The Dallas Cowboys defense returned to form and led the team to a 38-3 win over the New England Patriots on Sunday at AT&T Stadium.
A week after allowing 400 yards in a loss to the Arizona Cardinals, the Dallas defense held New England to just 253 yards (200 passing and 53 rushing) and forced three turnovers that led to 17 points.
“That’s the one thing about this team. There was nothing anyone had to stand up and say,” linebacker Micah Parsons told the media postgame. “… We all knew the standard of what we are, we said that wasn’t us, and we all said we were going to come out here and dominate, and that’s what we did.”
The mission to dominate was clear from the beginning as Dallas marched down the field on its first two possessions.
The defense completely shifted the game’s momentum in the second quarter. Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch returned a fumble 11 yards for a touchdown, and cornerback DaRon Bland scored on an interception to give the Cowboys a comfortable lead.
Things were going so well for Dallas that it converted a two-point conversion on a fake extra point pass from punter Bryan Anger to defensive lineman Chauncey Golston.
“Just something we saw on film, so we repped it all week,” head coach Mike McCarthy explained during his postgame press conference. “We had a check on it, we got the look, the players did a great job preparing, and it was very well executed. It just felt like it was something we could take advantage of.”
Dallas only scored 10 points in the second half but continued to stand firm and stymie New England’s offensive attack. A second interception from Bland led to a Cowboys field goal, and the closest the Patriots got to adding more points was a long missed field goal late in the fourth quarter.
Quarterback Dak Prescott threw for 261 yards and a touchdown on 28-of-34 passing, and running back Hunter Lupke added a rushing touchdown for Dallas. Quarterback Mac Jones led New England with 150 passing yards and two interceptions.
WHAT TO KNOW
— The Dallas Cowboys improved to 3-1 with a 38-3 win over the New England Patriots on Sunday.
— Former Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott returned to Arlington for the first time since signing with New England after being released by Dallas in the offseason. The organization showed a tribute video acknowledging the running back’s accomplishments and impact with Dallas during pregame. He ran for just 16 yards on six carries in the game.
— Dallas has won 10 straight home games, its longest home winning streak since the early 1990s.
— The win was the largest margin of victory over a Bill Belichick-coached team and kept the legendary coach from getting his 300th career victory.
BY THE NUMBERS
— The Cowboys have allowed 13 total points in their three wins.
— The Cowboys have forced at least three turnovers in their three wins and none in their only loss. The team has forced opposing quarterbacks to throw seven interceptions this season.
— A week after allowing Arizona to rush for 222 yards, Dallas held New England to just 53 yards on the ground.
— Parsons on responding to adversity: “It’s all about the bounce back, not when things hit you in the face. It’s all about adversity [and] coming back after it. I think that’s what champions are better at. Anybody can come in and win games, but once you face adversity, I think when you look a man in his eyes and say, ‘Are we going to get better? How are we going to overcome this?’ Adversity makes true champions.”
— Bland on stepping up amid injuries: “I’ve got to be another playmaker. We lost one playmaker, but it can easily be [any] one of our days.”
— The Cowboys (3-1) play the San Francisco 49ers (4-0) at 7:20 p.m. CT on Sunday in San Francisco.