Each team struggled with turnovers and penalties through the first quarter and a half, but the offenses got untracked late in the half, with each team moving the ball down the field effectively in the final seven minutes of the half.
The game was expected to be an offensive showcase, but Tony Romo opened the game with an interception on the team’s first possession to set up a 31 yard Stephen Gostkowski field goal. The Cowboys defense was able to stop the Patriots potent offense inside the 10 yard line.
The Cowboys would get even just a few minutes later when Tom Brady’s pass intended for Deion Branch was tipped and intercepted by Terrence Newman. The turnover led to a 48 yard field goal for the Cowboys to tie the game.
After a pair of turnovers on the ensuing possessions (a fumble by Matthew Slater and a fumble by Tashard Choice), the Patriots marched into the redzone again. A holding penalty on Nate Solder forced the Pats outside the Cowboys 10 yard line and the team settled for a short field goal again.
After some strong defensive play, the Patriots offense finally started to show some flashes of the brilliance that they’ve played with all year. Brady drove the team 69 yards in 9 lightning quick plays, capped off by a four yard pass to Wes Welker who, upon further review, just squeaked the ball over the goal line to give the team a 13-3 lead.
Faced with the prospect of the game getting away from them, the Cowboys went on a brilliant 11 play, 93 yard drive that encompassed nearly all of the remaining eight minutes of the half, before Tony Romo hit Jason Witten for a two yard touchdown pass. The catch was Witten’s first of the game. The drive was highlighted by the Dez Bryant show as he caught two passes for 58 yards on the drive.
Tom Brady: 10/14 138 yards, 1 TD 1 INT
Stevan Ridley: 3 carries, 19 yards
Deion Branch: 2 catches, 57 yards
Tony Romo: 13/19 138 yards, 1 TD 1 INT
DeMarco Murray: 5 carries, 24 yards
Dez Bryant: 4 catches, 78 yards