Happy victory Monday everyone! It wasn't pretty, but it ended in a win. The Patriots improved to 10-1 yesterday after defeating the Dallas Cowboys 13-9. There wasn't a lot of scoring. But the defense and special teams came up big once again when they were needed. Before we move on entirely to the Texans game, let's look at the ups and downs from the Cowboys game.
Up: Stephon Gilmore
Can we give Stephon Gilmore some more love throughout the NFL, please? Gilmore is arguably the best cornerback in the game. Week in and week out he is asked to cover the best receivers. This past week, his assignment was Amari Cooper. How would Gilmore respond? Yeah, Cooper didn't have a catch the entire game. Is that not good enough for you? How about an interception to add to it?
Gilmore did a fantastic job in this game. The task only gets tougher as he'll have to deal with DeAndre Hopkins on Sunday night football.
Down: Benjamin Watson
Benjamin Watson did not record a catch in this game. I'm very surprised that Watson wasn't used. He's been a reliable target since his first stint with the Patriots back in the early 2000's. In a game where Tom Brady threw a ton in the second half, Watson was nowhere to be found. It looked like he was getting more involved in the offense after the Eagles game. But against the Cowboys, Watson went missing.
Up: Matthew Slater
The special teams continues to dominate and Matthew Slater is a big part of that domination. Slater continues to make a case for his eighth Pro Bowl nod. He blocked a punt that set the Patriots up deep into Dallas territory. It also set up the only touchdown of the game.
Slater continues to make plays that make you say "wow!" week in and week out. I think it's safe to say that his Pro Bowl bid is in good hands.
Down: James White
Did James White do something wrong this week? Did he miss a meeting? Maybe he overslept? White was not involved in the game plan whatsoever. He had two rushed on the day for five yards, and one reception that went backwards for six yards. Why the Patriots didn't use him more is beyond me! Was it because Dallas's pass defense was 7th in the NFL coming into the game? That's about the only answer I can find. But look for White to bounce back against the Texans.
Up: N'Keal Harry
I wrote last week that Harry was on pace to improve every week. Well, looks like I was right.
Harry is a big body receiver that Brady must love having back in the fold. The wide receiver made a nice adjustment to bring in the first (and only) touchdown of the afternoon. It was a play the Patriots needed to be made. With Phillip Dorsett and Mohamed Sanu out yesterday, it was great to see Harry step up and make a play when needed.
Down: Tom Brady
I know it stinks to have him here, but Tom Brady needs to be held accountable. I will say, he looked better on a few more passes yesterday. The key word there is few. With the return of Isaiah Wynn, it helped give Brady more time to throw. It didn't look like it helped as he only threw 17-37. That means he threw 20 incompletions. 20! That's not the Tom Brady we've known and loved. Sure, he had elbow problems throughout the week and there could be something wrong there. But you know what? If Brady is really that hurt, he should sit out. Maybe not during the Houston or Kansas City game, but possibly the Cincinnati game. If he's playing, then he needs to be more productive.
Another ugly game, another ugly win for the Patriots. But now, they have a huge test coming up. They have DeShaun Watson and the Texans in Houston on Sunday night football. Getting Dorsett and Sanu back would be a huge help to the offense. But hey, 10-1 is 10-1 and the Patriots are still at the top of the AFC. If the Rams can somehow beat the Ravens tonight then you have a comfortable two game cushion over them in the AFC. But right now we focus only on what we can control. With that being said, we're onto Houston.