The Duel in Dallas - LiveBlog!

We’ve been hyping this game all week -- and with good reason, since it’s only the 5th time in NFL history that two teams at 5-0 or better have met -- so I have to do a liveblog. I’ll update every few possessions or so.

7:48 p.m. - Patriots 48, Cowboys 27 FINAL
Here’s all you need to know about the Patriots: they were down 24-21 early in the second half, and outscored the Cowboys 27-3 over the rest of the game, including an icing-on-the-cake touchdown in the final minute. The final Brady-Romo comparison looks like this:

Tom Brady Tony Romo
Comp-Att 31-46 18-29
Pass Yds 388 199
TD-Int 5-0 2-1
Passer Rating 129.6 91.0

Yeah, Brady smoked him. They both had one turnover but you don’t see Brady’s there because it was a fumble. And it ended up being pretty inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. Now the question is will the Patriots and Colts both be undefeated for their Week 9 meeting. And what will we call that game? My first thought is “The Duel in the Dome” but we may be all dueled out by then. “The Most Important Regular Season Game Ever Played in the History of Everything” is probably too long. Though that’s what it’ll be treated like if they’re both undefeated.

7:33 p.m. - Patriots 41, Cowboys 27
After Dallas wussed out and settled for a field goal, the Patriots marched right down the field and settled for a field goal of their own. They had a TD from Brady to Moss, but that was taken away by a weak offensive pass interference call (Michael Irvin got away with more every week at this stadium). Still, it’s pretty much a wrap at this point. I’ll come back for one last update when this thing goes final. And yes, I know Dallas pulled off a miracle comeback last week, but that was the Bills. This is the Patriots. It’s a pretty damn big difference.

7:09 p.m. - Patriots 38, Cowboys 24
Donte’ Stallworth is the 4th player to catch a TD pass from Tom Brady today, as he absolutely shitted on Jacques Reeves. The Cowboys DB should have been able to tackle Stallworth after about a 30-yard gain, but Stallworth just shook him off and took it to the house. How ‘bout the Patriots receivers today: Welker, Stallworth and Moss have combined for 268 yards so far (and only 23 by Moss). None of them were on the team last season. Remember when Brady would end up with 225 yards, 175 of which were to tight ends and running backs? Yeah, not anymore.

6:56 p.m. - Patriots 31, Cowboys 24
Guess I spoke too soon about the unstoppability (not a real word, I know) of the Patriots offense. The long review off the Moss non-catch seemed to hurt their momentum, and they had to settle for a field goal. They do still have a 7-point lead with the third quarter winding down, but in a game like this, that could be gone in a second.

6:51 p.m. - Patriots 28, Cowboys 24
Randy Moss made what looked like a spectacular catch at first, but upon further review, the ball came out. The fact that he almost came up with it was remarkable in of itself. The Patriots still have first down in Dallas territory and look unstoppable on offense right now.

6:43 p.m. - Patriots 28, Cowboys 24
Marion Barber just had the greatest 2-yard run in the history of the NFL. On 1st-and-20 at the 10-yard line, he got the ball, then somehow ended up getting pushed back to his own endzone and nearly getting tackled for a safety twice before getting it out and nearly breaking it off. He ended up out of bounds at the 12. The play didn’t lead to anything, but I guarantee you’ll see it in every highlight package tonight.

6:37 p.m. - Patriots 28, Cowboys 24
Something you won’t see often: a linebacker double-teamed on offense. But Mike Vrabel isn’t your standard linebacker. In fact, Tom Brady was looking for him off the snap there, but when he saw the double-team, he adjusted and hit a wide open Kyle Brady -- the 3rd different receiver with a TD in this game for the Patriots, and the 7th different player to catch a TD from Brady this season. Mr. Gisele now has 20 touchdown passes on the season. Not bad for Bridget Moynahan’s baby daddy.

6:24 p.m. - Cowboys 24, Patriots 21
Well, that changes things a bit. The Cowboys came out of the half, forced the Patriots into a 3-and-out (with another sack of Brady to boot), and then rammed the ball right down New England’s collective throat, taking their first lead of the game. Julius Jones, who was a non-factor in the first half, had a couple big runs, Terrell Owens had a nice catch, and Patrick Crayton was the one who caught the TD. On top of the quick march down the field, the Cowboys also played with a fight to them that wasn’t there early in the game. This is the first time today I really think Dallas could actually win this game.

5:58 p.m. - Patriots 21, Cowboys 17 at the half
New England just settled for the kneel down, so no deep shot and we’re at the half. Check out the numbers for Brady and Romo so far:

Tom Brady Tony Romo
Comp-Att 16-27 12-18
Pass Yds 213 142
TD-Int 3-0 1-0
Passer Rating 121.4 109.0

Most of Romo’s production came on that final Cowboys drive, where he was 7-of-8 for 104 yards (yes, you read that right. Dallas had a bunch of penalties on the drive, so Romo actually had MORE than 100 yards passing on one possession).

5:54 p.m. - Patriots 21, Cowboys 17
So much for that being a tough third down. The Patriots brought the house at Tony Romo and he just lobbed it right over them to Terrell Owens, who broke free on a slant inside and took it into the end zone. So Moss and Owens both have touchdowns and it looks like it’ll be a four-point game at the half. Then again, there is still time for the Patriots to do something, especially the way their passing game has been working today. Maybe this is where Brady and Moss finally hook up deep.

5:53 p.m. - Patriots 21, Cowboys 10
Well, apparently you can’t change the ruling to a pushout, since they overturned the catch and ruled Owens out of bounds. Now the Cowboys face a tough third down to keep this drive alive.

5:51 p.m. - Patriots 21, Cowboys 10
A catch by Terrell Owens is under review right now. He clearly didn’t get both feet in, but he was pushed out of bounds. I’m not sure if they can rule a pushout on the review, but either way, this is killing the Cowboys momentum.

5:36 p.m. - Patriots 21, Cowboys 10
If you’re the best team in football, that’s how you respond to a defensive touchdown: 12 plays, 72 yards, 6:51 of game clock, all culminating with Tom Brady’s 3rd TD pass of the game (19th of the season). Wes Welker has two of those touchdowns, to go along with 94 receiving yards. Welker’s career high for receiving yards in a game is 97 (against Tampa Bay in 2005) and coming into this season, he had one career receiving TD. So it’s probably safe to call this a career day for him.

5:15 p.m. - Patriots 14, Cowboys 10
Well, that changes the complexion of this game. Greg Ellis sacked Tom Brady and forced a fumble, which was returned 29 yards for a touchdown by Jason Hatcher. Prior to this game, Brady had only been sacked 3 times. He’s already gone down twice today. He’ll have to connect one one of those deep passes to Randy Moss (he’s missed twice now) if he wants to get the Cowboys defense to back off.

5:07 p.m. - Patriots 14, Cowboys 3
The ‘Boys are finally on the board, after a drive that probably should have netted them more than a field goal. Terrell Owens made a nice catch for a first down, Marion Barber strung together some solid downhill runs, and Dallas even benefited from a stupid Patriots penalty. But Patrick Crayton fell down on 3rd-and-4, causing Tony Romo’s pass to be very incomplete. Nick Folk makes the field goal, meaning this won’t be a COMPLETE embarrassment for Dallas.

4:54 p.m. - Patriots 14, Cowboys 0
After a couple mediocre offensive possessions by each team, the Patriots strike again, this time Brady to Wes Welker. Brady has two touchdowns on the day and 18 on the season. That’s 18 touchdowns in 21 quarters, which puts Brady on a 54 TD pace for the season. That would obviously break the NFL record (which is currently held by Brady’s rival, Peyton Manning). By the way, Terrell Owens has been very quiet so far today, save for a dropped pass (a category in which he led the NFL last year, and is near the top again this year).

4:31 p.m. - Patriots 7, Cowboys 0
And it's Randy Moss with another TD. He's got 8 already this season, which matches his best season in Oakland. And he was WIDE open on that play, which is just absurd. How is there not a DB glued to him at all times?

4:29 p.m. - Cowboys 0, Patriots 0
The Patriots had scored on their first possession of every game this season, and it looks like they’re about to do so again. Wes Welker fumbled inside the 10, but got it right back. The Pats went deep for Randy Moss on the first play (not a bad decision, but it didn’t work) and faced some tough third downs, but always managed to convert. Dallas’ pass rush has been pretty good so far, but Brady’s getting the ball out just in time. If that keeps up all game, the Cowboys’ D-Line will probably be pretty tired in the 4th quarter.

4:15 p.m. - Cowboys 0, Patriots 0
The Cowboys receive the opening kickoff and don’t get good field position to start. Dallas is going to need better average starting position than this to have any chance to win. The Patriots defense plays with an attacking style that can kill a team that’s playing from the shadow of their own goal post.

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