The New England Patriots have been looking for balance in their offense since Tom Brady's four-interception day against the Buffalo Bills.
In the two games since, the running game has responded to more emphasis.
Running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis ran for a career-high 136 yards on a career-high 27 carries last week. The Patriots ran 35 times and threw 33 times in a 30-21 victory over the Jets. The week before, they had a 30-30 split in run-pass selection.
"We've got to be able to run the ball. We've got to stay balanced. And we've got to take advantage of whatever we see," Brady said Monday on his Boston radio show. "I think it gives everybody a lot of comfort, knowing that we are capable of running the ball effectively, as we did yesterday. Yesterday we were pretty balanced, and it was pretty effective. We were throwing the ball decently and ran it decently, and we're going to need to continue to do that."
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Green-Ellis, undrafted four years ago out of Mississippi, is coming off a 1,000-yard season. His 18 touchdowns since the start of last season are tops among NFL running backs.
"Talk about a guy who really takes advantage of his opportunities," Brady said. "Undrafted free agent, sits behind some other guys on our roster for a few years, and once he gets his opportunity, he becomes a damn good starting running back in the NFL."
Tight end watch
The Cowboys again are going to face a productive tight end, the Patriots' Rob Gronkowski, a second-year player who has caught 15 touchdown passes in 21 regular-season games.
In the first four games, the Cowboys faced Dustin Keller of the New York Jets, Vernon Davis of the San Francisco 49ers, Fred Davis of the Washington Redskins and Brandon Pettigrew of the Detroit Lions.
None did much damage against the Cowboys, combining for 14 catches for 166 yards and one touchdown.
But Gronkowski is clearly Tom Brady's second option and has averaged 4.4 catches per game this season. His top game was at Buffalo, when he caught seven passes for 109 yards and two touchdowns. He followed that with his quietest game, catching one pass for 15 yards at Oakland.
The Patriots have another option at tight end now. Aaron Hernandez returned last week after missing two games with a sprained ligament in his left knee.
The Patriots had given up 300 yards passing to every quarterback they had faced this season until last week, when they held Mark Sanchez to 166 yards.
Chad Henne threw for 416 yards in Week 1. Philip Rivers had 378. Ryan Fitzpatrick went for 369. Jason Campbell had 344 two weeks ago.
Tony Romo of the Cowboys has thrown for 300 yards in three of his four games this season. In his only game against the Patriots, Romo threw for 199 yards in a 48-27 loss on Oct. 14, 2007, at Texas Stadium.
The Patriots have scored 30 or more points in 13 consecutive games. The record is 14 by the St. Louis Rams in 1999-2000.
The Patriots won their team-record 19th straight regular-season home game Sunday. They are 62-12 in the regular season at Gillette Stadium, which opened in 2002.
The Patriots have fumbled once and recovered it. They are plus-three on turnovers for the year and an NFL-best plus-109 since 1994.
Last week, Tom Brady threw one touchdown pass, ending a streak of 13 games with two or more. That leaves him tied him with Peyton Manning's streak in 2004.
Julian Edelman's 13.6-yard career average on punt returns is the best in team history.
Wes Welker's 740 receiving yards are an NFL record for the first five games.
Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7407