When the Patriots offense trotted back onto the field with 2:31 left trailing by a field goal yesterday, the Cowboys end zone was 80 yards away, but it looked like it was somewhere back in Dallas. It had been that kind of day for Tom Brady.

It was a long slog, a day when the yards came hard, the time to make decisions short, and the margin for error all but nonexistent, as his two interceptions and three sacks made clear. Yet, the Pats knew what was coming and probably, so did Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.

Tom Brady was going to beat him.

That's why both sides knew, despite all the troubles that had preceded that last drive, this was Brady Time.