Cowboys in Buccaneers points: The Dallas Explosion is on its way to winning, and Tampa Bay is down

The Dallas Cowboys transfer on to the Divisional Spherical after a convincing win at Raymond James Stadium the place they defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to shut out Tremendous Wild Card Weekend 31-14.

Each offenses have been gradual out of the gate every scoring three straight instances to start out the sport. Then Dallas got here alive on its third possession of the night, driving 80 yards in seven performs as Dak Prescott related with Dalton Schultz for the primary landing of the sport. This appeared to open the flood gates as Tampa Bay started shifting the ball and it reached the Cowboys five-yard line. Nevertheless, it was at that time when Tom Brady threw an interception ultimately zone to Jayron Kearse. That was one of many Bucs’ few profitable possessions of the evening and their solely shot on the rating when the sport was nonetheless in hand. From there, Dallas scored three touchdowns on consecutive drives to assist construct a 24-point lead.

Even when Tampa Bay lastly discovered the top zone on the finish of the third quarter with Brady’s 30-yard landing move to Julio Jones, the Cowboys answered with a nine-play, 66-yard landing drive to go up 31–6. This actually kills any slight notion that Brady may pull one other miracle operating again from his helmet.

Prescott completed with a formidable bottom line. He was 25-of-33 for 305 yards and 4 touchdowns. He additionally rushed for a rating and added 24 yards on the bottom. Schultz was his favourite goal of the evening, catching seven of his eight targets for a team-high 95 yards and two touchdowns. In the meantime, Brady was 35 of 66 for 351 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

For a extra in-depth breakdown of how this recreation will evolve, take a look at our takeaways under.

Why did the Cowboys win?

For a minute, it seemed like Dallas was going to throw up a continuation of their Week 18 loss in opposition to Washington. Their first possession lasted about 10 seconds earlier than they punted the ball huge, and so they had three extra on the subsequent drive. Throughout this stretch, Dak Prescott was unable to finish a move. Then the change flipped.

The Cowboys offense got here alive, and that was due to Prescott’s arm breaking off on an 11-game profitable streak, which marked a brand new franchise playoff document. Throughout this run, he made consecutive 80-yard landing drives. The primary ended with touchdowns by Dalton Schultz and Prescott then ran it himself on an excellent fourth-and-goal play name by Mike McCarthy. Throughout that 11 completion streak, Prescott threw for 135 yards and a landing, whereas additionally including that dashing rating.

Prescott did not decelerate after that both, throwing one other landing earlier than halftime and one other proper after, making 4 straight landing drives to assist Dallas roll over a 24-0 lead. These scoring drives have been additionally no rushes both as they traveled 80, 80, 91 and 86 yards, scattering the Tampa Bay protection up and down the sector. This lead proved greater than sufficient to maintain the Bucs a stable distance. Even after they lastly obtained into the top zone, Dallas made positive to place out any spark they’d as they answered shortly with a 66-yard drive to go up 31-6.

After that preliminary gradual begin on its opening two drives, Dallas’ offense was additionally sturdy in essential conditions, changing seven of 11 third-down conditions and making an attempt a second down every. They’ve additionally been profitable on all 4 of their drives into the crimson zone, whereas the protection has taken the Bucs out of the top zone on two of their three drives.

Because it pertains particularly to Prescott, it’s also notable that he didn’t make a single interception on this recreation. This was an issue for him all through the common season, as he was tied for essentially the most main league interceptions regardless of lacking 5 video games resulting from harm. If he can hold the ball away from the opponent, Dallas will nonetheless be harmful.

The one actual draw back to this recreation on the cowboy aspect of issues got here on particular groups with kicker Brett Maher, who He missed 4 additional level makes an attempt.

Why did the pirates lose

The large query surrounding the Buccaneers’ coming into this playoff was whether or not they have been an actual postseason menace or only a comfort winner in a dreadful division. From what we noticed Monday evening, Tampa Bay did not seem like a official playoff contender by any means.

The offense was very seen and Tom Brady appeared to battle to search out any sort of relationship together with his move catchers – particularly Mike Evans – early on. Because the Cowboys superior to a 24-0 lead, they have been attacked 5 instances (thrice), had an interception ultimately zone, and have been unable to attain earlier than time ran out within the first half. By the point they really obtained to the scoreboard, the sport was already out of attain and people hoping to return have been solely doing so due to the quarterback’s resume and never what the present product on the sector was exhibiting us.

As has been the case all season, the operating recreation hasn’t been there in Tampa Bay, which naturally impacts how defenses play in opposition to a move. Even earlier than the Bucs gave up a run to try to throw themselves again on this recreation, they did not get a lot of something from a backfield dashing for twenty-four yards on seven carries within the first half.

Whereas the offense continued to have its fair proportion of issues, the protection did not reply the bell both. They could not get off the sector as a result of Dallas sliced ​​them lengthy, soul-wrecking runs, crashing particularly in key areas of the sector. All the protection phase ran down guard Dak Prescott’s landing the place nobody adopted him when he sprinted to his left and simply entered for a landing. One of many greatest back-breaking moments on this loss got here after Tampa Bay lastly obtained into the top zone due to a 30-yard landing run from Brady to Julio Jones. Dallas shortly moved down the sector and reached the Buccaneers’ 18-yard line earlier than deciding to go for it on fourth down. On that play, there was an entire protection breakdown that left CeeDee Lamb huge open for a landing that put Tampa down by 25.

That is Tom Brady’s fourth one-off playoff journey in his profession. Now, all eyes shall be on the midfielder and what he does subsequent. Whereas there shall be loads of time to dissect all of that, this was a recreation — and season — to neglect for the TB12.

turning level

As in most video games, there have been just a few main twists to this one. Brady’s finish zone interception was naturally a large velocity bump that blew out the tires of the Bucs offense. It was his first crimson zone interception since becoming a member of Tampa Bay and he caught the longest streak in NFL historical past (407 makes an attempt) to throw a decide within the now crimson zone.

With this spin sandwiched between the Cowboys’ downs, it solely compounded dangerous luck much more.

Whereas that swing was down the center, there was additionally a choice by Todd Bowles within the first half that deserved some second guesses. On possession after that interception, the Bucs discovered themselves down by 12 however discovered some tempo offensively. After beginning at their very own 25-yard line, they introduced the ball to midfield and confronted a fourth-and-three state of affairs, the place the Bulls elected to subject the punting unit. Provided that the offense was beginning to present indicators of life and the place they have been on the sector, this could have been a second to maintain the unit on the sector and hold it going.

As a substitute, they gave the ball again, and Dallas drove 91 yards down the sector and went up by 18 factors. In a playoff recreation like this one, a little bit of aggression, particularly when your staff is beginning to construct some momentum, would have been a sensible transfer by Bowles slightly than enjoying it conservatively.

Play the sport

Prescott’s second passing landing of the evening was arguably essentially the most spectacular. Along with his preliminary readout packing and middle urgent, he was pressured out to his left and was rolling in the direction of the sideline earlier than twisting his physique to make an off-balance throw that was squeezed straight into Schulz’s arms. That ended with a 91-yard landing drive simply earlier than halftime that gave Dallas all of the cushion they wanted to safe the win.

Prescott’s 4 landing assists on this recreation tied the Cowboys within the playoffs as he joined legends Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach. Prescott additionally had the best passer score (143.3) in a recreation in Cowboys playoff historical past (minimal 20 makes an attempt).

What’s Subsequent

From right here, the Cowboys will put together for his or her Divisional Spherical recreation with the San Francisco 49ers at Levi’s Stadium subsequent Sunday at 6:30 PM ET. As for the Buccaneers, they’re about to enter what’s about to be a transformative low season as Brady, slated to hit free company, decides on his subsequent transfer.

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