In The Red Zone

As the New England Patriots head into their bye week it looks like the defense may be making strides.  In the category that means the most, points allowed, they are now 13th in the NFL.  Last week they were 20th, the week before that they were 27th.

Tom Brady and Bill Belichick continue to climb up the record charts in various categories.  Brady in TD passes, Belichick in career wins and the pair as the winningest combo in the Super Bowl era.

As of now there are two roster spots open on the 53-man roster and one on the practice squad so for sure there will be movement.  Some of that movement may come from the PUP list.

With the other teams in the division having at least 2 losses each the Patriots are guaranteed to remain in first place through the bye.  After the bye they go to Pittsburgh, have a home game against the Giants and then face the Jets on the road. A 2-1 mark in those games would still have them at least in a first place tie in the division just past the halfway point of the season.

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New England head coach Bill Belichick had his weekly day after media meeting via conference call about Sunday’s game and the week ahead.

The Patriots have not lost a regular season game at Gillette Stadium since the 2008 season having won 20 consecutive regular season home games.  It is the longest current streak in the NFL.

Since 2002 when Gillette Stadium opened the Patriots are 70-14 at home.

They are 18-1 at Gillette Stadium vs. the NFC.

On Monday afternoon the team announced that CB Sterling Moore and S Ross Ventrone had both been released.  No corresponding roster moves were announced but you have to wonder if RB Kevin Faulk, DE Ron Brace or DL Brandon Deadrick are ready to come off of the PUP list.  Moore and Ventrone are both practice squad eligible.

The Patriots wore their white jersey at home Sunday forcing the Cowboys to wear the little worn navy jersey.

QB Tom Brady made his weekly appearance as part of “Patriots Monday” on Boston’s WEEI AM/FM.

Brady and Belichick tied Miami’s Dan Marino and Don Shula as the winningest quarterback-head coach combination in the Super Bowl era with their 116 win on Sunday.

Brady passed former teammate Vinny Testaverde for 8th all time on the TD pass list with 277.  Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas is 7th with 290.

LB Jerod Mayo missed the game with a sprained MCL and could return after the bye against Pittsburgh.  In addition to Mayo players who missed the game Sunday with injuries were Sergio Brown, Ras-I Dowling, Julian Edelman, Josh Barrett and Sebastian Vollmer. Ryan Mallett was a healthy scratch for the 5th time in 6 weeks.

With the Patriots playing mostly with 2 wide receivers and 2 tight ends Chad Ochocinco was only on the field for 7 plays against Dallas.

So what is Ochocinco’s role and what’s next for him?

The New England defense had one three and out the entire game and that was when they got Brady the ball back for the game winning drive. It was the 32nd comeback win of his career and his first in 2011.

TE Aaron Hernandez says with Brady anything can happen.

CB Kyle Arrington had a 1st quarter INT, it’s his fourth of the season, he now leads the NFL in INTs.

Poor decisions do in Cowboys.

ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss and his Patriots 3 Up, 3 Down.

Did anyone really think Brady wouldn’t deliver with the game on the line?

Rookie RB Stevan Ridley made his first NFL start on Sunday.

The Gronkowski brothers, Rob and Dan, were in the starting line up together for the first time.

In the end the Cowboys couldn’t conserve the lead.

Wilfork praises progress of the defense.

A look at how the Patriots got physical with Cowboys TE Jason Witten.

The defense is starting to state its case.

Dallas defensive coordinator Rob Ryan honored not only Myra Kraft but also Al Davis on his play sheet.

With the bye next week the Patriots were off Monday, back at Gillette on Tuesday and Wednesday and then off from Thursday through Monday.  They return on Tuesday October 25.

And unless there’s major news involving the team so will we.  Have a great Sunday with no Patriots game.  I’m sure your spouses/significant others already have a fall foliage ride, apple picking or yard work in your future.

New England plays the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday October 30 at 4:15 p.m. at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.  Look for the Sox & Dawgs “In The Red Zone Game Preview” available on Friday October 28.

Follow Steve on Twitter @djstevem