The Dallas Cowboys had felt the heat all week leading up to Sunday’s matchup against the New England Patriots. Losing to the Arizona Cardinals in week three, in a game which they were favored by 11-12 points, made them the victim of the biggest upset of the regular season so far.
Cowboys safety Jayron Kearse talked about the defense’s performance against the Cardinals, and how they hoped New England would study that game tape.
“We don’t really care what New England does. We play our football, we’re going to stop anything. It’s not really about what New England does. We hope they turn that (Cardinals) tape on and think that’s the same thing they’re getting. They’re not getting nothing close to that.”
Dan Quinn and his defense backed up their talk in Sunday’s game against the Patriots. The Cowboys won 38-3, handing Belichick the worst loss of his illustrious 29-year career.
The Dallas defense allowed a field goal on the first drive of the game for the Patriots, adding unease to the fans watching. The defense quickly recovered, as these would be the only points the Cowboys would allow throughout the game. A play that significantly swung the momentum in favor of Dallas came early in the second quarter. Defensive end Dante Fowler strip-sacked Patriots quarterback Mac Jones, and linebacker Leighton Vander Esch recovered the ball and ran it into the end zone.
Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch’s first career TDpic.twitter.com/sDyDcwx1io— Jori Epstein (@JoriEpstein) October 1, 2023
The star of the defense for the Cowboys was second-year cornerback DaRon Bland. Bland’s first massive play of the game came with roughly a minute remaining in the second quarter, when he intercepted Jones and returned it for a touchdown, marking his second pick-six of the season.
Bland wasn’t done making plays as he intercepted Jones for a second time in the third quarter.
Bland has had a remarkable start to his 2023 season, having three interceptions and two touchdowns in four games. His eight career interceptions are the most by a corner in the NFL since he joined the league last season. It will be important for the Cowboys to continue receiving this production from Bland throughout cornerback Trevon Diggs’ absence from the team.
The Dallas Cowboys run defense impressed as well, holding the Patriots backfield (including former Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott) to just 2.3 yards per carry. The defense answered any questions from their Week 3 performance against the Cardinals, and will hope to carry it into a tough Week 5 matchup against the San Francisco 49ers.