Cowboys fall to Patriots 30-6, QB spot now in flux sans Romo

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — With the game far out of reach, Brandon Weeden had Terrance Williams wide open for a consolation touchdown when Tony Romo’s replacement badly overthrew Dez Bryant’s understudy.

It was a perfect illustration of a Dallas offense powerless to keep up with New England while missing Romo and Bryant, even after the Cowboys sacked Tom Brady five times in the first half.

And now Weeden’s status as the starter is uncertain following a 30-6 loss to the Patriots on Sunday.

“Yes,” coach Jason Garrett said, almost interrupting the question about whether he would evaluate the quarterback spot during the upcoming bye. The Cowboys’ next game is Oct. 25 at the New York Giants.

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“I don’t want to talk about it. I’m going to let my play do the talking,” Weeden said. “I think that I played well coming into it. Those are their decisions. That’s what their role is. My role is to play football and be ready.”

Brady threw a pair of touchdowns in the second half, with a 1-yard scoring plunge in the first half when he was under heavy pressure. Greg Hardy had two of the Dallas sacks and Rolando McClain had another in their season debuts after four-game suspensions.

The Super Bowl champion Patriots (4-0) won their seventh straight game going back to the playoffs last year.

Dallas (2-3) lots its third straight without Romo and his top receiver, and has at least four more games without Romo (broken left collarbone).

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Bryant had an injection last week to try to speed the healing of his broken right foot, an injury sustained in the season opener. Romo went down a week later.

“We’ll see,” owner Jerry Jones said when asked if Bryant could return against the Giants in two weeks. “It would be a complete guess, but he certainly has the time for the bone to heal. He’s exceptional.”

This was the biggest struggle so far for Weeden, who lost his 11th straight game as a starter going back to his time as a first-round draft pick in Cleveland.

The Cowboys had just 59 yards at halftime, and trailed 20-3 before their first long drive, which ended with the second of their two field goals late in the third quarter.

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Weeden went 26 of 39 for 188 mostly meaningless yards, and the Dallas running game was also mostly ineffective until it was too late.

“Brandon didn’t play well enough, but we didn’t play well enough,” Garrett said. “We just need to be able to control the line of scrimmage more in the running game and they did a good job loading the box up.”

Brady, in his 16th season, joined Peyton Manning and Fran Tarkenton as the only NFL quarterbacks with 4-0 starts at least four times. It wasn’t easy early.

The 38-year-old hadn’t been sacked more than five times in the regular season since Buffalo had seven in 2001, the year he took over as the starter and won the first of four Super Bowls.

Hardy, the defensive end making his Dallas debut after a four-game ban for his role in a domestic violence case, was credited with two sacks, including one that resulted in a fumble recovered for a short gain by the Patriots.

He made headlines during the week for commenting on Brady’s supermodel wife, Gisele Bundchen, after being suspended because the NFL believed he roughed up his former girlfriend last year.

After the game, his only response to several questions about his interaction with Brady was, “Any other questions?”

McClain, in the first game of his second season with Dallas following a violation of the league’s substance-abuse policy, had the first sack.

“Those are two great players,” said Brady, who threw for 275 yards, about 96 fewer than he averaged in the first three games for the league’s No. 1 offense. “They add ’em to the mix and they’ve got a defense.”

But the Cowboys didn’t get to Brady in the second half, when he had a 59-yard scoring pass to Julian Edelman for a 27-6 lead after a 10-yarder to Dion Lewis.

NOTES: Brady’s sneak to put New England ahead for good in the second quarter was his first rushing TD since Dec. 16, 2012, when he had the last of his career-high four that season. … Stephen Gostkowski extended his NFL-best streak of made field goals to 19 with three, including a career-long of 57 yards in the final seconds of the first half. His previous long was 54.