NFL: Dallas Cowboys at New England Patriots

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is sacked by Cowboys defensive end Robert Quinn during the first half of Sunday’s game

The QB has plenty of valid excuses for another underwhelming performance.

ANOTHER mediocre outing, albeit in another victory. More talk about age and his future.

Is age finally catching up to Tom Brady?

Personally, I refuse to believe it. Sure, the numbers are down: just over 50 percent in these past two games.

But you have to consider the factors, the injuries to his wide receivers, the continued absence of Rob Gronkowski and Gronk not being replaced even by a facsimile. The wet ball on Sunday, when Brady was clearly off but also had passes dropped as he threw to a pair of rookie receivers.

Sorry, it’s too soon to say the slide is here. In fact, he looked pretty good dodging pressure Sunday, limiting the sacks to two.

Brady’s post-game media sessions after the last two games have been brief. It’s clear he’s not thrilled.

“I have a job to do,” Brady said on WEEI Monday. “I think my job, it’s very important to me. I want us to do as best we possibly can each week, like I always have. Everybody puts a lot into it and you want to see a great performance. When it’s less than that, I don’t know what I should feel other than what is authentic to me and what is authentic to my own personal feelings and beliefs about how we should be performing and what we need to do in order to do better.

“I have 20 years of experience, so I feel like I have some knowledge. I don’t have all the answers, but I have been around long enough to know what it looks like. I think our guys are trying. We have good attitudes and we work hard. We have a very good team. I think our team will improve as we on offense improve. I think we can do that by — again, it comes down to trust, and dependability and consistency. That is what we’re trying to do. Those things just don’t magically come together. You’ve got to work at them and we’re working at them. Hopefully we can reach a higher level.”

He said: “Hopefully we can make some improvements this week and go put together our best game of the year.”

Two straight games without a big outing by the QB and two straight wins to get to 10-1.

Not looking ahead

As far as his future, Brady, asked by Fox’s Erin Andrews if he “could really envision yourself in a different uniform next year?” asked Andrews.

Said Brady: “I don’t think it’s hard for me to be in the present. I do think a lot of people want to make predictions. I think the reality is there is no prediction. I’ve always said I have a plan to play longer, and I’ll figure that out when the time comes.”

Tony Massarotti of The Sports Hub offered an interesting tweet on the Patriots winning 17-10 and 13-9. “From 2007-18, Patriots were 7-18 when scoring 17 or fewer points in any game during the regular season, including 0-3 last year. This year, they’re 3-0. Last time the Pats had that many such wins in a season was 2003. They won the Super Bowl.”

Gilmore stingy

The Patriots had Stephon Gilmore on Amari Cooper in the rain Sunday and Gilmore actually caught one more pass than the Cowboys receiver. Cooper had one catch that was erased by a penalty and his diving attempt at the end of the game was ruled a catch and then flipped — correctly — upon review.

As he usually does, Gilmore did his part in taking away the opposition’s big weapon. Cooper came in with 56 catches for 886 yards and seven touchdowns.

But Dak Prescott didn’t necessarily see it that way.

“I wouldn’t say that,” he said. “… They made a little bit more plays and fewer mistakes than we did. And we didn’t make many, we didn’t make many. It was just one of those games, just take what they give you on both sides of the ball, fighting the conditions on both sides of the ball, and they came out on top.”

Mom worries

We all watched and wondered as Kemba Walker lay motionless on the floor in Denver. We hoped the news wouldn’t be horrible, and it turned out it was not.

That was all of us. Imagine being Walker’s mom.

“It was awful,” Andrea Walker told The Boston Globe. “If I could’ve jumped through that TV, I would have. I felt like he was halfway around the world. “I mean, all kinds of things were going through my mind. It was just crazy.”

Jared Weiss of The Athletic, tweets “Important Gordon Hayward update: Hayward was able to continue (video) gaming after the injury and said it actually served as rehab to keep his fingers moving.”

Good news/bad news for the Bruins

The good news is that wild late comeback to beat the Wild Saturday night. Brad Marchand was named the NHL’s stop star for last week.

The bad news is Patrice Bergeron is out with a lower body injury and will not be with the team on the trip to Montreal (Tuesday) and Ottawa (Wednesday). The Bruins host the Rangers in a matinee Friday

Sunday leftovers

Jimmy Garoppolo was 14-for-20 for 253 yards and two touchdowns as the 49ers also moved to 10-1, with a blowout of the Packers. …

Frank Gore, carrying the ball for 8-3 Buffalo, moved into third place on the NFL’s all-time rushing list after passing Barry Sanders Sunday. Emmitt Smith is the all-time leader, with 18,355 yards, while Walter Payton is second at 16,726 yards. Gore, who overcame two torn ACL injuries at Miami that dropped him to the third round of the draft, is now third at 15,289. “They told me I would be (in the NFL) two or three years. When I got drafted in the third round, they said San Francisco reached on me,” Gore said. “After the game, when I saw all the cameras, I was like, ‘Man, I passed Barry.’ Barry is one of the best, if not the best to do it. . . . And I’m a guy who they said wouldn’t be in the league more than two or three years, and I got a chance to pass him today. I’m blessed.” …

Tampa Bay WR Mike Evans joined his idol, Randy Moss, as the only two receivers in NFL history to reach 1,000 yards in each of his first six seasons. …

Sam Darnold apparently isn’t seeing those ghosts anymore. The QB has led the Jets to three straight wins, going 58-for-89 for 835 yards, seven touchdowns and one interception in those games, with a 127.8 rating Sunday. Since his Patriots nightmare, he’s hit 67 percent of his passes. …

Column pal Gary Myers, the veteran scribe who wrote Brady vs. Manning, commenting on the pathetic Giants, tweeted, “Here’s a fun little fact: The NY Giants and NY Mets each last won on Sept. 29. Think about that. The Mets haven’t played for two months and the Giants haven’t won for two months.”

Finally, Rodney Harrison on former teammate Matthew Slater after Slater’s big punt block Sunday: “I think he’s the greatest special teams player I’ve ever played with. A hard-working guy, very humble, and just a smart football player.”

Mike Shalin covers Boston pro sports for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. His email address is shalinmike@yahoo.com. Follow him on Twitter @mscotshay.