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Gold Stars, Penalty Flags: Brady Strong, O-Line Shaky In Win Over Cowboys

BOSTON (CBS) -- The Pats came off the bye week and really didn't miss a beat. This game was missing some of the key players -- no Tony Romo or Dez Bryant -- but the Pats played a solid game. Here are your gold stars and penalty flags

The Gold Stars

Dion Lewis gets a gold star. Fresh off his new contract extension, Lewis had the play of the game. His catch and touchdown run was dazzling. Lewis ended the game with 93 all-purpose yards. His game is getting better, and watching him create in the open field is something to see. Rex Ryan may not know his name but the Cowboys' defense sure does.

The Pats secondary gets a gold star. Brandon Weeden had 188 passing yards and Jason Witten was shut down for most of the game. The Pats defense as a whole forced more three-and-outs than I can remember. The main focus in the offseason was the loss of Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner. The players in this secondary has been strong and they've spent most of their games in one-on-one coverage. So far, so good.

Tom Brady gets a gold star. He took a beating in this game, sacked five times in the first half and taken to the ground on many other plays. He stayed the course and led the Pats on their first touchdown drive with his patented quarterback sneak. He then hung in the pocket long enough to hit Julian Edelman for the touchdown to put the game out of reach.

The Penalty Flags

The Pats offensive line finally looked young. Greg Hardy is better than I thought and 14 months off gave him some motor, but he still had way too many shots on 12. This was the first game where the Pats' offensive line has come into question. They got things somewhat together in the second half but it could have been too late. What good is having someone like Michael Williams if you don't use him? He's the offense lineman/tight end that the Pats have on the roster. He could have helped in this game but was rarely used.

The injury bug gets a penalty flag. Dont'a Hightower with a rib injury and Nate Solder with an elbow. Hopefully neither of the injuries are season-ending but this is not the time to suffer any injury. The Pats have zero breaks coming up. They need to rely on their depth during this long, grueling road.

Follow Levan Reid on Twitter @LevanReid.

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