10/01 20:12 CDT Cowboys score twice on defense in 38-3 blowout of Patriots,
Belichick's worst loss
Cowboys score twice on defense in 38-3 blowout of Patriots, Belichick's worst
By SCHUYLER DIXON
AP Pro Football Writer
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) --- Dak Prescott is getting used to sitting back and
watching the Dallas defense do its thing.
DaRon Bland returned one of his two interceptions for a touchdown, Leighton
Vander Esch scooped up a fumble for a score and the Cowboys blew out the New
England Patriots 38-3 on Sunday.
Mac Jones was responsible for all three turnovers and was pulled in the second
half of the worst loss in Bill Belichick's 29 seasons as a head coach, 24 of
them in New England.
The six-time Super Bowl winner will have to wait at least another week to join
George Halas and Don Shula as the only NFL coaches with 300 career
Bland had his second pick-6 of the season after getting one in a season-opening
rout of the New York Giants, when Dallas also returned a blocked field goal for
a touchdown in a 40-0 win.
"Just to sit back and watch the defense do that, it's awesome," said Prescott,
who had a touchdown pass before the defense took over. "I'd love to get out
there and throw it over and over and be back and forth. But, I sit back and
cross my legs and wait another five, six minutes. If they want to score, keep
The Cowboys (3-1) spoiled former star running back Ezekiel Elliott's Dallas
homecoming with their 10th consecutive home victory. It's the longest home
streak since 1991-92, or almost two decades before AT&T Stadium opened.
The Patriots (1-3) trailed by just seven early in the second quarter when Jones
was sacked from behind by Dante Fowler, leading to the easy 11-yard
scoop-and-score from Vander Esch.
In the final seconds of the first half, Jones tried to throw across the field
to Kendrick Bourne when Bland stepped in front and ran 54 yards untouched for a
28-3 Dallas lead.
"He got an early one across the field so I couldn't let him do that again,"
said Bland, who led the Cowboys with five interceptions as a rookie last season
and has eight in 21 games. "I saw open field as soon as I got the ball and I
was like, ?Nobody is catching me from here.'"
New England's previous biggest halftime deficit under Belichick was 24 points
twice, including a 47-17 wild-card loss to Buffalo two seasons ago. In the
famous rally from 28-3 down to beat Atlanta in Super Bowl 51, the Patriots
trailed 21-3 at the break.
The Patriots are off to a 1-3 start for the third consecutive season, all with
Jones as the starter.
"We're a lot better team than we showed out there tonight," Belichick said.
"Need to do a better job playing, coaching. Not much to say."
Bland, who moved to the outside at cornerback after 2021 All-Pro Trevon Diggs'
season-ending knee injury in practice Sept. 21, got his second interception
early in the second half, leading to the last of Brandon Aubrey's three field
Jones played one more series after that before he was replaced by Bailey Zappe.
Jones was 12 of 21 for 150 yards with a 39.9 passer rating.
Elliott didn't get the start for the Patriots after watching a video tribute on
the big screen above the field a few minutes before kickoff.
A two-time rushing champion for the Cowboys, Elliott waved as the crowd gave
him a huge ovation and offered an understated version of the signature "feed
me" gesture that endeared him to fans over seven seasons in Dallas.
"Honestly, I wasn't too emotional," said Elliott, the third-leading rusher in
Elliott got the first two carries on New England's second series and picked up
13 of his 16 yards (on just six carries). By the time he had a chance to be a
factor again, the Patriots were two touchdowns behind.
Prescott threw his first touchdown to a receiver this season with a 20-yarder
to CeeDee Lamb in the first quarter for a 10-3 lead.
Prescott was 28 of 34 for 261 yards without an interception as Dallas, the NFL
leader in turnover margin coming in, finished plus-3.
All three Dallas victories have been blowouts with an average margin of 32
points. The Cowboys were coming off a surprising loss at Arizona in which they
Belichick's previous worst loss, playoffs included, was 31-0 at Buffalo in
2003. The biggest blowout defeat in five seasons with Cleveland from 1991-95
was 37-10 to the Houston Oilers in his final year. The 71-year-old is now
299-155 in the regular season.
ANYONE OTHER THAN BRADY
It was the second consecutive victory for the Cowboys over New England, both
over Jones. They are now 9-1 against the Patriots when facing quarterbacks not
named Tom Brady. He was 5-0 against Dallas.
TRICKERY FOR TWO
After Vander Esch's touchdown, the Cowboys faked the extra point, and holder
Bryan Anger threw a 15-yard pass to defensive end Chauncey Golston for the
The Patriots lost two defensive players in rookie cornerback Christian Gonzalez
and pass rusher Matthew Judon. Gonzalez injured a shoulder when he took on Tony
Pollard on a tackle on the sideline. Judon injured an elbow. ... Dallas RB Rico
Dowdle sustained a hip injury and didn't return.
Patriots: New Orleans at home next Sunday.
Cowboys: At San Francisco next Sunday in a matchup of teams that met in the
playoffs each of the past two seasons. The 49ers won both.
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