The Dallas Cowboys have spent the past two seasons settling scores with the dynasty formerly known as the New England Patriots.
As The Athletic points out, the Cowboys took away Tom Brady's chance at a storybook ending to his illustrious career last season, and on Sunday afternoon they handed coach Bill Belichick the most lopsided loss of his career to date.
The Cowboys sent Tom Brady into retirement last year.
Now, they've handed Bill Belichick the worst loss of his head coaching career (35 points). pic.twitter.com/IhR5JgPx9p
— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) October 2, 2023
Back in January, the Cowboys got on a flight to Tampa Bay and thoroughly dominated Brady and the Buccaneers in all phases of the game during a 31-14 shellacking in the NFC Wild Card round of the playoffs. Brady passed for 351 yards with two touchdowns and one interception before walking up the Raymond James Stadium tunnel and into retirement.
Similarly, on Sunday afternoon in Week 4 of the 2023 campaign, Dallas' menacing defense ultimately sent Patriots quarterback Mac Jones to the bench in the midst of a 38-3 beat-down.
"I think we're a lot better team than what we showed out there tonight. But that's what we showed, and that's what it was," Belichick told reporters after the game.
Sunday's loss likely says much more about the Patriots — and how far this team has fallen since Brady's departure in 2020 — than about how close the Cowboys are to meaningfully competing for the Super Bowl.
But Dallas did lay bare the very real questions the Patriots have both in 2023 and beyond at quarterback, and how colossally far away New England is from fielding a competent offense. And it underscored what has become a disappointing chapter in Belichick's storied legacy.
The Patriots have been a working definition of mediocre with Belichick on the sidelines and Brady either in Tampa or the owner's suite in Las Vegas, posting a 26-28 record since the seven-time Super Bowl winning quarterback's departure.
But if Sunday is a harbinger of things to come, New England might find itself clamoring for mediocrity in the midst of some very difficult decisions about the future of the winningest coach in franchise history.
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