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3 things we learned about the Patriots

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ARLINGTON, Texas — New England quarterback Tom Brady was shaken a bit in the first half Sunday afternoon, but not enough to knock the Patriots off their early-season ride.

Brady threw for two touchdowns and ran for another as the Patriots remained undefeated with a 30-6 win over the Dallas Cowboys 30-6 on Sunday afternoon at AT&T Stadium.

The Patriots (4-0) weren’t the same offensive juggernaut as in their first three games, but New England did more than enough coming off a bye week to wear down the undermanned Cowboys.

Brady and the Patriots came in averaging nearly 40 points in their first three wins. They won this one with defense, giving up a season-low point total.

Brady worked around five sacks — all in the first half — to complete 20 of 27 passes for 275 yards with no interceptions. The veteran has 11 touchdown passes this season and has yet to throw a pick.

“There were a lot of adjustments today,” Brady said. “I don’t think we practiced a lot of what they were doing, but I think our defense played great. They were just awesome.

“There were just a lot of clutch plays by our defense and special teams. Offense, we made a few plays, but we can play better than that.”

New England wide receiver Julian Edelman caught four passes for 120 yards and a touchdown, his first 100-yard game of the season. Tight end Rob Gronkowski caught four balls for 67 yards. Running back LeGarrette Blount had 74 yards rushing.

Hitting the ground repeatedly in the first half didn’t change Brady’s approach. It was the first time he was sacked at least five times since 2001.

What we learned about the Patriots

1. Quarterback Tom Brady is a tough son-of-a-gun, but everyone already that. Brady was sacked five times in the first half (not at all in the second) but still passed for 275 yards and two scores. “I don’t think anybody questions Tom’s toughness,” coach Bill Belichick said. “Who’s ever done that? Tom’s one of the toughest players in the league.” Still, those offensive line issues need to be cleaned up for Brady’s sake.

2. New England isn’t about to let up taking it out on the NFL. The Patriots went 4-0 through the stretch in which they were supposed to be without a suspended Brady. The quarterback won his appeal in court, and the defending Super Bowl champs are showing no signs of slowing down.

3. The defense came up big by limiting Dallas to season-low 264 yards and forcing two turnovers. New England had three sacks, two coming from defensive end Jabaal Sheard.

Etc.

–QB Tom Brady joined Peyton Manning and Fran Tarkenton as the only NFL quarterbacks to start 4-0 at least four times in their careers. Brady has 11 touchdowns and no interceptions through four games to go along with 1,387 yards passing.

–TE Rob Gronkowski (four catches, 67 yards) came up short Sunday in his bid for a third consecutive 100-yard game. He also was held out of the end zone for the second straight game after scoring four touchdowns in the first two weeks.

–WR Julian Edelman caught four passes for 120 yards, including a 59-yard touchdown. It was his first 100-yard game of the season after totaling 97, 97 and 85 yards in the first three games.


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