FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones knew it was going to be difficult to win Sunday against the Patriots for a variety of reasons, but mostly because of New England coach Bill Belichick.
"The bottom line is that was a tough challenge," Jones said. "They know how to play this game, in this weather. Their team was masterful. Their coach was masterful. ... It was a significant setback for our team. We need this win. We needed a win against an opponent like this, and we haven't had one."
In rainy and windy conditions, the Cowboys lost 13-9 at Gillette Stadium, dropping to 6-5 on the season and still looking for their first win against a team with a winning record this season. The last time the Cowboys had a victory against a team with a winning record was in Week 13 last season, when they beat the New Orleans Saints, who entered that game on a 10-game winning streak.
That Belichick had the upper hand against Jason Garrett was not unexpected to Jones.
"I think you're going to get out-coached during this era when you come to New England. I do. I think you are," Jones said. "I give him his, not due there, but it's just what you're dealing with. My point is: Don't get yourself in a spot where you have to come up here and beat him, and beat them on a day like today. Don't get in a spot where that's determining what you want to be about, where that's determining where we're going."
While Belichick and the Patriots managed the game and the weather, the Cowboys had difficulties handling both. Their special teams contributed to a 10-point swing with a missed field goal attempt by Brett Maher and a blocked punt that led to New England's first touchdown in the first quarter.
Late-game decision-making by Garrett, who is not under contract after this season, also came into question.
Trailing 13-6 and facing fourth-and-7 from the New England 11, Garrett opted to kick a field goal to cut the gap to four points with 6:04 left. Had it been a shorter yardage to convert on fourth down, Garrett said he would have put more consideration into going for it.
"[If] they go ahead and kick a field goal coming back, it's still a chance to be in the game," Garrett said. "Then, what did we get it back with, just under three with a chance to go win it? So just felt good about that decision."
The Cowboys got the ball back with 2:38 to play and all of their timeouts but were hurt by a dubious tripping penalty and a properly overturned catch via replay by Amari Cooper on fourth down that effectively ended the game.
But Jones was not happy to be leaving with a loss.
"Make no mistake about it, this was a bigger game [for the Cowboys] than it was for the Patriots on the win column," Jones said. "We had an opportunity to establish something. There is no gratification getting down to the last drive with it determining the outcome of the game. That is not the point. You can't be satisfied with how we got out there.
"I don't care if it is New England with their record and their coach and all that. You can't be satisfied just because you got within the last drive. I'm just really frustrated. I thought we could come up here and put together a better effort in all three phases. I expected us to play well against them defensively. We got what I think we should have expected from our defense. The other phases of the game, we can't come up here and play like that."
Despite the intense criticism from Jones, the Cowboys will make no immediate changes to Garrett's coaching staff with a game against Buffalo in four days, a team source told ESPN's Ed Werder.