Three Studs, Three Duds From Patriots’ Heartbreaking Loss to Cowboys

Some good and some bad in all three phases


October 17, 2021

The New England Patriots suffered a crushing 35-29 overtime defeat to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday evening at Gillette Stadium.

New England held a three-point lead late in the fourth quarter, but a 49-yard field goal from Greg Zuerlein in the final minute sent the game to overtime. The Patriots started overtime with the ball but eventually punted to the Cowboys, who later won the game on a 35-yard touchdown reception from CeeDee Lamb.

The Patriots dropped to 2-4 with the loss, while the Cowboys improved to 5-1 with the victory.

Each week, we’ll give you three studs and three duds for the Patriots, no matter how hard it might be to fill either category.

Here’s the Week 6 edition:

Patriots running backs
They didn’t run wild or anything, but Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson both ran hard and well whenever they touched the ball. Most importantly, neither player put the ball on the ground. There were some issues with blitz pickups.

Harris finished with 101 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries, while Stevenson added 23 yards and a score on five carries. The rookie also racked up 39 receiving yards.

Ja’Whaun Bentley, LB
Was a force before exiting the game in the third quarter with a ribs injury.

Bentley forced a Prescott fumble on the goal line late in the first half and finished with a team-high 12 solo tackles (13 combined). Probably his best game of the season.

Mac Jones, QB
Had a bad interception and didn’t throw the ball a ton, but once again showed toughness and great accuracy. The rookie completed 15 of 21 passes for 249 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Deserved to win this game.

Honorable mentions: Kyle Dugger, Hunter Henry

Isaiah Wynn and Yodney Cajuste
Cajuste started and later was benched after getting abused by Randy Gregory. Wynn, fresh off the COVID-19 list, replaced Justin Herron on the left side during the first half but then was benched after giving up a third-down sack on the first drive of the second half.

It was ugly. Both players struggled whenever they were in the game.

Prescott threw for 445 yards and really did whatever he wanted. Patriots corners got absolutely gashed.

Josh McDaniels
His conservative playcalling has made sense more often than not this season. However, there is no excuse for giving the ball to Brandon Bolden on a 3rd-and-1 near midfield. Jones at the time had completed all nine of his passes.

This was the kind of game that demanded the Patriots play aggressively, rather than scared.

Honorable mentions: Jahlani Tavai; Jonnu Smith; Nelson Agholor; Jake Bailey

New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones
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