Sunday, October 16, 2011
Brady rallies Patriots late past Cowboys
The New England Patriots appeared headed to their first regular-season defeat at Gillette Stadium in nearly three years when Dan Bailey kicked a field goal late in the fourth quarter to give the Dallas Cowboys a 16-13 lead.
But the Patriots soon got the ball back at their own 20-yard line with 2:31 left and Tom Brady engineered his 21st career game-winning, fourth-quarter comeback drive, culminating in an eight-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Hernandez with less than 30 seconds remaining.
The Patriots extended several notable win streaks on Sunday with this come-from-behind victory, including their 20th straight regular-season win at home and their 18th straight home win versus NFC opponents.
However, one near-historic streak came to end when the team failed to score 30 points in the regular season for the first time since Week 9 of the 2010 season. That 13-game streak was one shy of the longest all-time, a record still held by the “Greatest Show on Turf”, the 1999-00 St. Louis Rams.
The last team to hold the Patriots under 30 points was the Browns, a defense coached by current Cowboys coordinator Rob Ryan. One of the things Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan brought with him from Cleveland was the "amoeba" defense, nicknamed for its shapeless, ever-changing appearance.
Ryan called for the “amoeba” formation on less than 15 percent of plays in the first 57 minutes Sunday. But it was used almost exclusively on the final drive with little success, as the Patriots averaged eight yards per play and scored the game-winning touchdown when that defense was on the field.
Brady and Bill Belichick have now won 116 games together as quarterback and coach, which ties them with Don Shula and Dan Marino for most wins in the Super Bowl Era by a coach-quarterback combo.
The Cowboys continue to play close games at a rate like no other team. Their last 11 games have been decided by four-or-fewer points, which is the longest such streak in NFL history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. It is four games longer than the next-longest streak, done by the 1983-84 Lions.