TAMPA, Fla. — Dak Prescott was medical because the Dallas Cowboys took care of enterprise on the street towards Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday within the remaining recreation of the opening spherical of the playoffs.
The Buccaneers have been in a position to get the perfect of the Cowboys within the season opener, 19-3, however Prescott’s 5 whole touchdowns and a dominant protection was an excessive amount of within the 31-14 wild-card matchup.
The Cowboys will journey to face the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday (6:30 p.m. ET, Fox) within the divisional spherical.
The Tom Brady curse? Over.
The eight-game playoff dropping streak on the street? Done.
Monday’s thumping of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ended Brady’s private seven-game successful streak towards the Cowboys and gave Dallas its first street playoff win for the reason that 1992 NFC Championship Game.
It was the Cowboys’ most full efficiency this season for the reason that 40-3 demolition of the Minnesota Vikings on Nov. 20, and it could be the jolt the group must make it again to a Super Bowl for the primary time since 1995.
Since that win over the Vikings, the Cowboys have been chasing that form of efficiency and struggled in wins towards the Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans, whereas dropping to the Jacksonville Jaguars in time beyond regulation. Now the Cowboys will look to construct on this after getting over the primary hurdle.
QB breakdown: Prescott stored assuring all people the interception factor would finish. It’s not clear if anyone believed him, however Prescott believed it. He set a postseason document by working for a landing and throwing a landing in his fourth straight playoff recreation. He joined Troy Aikman (Super Bowl XXVII) and Roger Staubach (1975 NFC Championship Game) because the third Cowboys QB with 4 TD passes in a playoff recreation. His confidence grew steadily. His second landing go to Dalton Schultz was a factor of magnificence, scrambling to his left and throwing throughout his physique to the tight finish to offer the Cowboys an 18-0 lead. In his 4 earlier playoff video games, Prescott had at the least one interception in three of them. It wasn’t that he simply performed mistake-free. He made massive performs in key moments.
Buy breakout efficiency: The protection seemed just like the protection from the start of the season when opponents could not crack 20 factors in six of the primary seven video games. Micah Parsons was a nuisance and noticed extra motion at off-the-ball linebacker than he had over the second half of the season. Safety Jayron Kearse had the primary crimson zone interception of Brady’s profession in Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers could not run the ball, which is way completely different than when these groups met within the opener after they had 152 yards on the bottom. The Niners will current extra of a problem with working again Christian McCaffrey, receiver Deebo Samuel, tight finish George Kittle and rookie quarterback Brock Purdy, however this has to boost the group’s confidence.
Troubling development: Kicker Brett Maher was as constant as he may very well be within the common season. He missed simply three further factors. He missed 4 on Monday. And that comes on the heels of lacking his one and solely point-after try within the regular-season finale towards the Washington Commanders. His first two misses have been sliced to the proper. His third was hooked the left. His fourth went off the highest of the proper upright. According to Elias, Brett Maher is the one participant in any NFL recreation since 1932 to overlook 4 further factors in a single recreation, common season or playoffs. So there’s that. Do the Cowboys want to have a look at a kicker as they transfer into the divisional spherical of the playoffs?
Underrated statistic to know: At one level within the first half, Prescott had 11 straight completions, which broke the Cowboys’ postseason document, beforehand set by Troy Aikman in Super Bowl XXX towards the Pittsburgh Steelers, per Elias. — Todd Archer
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
There will likely be no second shot on the 49ers and no eighth Super Bowl ring this season for Brady.
Monday marked Brady’s first loss to the Cowboys and was simply the third time that his group was eradicated within the wild-card spherical of the playoffs, with the final loss approaching Jan. 4, 2020, in a 30-27 loss to the Tennessee Titans in his final recreation with the New England Patriots. Brady had gone 2-0 in wild-card rounds with the Buccaneers the final two years.
With Brady set to develop into an unrestricted free agent, basic supervisor Jason Licht will make each effort to re-sign him this offseason, and they’re going to give him on a regular basis he must decide — one which will likely be closely influenced by household given his want to be near his youngsters. But his standing will decide whether or not they’re in a ‘win-now’ mode or compelled to rebuild.
There are additionally questions concerning the teaching employees. Todd Bowles is anticipated to be again as coach in 2023, however this wasn’t the employees he assembled. Might there be modifications? Brady will wish to hear what their plan is for subsequent yr.
QB breakdown: Despite the return of Pro Bowl heart Ryan Jensen, who missed the whole common season with torn ligaments in his knee and gave the entire group a jolt this week, Brady was pressured closely, and the offense seemed out of rhythm. The offensive line could not block Micah Parsons, and because of this, Brady had not accomplished a go of 10 or extra yards within the first half. Brady accomplished 35 of 66 passes for 351 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
The interception got here at the start of the second quarter on when Brady tried to throw the ball out of the again of the tip zone, however security Jayron Kearse was in a position to decide it off. Brady mentioned he simply did not put sufficient on the the try. It was Brady’s first interception within the crimson zone in 409 go makes an attempt. Brady’s first landing go got here on the finish of the third quarter, discovering broad receiver Julio Jones alongside the left sideline for a 30-yard landing, and his second — which was arrange by an onside kick restoration by Giovani Bernard — got here with 2:04 left within the recreation to Cameron Brate on an 8-yard rating.
Biggest gap within the recreation plan: Even with their total beginning secondary again, the Bucs’ disguised coverages weren’t sufficient to idiot Prescott. Their go rush struggled to maintain him within the pocket, and so they could not cowl the Cowboys’ tight ends.
The first landing to a decent finish was a 22-yard throw to Dalton Shultz. Prescott held off security Mike Edwards, who had one in all his roughest video games as a Buccaneer. It was arrange by a roughing the passer name on defensive lineman Akiem Hicks. Then on fourth-and-goal from the 1, the Bucs bought out to cease the run with linebacker Ok.J. Britt dropping include and Prescott working a bootleg into the tip zone untouched.
Prior to that, the Bucs had a very blown protection on a 35-yard reception by tight finish Jake Ferguson.
Prescott discovered Shultz as soon as extra on an 11-yard landing — with Edwards out of place as soon as once more — thrown on the run with 27 seconds left to go. CeeDee Lamb additionally slipped by means of for a rating after lining up in a journeys left formation with Schultz and Noah Brown. Lamb was unaccounted for and ran broad open for a 18-yard landing reception.
Underrated statistic to know: Brady’s 66 go makes an attempt have been probably the most of his profession in a playoff recreation, and his 31 incompletions have been probably the most for him in a playoff recreation. — Jenna Laine