Every team would love to go into its bye week on a
winning note, particularly the way the Patriots won Sunday's game
against the Cowboys at Gillette Stadium.
Trailing by a field goal with just under three
minutes remaining, quarterback Tom Brady engineered yet another
fourth-quarter comeback, putting the Patriots ahead for good on an
8-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Hernandez with 22 seconds remaining.
The win was that much more satisfying considering
Dallas had won five consecutive road games and New England turned the
ball over four times (two fumbles and two interceptions).
The Patriots enter the bye week with a solid 5-1
record despite questions about their defense and their ability to run
the ball or maintain a balanced offense on a consistent basis.
"The bye week always comes at a good time no
matter what part of the season because all of the guys need it to get
(over) those little bumps and bruises and get those healed up and get
ready for a long push when we start against Pittsburgh in a few weeks,"
Brady said, "but we're always trying to improve things.
"I don't think we ever come out of a game
thinking, 'Yeah, we have everything figured out,' especially a game
like (Sunday) where we're all pretty proud of the way we pulled it out.
It was a great team win. The defense really stepped it up when we
needed it to, and offensively we did some things when we needed to as
WR Deion Branch quietly having a solid season. Pictured here
being pursued by Dallas Cowboys Gerald Sensabaugh # on October
16, 2011 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
To do what they did Sunday in the fourth quarter
against a Rob Ryan-coached defense makes it that much more impressive.
Brady took some extra satisfaction in beating a team that had played
well on the road entering Sunday.
"There's nothing easy out there," Brady said.
"(Ryan) doesn't give you any easy throws. He tries to take away your
main routes, and he tries to double-coverage your main receivers. They
did a lot of that. They put a lot of extra guys in coverage that teams
typically don't do.
"They were rushing three guys most of the time,
and they force you to throw the ball even with those three guys because
they're very good pass-rushers."
The bottom line, as Brady and coach Bill Belichick
noted, is the Patriots made more than enough plays to win the game
despite their mistakes. While there are still some issues to sort out
for the remainder of the season, it's hard to find too much fault in a
team with a 5-1 record that continues to get the job done.
"Everyone is sitting in the locker room at 5-1
going into the bye week feeling pretty good," Brady said. "Obviously
there are a lot of things we need to correct, but it's much better to
be 5-1 than 4-2."
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