4 Things We Learned from Cowboys vs. Buccaneers – Dak Prescott is Back and More
The Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicked the 2021 NFL season off in style on Thursday night. It’s easy to just go ahead and say that, but they really produced a gem that went down to the wire.
It was a game riddled with turnovers and questionable decision-making, but ultimately, it generated 60 total points and a last-second field goal to win it for the Buccaneers.
If you’re wondering what the Cowboys vs. Buccaneers score was, Tampa Bay edged out Big D, 31-29.
We learned a lot about these two teams from the first NFL game of the year. Let’s break down the four biggest takeaways in my week one Cowboys vs. Buccaneers recap.
Tom Brady Still Has It
Tom Brady is 44 years young, my friends. He showed some poor decision-making in a few spots and tossed two picks, but he ultimately shredded the Cowboys defense.
Here are his final stats from week one.
- 379 passing yards
- 4 TDs
- 2 INT
- 64% completion percentage
- 97 quarterback rating
The two picks weren’t ideal, but one of them wasn’t his fault, and the other was on a hail mary before halftime. He could have easily thrown 1-2 more, of course (one of which could have been a pick-six), so his week one performance wasn’t perfect.
Still, Brady was largely poised in the pocket, and he unloaded on Dallas, abusing the Cowboys to the tune of almost 400 yards and four scores through the air.
Brady is 44 in age, but he sure doesn’t play like it. No matter what you think of him, there’s no denying NFL fans are still watching greatness on the football field.
Dak Prescott is Officially Back
There was another quarterback in this game, believe it or not. Prescott didn’t get the win, but he had a remarkable performance considering where he’s come from.
If you forgot, let me remind you that Prescott suffered a gruesome leg injury and missed over half of the 2020 season. He then began his preseason with a lat injury.
Despite his long road back, Prescott looked as good as ever. His inspiring performance is starting to turn skeptics into believers, too.
Prescott not only shredded a good Tampa Bay defense for 403 yards and three scores, but he also led his team down the field for what should have been a game-winning field goal.
He watched in horror as Tom Brady responded by doing the same to end the game, but that doesn’t take away from his epic week one performance.
It just may be step one toward Prescott claiming the 2021 NFL Comeback Player of the Year award, too.
Mike McCarthy’s Game Management Needs Work
This is a tale as old as time, to be sure. Dallas head coach Mike McCarthy was often criticized from his days with the Packers, as he ran a vanilla offense and was often too conservative.
McCarthy was called out yet again in his team’s week one loss, as he played it safe with too many field goals in this one, and also couldn’t figure out how to punch a touchdown in late.
McCarthy’s willingness to ignore offensive balance and then weirdly get too conversative is the perfect reminder that he may be in over his head.
Perhaps he adjusts and the Cowboys will be just fine. However, in week one, his game management did not pass the eye test.
NFL Officiating is Still Bad
Tom Brady’s game-winning drive may have never been a thing had he not gotten some help from the referees.
I could talk all day about questionable holding calls and other mistakes from the officiating crew, but the refs really blew it late in this week one affair.
On Tampa Bay’s final drive, wide receiver Chris Godwin undeniably pushed off to create separation, which allowed him to haul in a big catch that set up the Bucs’ winning kick.
It’s arguable the defender’s momentum was going to have him fall over on this play, but it’s beyond obvious that Godwin pushed off.
Considering the magnitude of the play and the timing of the game – and the other issues by the referees throughout the game – it’s fair to say Cowboys fans (and players) probably feel like they got robbed.
Looking Ahead to the Rest of Week 1 in the NFL
This was just the first game of the 2021 NFL season, folks. Dallas had their chances with Tampa Bay coughing up four turnovers, so while it didn’t end how they’d hoped, they probably only have themselves to blame.
Regardless, Dallas proved they can hang with the best of the best, and the Bucs are the first team vying for the first ever 17-0 run.
More excitement will be had on Sunday when the rest of the 2021 NFL season continues in week one.
For more NFL posts with the NFL season picking back up on Sunday, check out the following.