16 - 20 Final
  for this game

Last-minute score lifts Patriots over Cowboys

Oct 17, 2011 - 1:31 AM Foxboro, MA (Sports Network) - Aaron Hernandez's touchdown within the final minute gave the New England Patriots an historic 20-16 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.

The win is the 116th time the quarterback-head coach duo of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick has won a game, tying Hall of Famers Dan Marino and Don Shula of the Miami Dolphins from 1983-1995. New England also won its 20th consecutive regular season home game, tying the 1929-32 Green Bay Packers for the fourth- longest streak all-time.

Brady completed 27-of-41 passes for 289 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions for New England (5-1). The two touchdowns gave Brady 277 for his career and moved him past Vinny Testaverde for sole possession of eighth place all-time.

The one record New England failed to reach was recording its 14th straight regular-season game with more than 30 points scored. The Patriots' streak ended at 13, one shy of the league record set by the 1999-2000 St. Louis Rams.

Tony Romo threw for 317 yards with a touchdown and an interception on 27-of-41 passing for Dallas (2-3), but his Hail Mary throw as time expired went wide of the end zone and the Cowboys dropped their second consecutive game.

Dez Bryant caught four passes for 78 yards and Miles Austin hauled in seven receptions for 74 yards in the loss.

"We just need to figure out how to get the win at the end and I think we will going forward," Romo said. "This team is continuing to grow and get better, we just need to finish out a game like today, and we will I think, as the season progresses."

Trailing 16-13 with 5:13 left in the game, New England was held to a quick three-and-out. After forcing the same from Dallas, the Patriots started a drive with 2 1/2 minutes remaining at their own 20.

Brady threw for first downs on consecutive completions to Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski before finding Wes Welker for a short gain at the two-minute warning.

After a quarterback sneak gave the Patriots a first down at the Dallas 27, Brady hit Danny Woodhead for a 13-yard gain to move the ball into the red zone. Two plays later, Hernandez hauled in an eight-yard touchdown pass with a defender on his back to give New England a 20-16 lead with 22 seconds left in the game.

"It was great protection. Great catch by Aaron. A lot of guys made big plays on that drive; we really needed it," Brady said.

Romo was intercepted by Kyle Arrington on the opening drive of the game and New England took over at the Dallas 47. The Patriots failed to push the ball in for the score from within the Cowboys' 10-yard line and had to settle for a Stephen Gostkowski 31-yard field goal.

New England started its next possession at its own 10 after a Dallas punt. Brady was picked off by Terence Newman on the first play of the drive, giving the Cowboys the ball at the Patriots' 23. Dan Bailey's 48-yard field goal made it a 3-3 game.

Matthew Slater had the ball slapped out of his hand on the ensuing kickoff and the Cowboys recovered the fumble at New England's 32-yard line. But Tashard Choice lost a fumble to give the ball right back to New England.

Deion Branch's 45-yard catch-and-run moved the ball into Dallas territory, but the Patriots again had to settle for a red-zone field goal when Gostkowski split the uprights from 26 yards out early in the second quarter.

After the Cowboys were forced to punt, New England took over at its own 31. Gronkowski rumbled for a 20-yard gain on a screen pass on the first play of the drive, and a roughing the passer penalty moved the Patriots further down the field before Brady found Welker for a five-yard score.

Welker was initially called out at the one-yard line but a challenge revealed he stretched the ball across the goal line before falling out of bounds, giving the Patriots a 13-3 lead.

Dallas answered with an 11-play, 93-yard scoring drive to send the game into half time with a 13-10 score. Bryant's 33-yard reception highlighted the march before Romo hit Jason Witten for a one-yard touchdown grab.

The Cowboys took their first drive of the second half within the Patriots' 10- yard line, but a sack on Romo moved the ball back to the 18 and Choice was stopped short of the goal on a screen pass to force a game-tying, 22-yard field goal by Bailey.

New England then marched down the field, helped by a running into the kicker penalty on a punt that gave the ball back to the Patriots. But deep in Cowboys territory, Hernandez fumbled and Dallas recovered.

The Cowboys had to punt and New England had another drive into Dallas territory halted with a turnover. Sean Lee picked off Brady at the Cowboys' 26-yard line.

Laurent Robinson caught a short pass from Romo, fought off a defender and raced down the right sideline for a 32-yard gain to move Dallas deep into New England territory. Dallas was denied a touchdown yet again inside the red zone, and Bailey's 26-yard kick put the Cowboys ahead, 16-13.

Game Notes

New England has not lost a regular-season game in Gillette Stadium since a 33-10 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on November 30, 2008...Welker caught six passes for 45 yards, ending his streak of three straight games with over 120 yards receiving...Dallas leads the all-time series 7-4 but has lost the last four meetings...Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware had two sacks and has recorded 13 sacks in his last eight games.