential Jakobi Meyers touchdown was wiped out by a holding penalty, and Randy Gregory beat Yodny Cajuste clean on the next play leading to a strip sack and fumble recovery for Dallas.

After Dallas turned that turnover into a field goal, the Patriots went three-and-out. The ensuing punt was blocked, putting the Cowboys right back in the red zone. Once again, the Patriots defense stood strong. They stopped the Cowboys three times at the one-yard line, with Ja’Whaun Bentley forcing a Dak Prescott fumble on 4th down. That kept the score 14-10 heading into halftime.

A Patriots three-and-out opened the second half, followed by another punt from Dallas. It looked like the Patriots offense was starting to put a drive together, but Brandon Bolden got stopped in the backfield on an inside run on 3rd & 1 near midfield, and the Patriots punted again.

This time, the Cowboys wouldn’t leave points on the board. They drove 91 yards in eight plays, and a one-yard corner fade from Prescott to CeeDee Lamb put them ahead for the first time in the game, 17-14. That score held through the end of the third quarter.

While it wasn’t quite the march the preceding sequence was, Dallas went 61 yards on eight plays on their next drive after another Patriots punt. This one ended with a field goal, putting the Cowboys up 20-14.

With the game getting late the Patriots’ offense woke up. Jones led them 75 yards in 13 plays, highlighted by a third down catch through contact from Meyers. Rhamondre Stevenson punched it in on the goal line for his first career touchdown, and Nick Folk’s extra point put the Patriots up 21-20 with 6:23 to go.

Going back the other way, Dallas got as close as the Patriots’ 33-yard-line. However, Greg Zuerlein missed the kick wide to the left. That wouldn’t be the last of the Cowboys though, as Trevon Diggs intercepted a ball dropped by Kendrick Bourne two plays into the Patriots drive, returning it for six. With 2:27 to go, the Patriots trailed 26-21 after a failed Dallas two-point conversion.

Jones and Bourne wouldn’t let that miscue define their night. On the first play of the ensuing drive, they connected up the seam for a 75-yard catch-and-run score. Jones hit Meyers in the end zone for a two-point conversion, and the Patriots led again, 29-26, with 2:11 left to go.

Yet things weren’t done. Dallas got back in field goal range, and Zuerlein kicked a 49-yard field goal to tie the game 29-29 with 20 seconds to play. That ultimately sent the game to overtime.

The Patriots were forced to punt on their first drive of overtime. Dallas preceded to end the game, icing it with a 35-yard touchdown pass to Lamb.

Jones finished the game 15-of-21 for 229 yards with two touchdowns and a pick. Harris was the Patriots’ leading rusher with 101 yards on 18 carries and a score. Meyers recorded a team-high five catches for 44 yards, with Kendrick Bourne and Hunter Henry adding touchdown catches. Ja’Whaun Bentley led the team in tackles with 13. Kyle Dugger picked up the first interception of his career.

On the other side, Prescott put up monster numbers – 36-of-51, 445 yards and three touchdowns plus the one interception. With his game-winning touchdown, Lamb finished with nine catches for 149 yards and two touchdowns.

With the loss, the Patriots drop to 2-04 on the season. They’re 0-4 at Gillette Stadium.

The Patriots will be back at home next week, hosting the New York Jets for the second time this season. Back in Week 2, the Patriots beat the Jets 25-6. Kickoff next Sunday is at 1 p.m., with pregame coverage beginning at 10 a.m. on 98.5 The Sports Hub.

MORE: Full Patriots postgame coverage

Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at