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'No Weaknesses'? Cowboys, 35, Patriots 29 in Dak Prescott-Led Overtime Shootout

At stake for the Cowboys in Week 6? NFC East ownership. At stake for Bill Belichick? His reputation.

Words matter.

So it’s important to note that when coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots spent the week talking up the Sunday challenge of the NFC East-leading Dallas Cowboys, he didn’t say “America’s Team” has “no weaknesses.”

What he said precisely ...

“Just overall, a very impressive level of talent. Offensively, they do a really good job with their schemes and put a lot of pressure on the defense. Defensively, they pretty much do everything well. There’s not really a lot of weaknesses on this team.”

“Not a lot of weaknesses.” Meaning, coming into NFL Week 6, “There might be something vulnerable about Dallas, something New England can exploit.”

Cowboys 35, Patriots 29 in OT says … “Nope. Not very vulnerable. Not very exploitable - unless the Cowboys almost beat themselves.''

Dallas finally won on a 35-yard Dak Prescott-to-CeeDee Lamb TD pass. It goes down as a fifth-straight win.

But it doesn't go down as "easy.'' Or "weakness-free.''

The Cowboys fell into a 14-10 first-half hole despite recording a blocked punt, despite out-snapping New England 41-17 and despite numerous trips near the goal line. A typical first-half goof:

Dallas in the first half scored just the one TD despite being in the red zone four times, and also committed four turnovers and also was flagged seven times.

As CBS voice Tony Romo said at halftime, "If you're a Cowboys fan, you have to be thinking, 'How are we not winning this thing?''

In the second half, Dallas was "winning this thing.'' Prescott finally got the Cowboys into the end zone again with a Lamb TD connection for a 17-14 lead before a see-saw final perior that saw Dallas ...

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*Blow a chance to win when Greg Zuerlein missed a late 51-yard field goal, keeping Dallas behind 21-20.

*Dramatically steal the lead right back moments later on a thrilling pick-six interceptions for a TD by Trevon Diggs, his NFL-topping seventh steal of the year.

*Dramatically watch as Diggs is victimized moments later on a Patriots 75-yard TD bomb - a one-play "drive'' - from Mac Jones to Kendrick Bourne, to push Dallas down 29-26 with 2:11 left in the game.

The Cowboys had one final crack at it in regulation, with Prescott (445 passing yards, with three TD throws) and Lamb (nine catches, 149 yards, two TDs) pushing them into Patriots territory with 24 seconds left. 

On came Zuerlein. And inside the uprights went Zuerlein's 49-yard kick to tie the game, sending it to OT.

From there? Dallas cleaned up its substantial problems with errors to mount the final possession, and a final overwhelming of New England. ... thanks to Dak-to-Lamb, again.

Coach Mike McCarthy said of Prescott: “He never wavered. His process was the same throughout. He’s on top of his game right now.”

No waver. But not "no weaknesses.''

In the end? It wasn't about "no weaknesses.'' Rather, Dallas is 5-1 because it's good enough to overcome a day full of them.

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