The New England Patriots Week 6 loss means they are now 0-4 at home for the first time since 1993 as their frustrating season continues. Many football fans might have expected the Pats to get overpowered by the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday as the Cowboys are one of the top teams in the league. But, as is becoming a trend for New England this season, instead the hosts brought the game down to the wire but ultimately threw it away. While rookie quarterback Mac Jones continues to look promising, both the offense and defense struggled at separate points of the game which cost them a winnable outcome in the end. patriots week 6 Patriots week 6
Pats fans might have been willing to settle for that pain against Tom Brady and the reigning Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Most people expected Tampa Bay to trounce them as Brady exacted his revenge on his former team. So a good fight prompted people to throw around the term moral victory. But that kind of performance, where the Patriots play to compete and not to win, eventually becomes frustrating. Some may argue that taking Dallas to overtime constitutes a strong performance from a relatively young team. But the Patriots could have and should have won the game. This one will sting for a while.
Another Frustrating Loss for the New England Patriots in Week 6
Patriots Failed To Capitalize on Cowboys Mistakes
One thing that certainly helped the Patriots keep it close was the sheer volume of flags the Cowboys drew. The refs imposed 12 penalties on Dallas for a total of 115 yards. For a team that is incredibly effective at driving the ball downfield, this was a gift. Yet time and time again, the Patriots allowed them to claw their way back into the drive. While this allowed the Patriots to keep it close in the first half, the Pats were consistently unable to slow down Dak Prescott and the Cowboys offense.
This was most obvious when the Cowboys were staring at a third and 25 in the fourth quarter with 31 seconds left on the clock. In recent years, most people would have bet the house on the Patriots defense making a stop in that situation. But instead, they allowed CeeDee Lamb to get within one yard of the first down, which enabled Greg Zuerlein to kick a field goal to tie the game.
A lot of fans are excusing the defense’s poor performance because they were on the field for 80 plays and the offense could not give them a break. But the defense could have been on the field for a lot less time had they managed to find an answer for Dak Prescott and his receivers. Prescott put up 445 yards through the air, regularly snatching large chunk plays by finding open receivers who were then able to muscle their way downfield.
There were flashes of brilliance from the Pats but they came in just a handful of do-or-die moments in a game where there were plenty of opportunities to make plays. This included a surprise move from Justin Bethel which allowed Kyle Dugger to make a stop in the end zone by picking off Prescott at the end of the first quarter. And there was the impressive punch from Ja’Whaun Bentley to force a red zone turnover and hold the score to 14-10 at the half. But by overtime, it was clear the defense had nothing left. They were on the field too much throughout the game and as a result they could not get a final stop when it mattered most.
Questionable Coaching at Crucial Points
Another consistent theme emerging in New England losses this season is questionable coaching from Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels. Both have come under fire from fans and pundits who have accused the once-formidable duo of being too timid at crucial moments in the game. There was bizarre clock management at the end of the first half which saw the Patriots offense take a knee with 90 seconds left on the clock instead of trying to put up points. They were only up by four points at that time and even a field goal could have helped keep pressure on their opponents. After the game, Belichick justified the decision by saying they were getting the ball to start the second half. But the Belichick of old would have relished the opportunity to take advantage of that two-for-one opportunity.
Another notable coaching gaffe and there were plenty, was the decision to punt the ball away on fourth and three in overtime. Given the Pats inability to stop the Cowboys from moving the ball downfield, it seemed baffling to hand them the ball when all they needed was a field goal to win the game. If the Patriots had gone for it and lost, it would be far easier to accept knowing they had at least tried. The decision to punt felt almost like Belichick and the Patriots were waving a white flag. And how could anyone who sat through the first four quarters of the game have thought the Patriots would get the ball back?
Onto New York
Next week, the Patriots will host the New York Jets and should be looking to get their first home win against an easily beatable team. However, this talented but inexperienced team will need to do more than just win against the Jets if they want to try to keep their playoff hopes alive.