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The Gloat: Cowboys persevere to grab wild overtime victory over Patriots

The Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots played a preposterous contest which saw Dallas come out on top in overtime to extend their winning streak

DALLAS — The Dallas Cowboys rarely make things easy on themselves and that was again the case against Bill Belichick and his vaunted New England Patriots. And yet, somehow, through all the madness, they walked away with a 35-29 overtime victory.

Winning games in the NFL is hard, and they’re made particularly more difficult when you give the ball away twice in the red zone, drop a touchdown pass, and get stopped on fourth down in your own territory. Committing an absurd 12 penalties wasn’t helpful, either.

However, no matter how zany or sloppy things seem to get, when you have Superman playing quarterback and making clutch plays when the game is winding down, you don't have to play perfect football. Dallas showed that they just have to make plays at the right time. Putting it together when it mattered most makes it five in a row for the first time for the Cowboys since 2018.

With the victory, the Cowboys head into their bye week with a 5-1 record, which is now a full three games ahead of everyone else in the NFC East after all of their rivals lost on Sunday.

As fun as the thriller might have been for the fans, it wasn't a fun game for the Cowboys. Despite outpacing the Patriots on offense by over 200 yards – 567 to 335 – and managing to score at least 35 points for a fourth straight game, the Cowboys kept shooting themselves in the foot to make the game close.

There was poor officiating that appeared to take points away on Dak Prescott’s third-and-goal attempt in the second quarter, but Prescott also fumbled on the fourth-and-goal play that could have resulted in a score. An interception in the end zone also erased potential points for the Cowboys.

Yet, in the end, Dallas would not be denied. Prescott found open receivers often and threw for 445 yards and three touchdowns on 51 attempts. That’s the most yardage any QB has ever thrown against a Belichick led team and the Cowboys needed every yard from Prescott.

Prescott was good throughout the game, but he was at his best late in the fourth quarter. Dallas trailed by three with 2:05 left to play when Prescott went to work. On the drive to stay in the game, Prescott went 5-8 for 55 yards and it included a clutch fourth-and-four conversion to wideout Cedrick Wilson.

The acrobatic catch from Wilson was the first of three enormous plays to keep the Cowboys alive. Prescott followed that up a few plays later by hitting CeeDee Lamb in stride for a gain of 24 yards on third-and-25. The catch and throw set up kicker Greg Zuerlein for a 49-yard attempt to tie the game.

Zuerlein ended the clutch sequence by nailing the kick to send the game into overtime.

After losing the coin toss to the home team, the Cowboys got the stop that they needed to begin the extra period and superhuman Prescott donned his cape again for the winning drive. In overtime, Prescott went 5-5 for 71 yards, and that included the walk-off 35-yard touchdown to Lamb. The throw was perfect, but the play call was even better.

With the Cowboys already in field goal range, the Patriots were surely expecting a conservative set of plays to merely gain yards and set up a field goal attempt. Instead, offensive coordinator Kellen Moore dialed up play action to get Prescott outside the pocket and he found Lamb wide open to clinch the win.

The offense might have put it away in overtime, but the defense made its mark as Randy Gregory’s sack and forced fumble swung the momentum in the first half and saved points and Trevon Diggs’ seventh interception and second pick-six of the year gave the Cowboys a chance late.

There are plenty of issues for Dallas to clean up and they nearly all reared their ugly heads in this game. But when you have an MVP candidate under center who is making all the right plays in key moments, there’s very little reason to worry. Dak Prescott remains the biggest reason to have confidence that even when the Cowboys put themselves in these situations, he will get them out of it.

The Cowboys weren’t perfect in their win over the Patriots, but they were clutch. The victory gave them their first win against the Patriots since 1996 and their first win in New England since Tom Landry was still donning the fedora on the sidelines back in 1987.

Are you feeling good about the Cowboys as they head into the bye week at 5-1? Share your best boasts with Ben on Twitter @BenGrimaldi.