Dallas Cowboys: What went wrong against the Patriots on Sunday?
In a perfect world
The big stories of the game on Sunday are filled with “what if” endings. The problem is, we will never truly know. For the sake of the Dallas Cowboys almost beating the New England Patriots, let’s exercise this.
What if the first tripping penalty against Smith wasn’t called? The score was 0-0 at the time, in the middle of the first quarter. Dallas is twelve yards away from the first down line while on third down.
Considering how good the Patriots defense was playing, I think it would be unlikely that Dak would get the first down. This would result in the Cowboys punting the ball, much like they did anyway. The chances of the punt being blocked are slim, but they did do it in real life so not many changes.
Let’s move on to the missed field goal by Brett Maher in the first quarter. It was right off the post and would have the score at 13-12, one point behind the Patriots, on the Cowboys’ second-last drive of the game.
A late field goal would have the Cowboys take the lead. The problem is Dallas turned over the ball on their half of the field, which is out of Maher’s range, so not much would have changed.
If the brutal second tripping call against Frederick didn’t happen, then Dallas would have gotten the first down and had the ball at their 38-yard line. They had to march down the field with just under two minutes to go and three timeouts.
The likelihood of Dallas scoring a touchdown is not great, but at the same time not bad. Time shouldn’t be that much of an issue, but rather the Patriots’ stud defense would be. This would be the only uncontrollable turnaround in the game that would make a difference.
At the end of the day, Dallas lost by only four points to the New England Patriots. Dak wasn’t quite ready for playing in the rain (although he looked better once he put gloves on) and the Patriots were … well, the classic Patriots.
I’m not disappointed in the Cowboys. It was a very close game with some unfortunate calls. Both teams made their mistakes, but the biggest ones, being the blocked punt and interception, cost the Dallas Cowboys the win.