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Patriots’ banged-up offensive line gets Mike Onwenu, Isaiah Wynn back in relief

Mike Onwenu came in as a jumbo tight end on the Patriots' first drive.Steven Senne/Associated Press

FOXBOROUGH — Despite the return of a couple of banged-up big boys, the Patriots went with the same starting offensive line for the second straight week in Sunday’s 35-29 overtime loss to the Cowboys.

Mike Onwenu and Isaiah Wynn, both of whom returned from the COVID-19 list late in the week, played in relief.

New England went with Justin Herron at left tackle, James Ferentz at left guard, David Andrews at center, Ted Karras at right guard, and Yondy Cajuste at right tackle.

Things went well at the start, but the tackles struggled as the game went on, with Cajuste giving up a big strip-sack to Randy Gregory midway through the second quarter that stunned the New England offense, which had been moving well until that point.


Mac Jones said Gregory’s crunching hit wasn’t the worst he’s absorbed “but of course it hurt.’’ The quarterback refused to point fingers.

“I just got to get up and jog off the field. That’s part of the game,’’ the rookie said. “I should have gotten the ball out quicker. So, that’s on me.’’

Onwenu replaced Cajuste and Wynn stepped in for Herron on the next series. Wynn, who hasn’t practiced in two weeks, also got beat by Gregory for a sack and eventually Herron came back in at left tackle.

Overall, the patchwork line did another solid job, as Jones was only hit five times and the Patriots were able to run for 120 yards, including 101 from Damien Harris.

Hurt locker

The Patriots suffered a number of injuries on defense, with Jonathan Jones (ribs), Adrian Phillips (foot), Dont’a Hightower (elbow), Ja’Whaun Bentley (shoulder), and Chase Winovich (hamstring) all going down at different points.

All except Winovich returned to action but the cumulative effect took its toll as the Patriots’ defense was on the field for 82 plays.


Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott was in a walking boot postgame after suffering a right calf strain on the final drive. He said he would be fine and has extra time to recover with Dallas heading into its bye week.

Another punt blocked

Jake Bailey had his second punt of the season blocked late in the second quarter when Dallas linebacker Luke Gifford found a crease and stormed in.

Gifford’s first career punt was Dallas’s first since Donnie Jones pulled the trick in Philadelphia in 2015.

The Cowboys weren’t able to capitalize, however, as Prescott fumbled while crossing the goal line on the ensuing possession.

Dugger on the board

Kyle Dugger registered his first career interception when he grabbed a Prescott pass in the end zone that was tipped by teammate Justin Bethel . . . Harris had his fifth-career 100-yard rushing game and said his ribs, which limited him practice all week, felt fine . . . Hunter Henry caught a touchdown pass for the third straight game . . . This was the Patriots first overtime game since beating Kansas City in the AFC Championship game in January, 2019.

Stevenson gets first touchdown

Rhamondre Stevenson’s Patriots career got off to a bad start.

In the Week 1 loss to the Dolphins, he committed the cardinal sin of a Bill Belichick offense: he fumbled on his first official carry.

As is typical, he disappeared after that moment. The running back out of Oklahoma was inactive for the next three games.

When he finally made it to the gameday roster against the Texans last week, he submitted a decent showing: 23 yards on 11 carries. And no fumbles.


On Sunday, Stevenson built off of that performance — and scored his first career touchdown.

Stevenson had 23 yards on five carries, including a TD run in the fourth quarter that put New England up, 21-20.

He added another 39 yards through the air, catching the ball all three times Jones targeted him — including a long of 22 yards in the first quarter.

Meyers came so close

Maybe next time, Jakobi Meyers.

The receiver almost recorded his first touchdown catch when he hauled in a Jones pass in the second quarter. But the play was called back because of a holding penalty called on Ferentz.

Meyers — who has 121 career catches — is the only wide receiver in league history with 52 or more career catches and no touchdowns.

Stars come out

The stars were out long before nightfall in Foxborough.

About a dozen Red Sox players attended the game with second baseman Christian Arroyo thrilling the crowd with a jumbotron dance during one timeout. Arroyo and his mates will be back on the diamond Monday night as the ALCS shifts to Fenway with the series tied at 1-1.

Country music star Kenny Chesney, a frequent performer here, had a seat next to Robert Kraft in the owner’s box and when he was shown on the scoreboard as one of his hits played, he gave Kraft a kiss.

Celtics star Jayson Tatum also received a cameo on the jumbotrons and a nice ovation.


Making the rounds

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones spent a good chunk of time before the game taking selfies and signing autographs for many of the Dallas faithful that made the trek to Gillette. Jones and Kraft also had a lengthy chat . . . The Cowboys only scored one touchdown in four previous trips to Gillette, but matched that on their second drive . . . The national anthem was sung by Bridgewater’s Heather Niles, an 11-year cancer survivor.

Katie McInerney of the Globe staff contributed to this report.

More Patriots-Cowboys coverage

Chad Finn | Unconventional Review: The Patriots had to have Sunday, and per usual, they couldn’t quite get it

Tara Sullivan: Mac Jones is getting knocked down, but he keeps getting up and giving the Patriots a fighting chance

Ben Volin | Instant analysis: Patriots somehow hung in with the Cowboys, but the more talented and better team won

Cowboys 35, Patriots 29 (OT): In a game of plot twists and incredible lead changes, Patriots were finally knocked out by Cowboys

Bill Belichick praised Dak Prescott after Patriots’ loss to the Cowboys

The Red Sox had an optional workout on Sunday, so some of them went to the Patriots game

Jim McBride can be reached at james.mcbride@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @globejimmcbride. Katie McInerney can be reached at katie.mcinerney@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter at @k8tmac.