Patriots and Mother Nature Reign Over Cowboys 13-9

N'Keal Harry grabs 1st career TD, Pats reach 10-win mark for an NFL-record 17th straight season, remain two games ahead of Bills in AFC East.


FOXBORO — It wasn’t a masterpiece for the Patriots but all wins at this time of year are beautiful works of art, especially in driving rain and wind.

N’Keal Harry caught his first career touchdown pass, a 12-yarder from Tom Brady and the Patriots defense held the NFL’s top-ranked offense to three field goals in a 13-9 win over the Cowboys during a monsoon at Gillette Stadium.

Julian Edelman played through intense shoulder pain, catching eight passes on 12 targets for 93 yards.

The Patriots improve to 10-1 on the season and ensure holding onto the top seed in the AFC, regardless of the Ravens game against the Rams Monday night in Los Angeles. The Patriots also maintain their two-game lead over the Bills, who beat the Broncos Sunday afternoon in Buffalo.

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The Cowboys were actually able to move the ball in the first quarter, including a drive on their second possession to the Patriots 28. But instead of going for it on 4th-and-6 in blustery, wet conditions, Jason Garrett decided to attempt a Brett Maher field goal from 46 yards. The attempted clanged off the left upright.

Thanks to a 17-yard run from Sony Michel, the Patriots responded with their first drive into Cowboys territory. But a drop of a snap by Brady in the shotgun forced a punt in plus-50 territory.

The Cowboys started at their 20 after the touchback but were forced to punt. On the snap to punter Chris Jones, Matt Slater broke through the left side of the line and got his left hand on the punt, popping the ball straight up in the air. Nate Ebner recovered at the Dallas 12.

Two plays later, Brady hit N’Keal Harry on a corner route in the left side of the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown.

Not only was it Harry’s first career touchdown reception, it was Brady’s 75th career touchdown target, extending his NFL record. It was also Brady’s 15th touchdown of the season, the most ever for a quarterback 42 years of age or older.

The Cowboys were having a terrible handling the blowing rain and gusty winds on the field, muffing two kickoffs and fumbling once. Stephon Gilmore showed off his incredible athleticism with a diving interception of Prescott at the Cowboys 28. Prescott, after bobbling a high snap, sidearmed the ball for Amari Cooper but Gilmore undercut the route by diving in front of Cooper.

The Patriots had to settle for a Nick Folk 44-yard field goal that made it 10-0 with 12:46 left in the first half.

The Cowboys did manage a pair of Maher field goals from 46 and 27 yards that cut the Patriots lead to 10-6 at halftime. Folk missed a 48-yarder as time expired that would have increased the halftime advantage.

The Cowboys appeared to have connected for a big first down throw from Prescott to Cooper across the middle but a Tyron Smith hold on Jamie Collins wiped out the 15-yard completion to the Patriots 35.

The Patriots added insurance with 9:33 left in the fourth quarter when Folk connected from 42 yards, making it a 13-6 game.

Prescott hit Randall Cobb for 59 yards down the left sideline, as Devin McCourty caught up to him from behind and made the touchdown-saving tackle, nearly poking the ball free. The play to the Patriots 25 had the Cowboys threatening but the defense held in the red zone, forcing the Cowboys to settle for a 29-yard field goal with over six minutes left, cutting the Patriots lead to 13-9.

The Cowboys got one more chance to take the lead late, taking over at their own 8 with over two minutes left. But the NFL’s best defense held up, forcing it over on downs with Amari Cooper’s grab on fourth down was overturned by replay. It was initially ruled a catch and a 16-yard completion for first down with 1:28 left. Sony Michel’s 12-yard run to the Dallas 8 iced the victory.

The Patriots hit the road for a Sunday night game next week in Houston.