Rapid Reaction: Brady and Offense Drive to Victory

Derek Havens
October 16, 2011 at 10:15pm ET

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The New England Patriots beat the Dallas Cowboys 20 - 16 on Sunday, and even though the game was not pretty, the team got the job done. Here are some thoughts on the victory. -

Brady and Belichick have the Patriots at 5-1 going into the bye. (FILE:Icon/SMI)

- Tom Brady was hit a lot during the game and as a result, the offense was not its usual juggernaut self. The Pats continued to stay balanced and used several targets throughout the afternoon. Brady and the offense put together a masterful drive in the fourth quarter to take the lead. On that drive, he was 7-8, 78 yards and a touchdown (to Aaron Hernandez).

Final stats in this one found Tom Brady finishing 27-of-41 for 289 yards, 2 touchdowns, and two interceptions (QB Rating of 82.3).

- Aaron Hernandez had a costly fumble in third quarter, but then caught the go ahead touchdown to seal the victory late in the forth. Hernandez has had some ball security issues, but I am sure Patriots Nation can forgive him for now.

- The defense played well today, holding a potent Dallas' offense to only 16 points in the contest. The Cowboys burned New England a few times, but at the end of the day, the unit got the job done. I was pleased with the energy and team camaraderie throughout the game, but the team needs to improve their tackling moving forward.

- Brady and Belichick are now tied with Miami's Dan Marino and Don Shula for most wins by a QB/coach pairing in NFL history. The 116 game record stood for 27 years.

- Chad Ochocinco might be on his way out of town during the team's bye week. He was nearly invisible on Sunday and I am of the belief the coaching staff is frustrated with the situation. I have been defending him throughout the first six weeks, but I am starting to think the end is near.

- Third down defense was very good for the Pats defense Sunday, holding Dallas to only 4-12 throughout the game.

- The running game was still solid but not as impressive as last week, with Ben Jarvis Green-Ellis finishing with 14-carries for 58 yards (4.1 avg).  Stevan Ridley finished with 3 carries for 19-yards, while Brady actually was right behind him with 4 carries for 17 yards.  Danny Woodhead struggled in his first game back carrying the ball, rushing 4 times for just 7 yards.

Overall, New England did enough to win the game and beat a quality opponent. The Cowboys could be the most talented team the Patriots play all season, although Dallas hurt themselves several times. The Pats have a lot of work to do still, but in the first six games they have shown promise.

I will be posting further analysis and game grades tomorrow. The Patriots go into their bye week with a 5-1 record, and with two weeks until their next game, their is plenty of time to digest and analyze.

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