There were so many question marks surrounding the Dallas Cowboys heading into the season opener. Would Zach Martin’s absence hurt, how will Dak hold up in his first game back, can the Cowboys compete with the defending champs? After the game ended, I would definitely say Dallas competed.
The biggest takeaway from this game is that you NEVER give Tom Brady more than a minute of the game clock with only a one-point lead. Dallas, overall, I think won the game considering they managed to create four turnovers, miss so many field goals, and still only lose by two.
To clarify, Tampa played well and their run defense shut down Ezekiel Elliott which is a tall task. But in the end, Dallas lost the game and they have to look on to next week and build on last night’s performance.
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The first quarter was a low-scoring game and all about defense. The first score of the game didn’t happen until there were only four minutes left in the quarter. Tampa got on the board first after a long drive ending in a Tom Brady play-action pass to Chris Godwin. Then, Dallas answered quickly with a 22-yard passing touchdown from Dak to CeeDee Lamb to tie the game at seven. Both teams got creative with their play calling and both ended up scoring eventually.
The second quarter was easily the most active quarter of them all. However, the scoring again did not take place until late in the quarter. Tampa scored first after an all too familiar touchdown pass from Brady to Gronk gave the Bucs a 14-7 lead. Dallas would later answer after an incredible play where Dak dropped the snap, picked it up, and tossed a touchdown pass to Amari Cooper.
Unfortunately for the Cowboys, Greg Zuerlein struggled to make the extra point preserving the Tampa lead 14-13 and he also badly missed a 31-yard field goal earlier in the quarter.
Just when the first half seemed to be hopeless for Dallas, their defense stepped up and forced another turnover. The turnover would only lead to a field goal but luckily it gave the Cowboys their first lead of the evening, 16-14.
On the very next Tampa drive, Brady took back the lead as quickly as it left with a 47-yard bomb to Antonio Brown, and just like that, Tampa took a 21-16 lead. The Cowboys would attempt a 60-yard field goal and miss, leading to one final Tampa possession before the half; but, it ended in an interception and no points.
Dallas would receive the ball first in the second half and but did not see any points until late yet again. Dallas drove all the way to the Tampa three-yard line and stalled to settle for another field goal, 21-19 Tampa. Despite the Cowboys leading in the turnover battle, they reached the redzone four times but only had 19 points, and yet, it was still a good game. Brady and the Bucs would then capitalize on Brady and Gronk’s 100th career touchdown pass together, 28-19 Bucs.
The nine-point lead seemed like it crippled the Cowboys but Dak was on fire and led one final drive in the third quarter. Dak would find Amari Cooper yet again on a loft pass in the corner to cut the Tampa lead to 28-26 heading into the fourth.
As the final quarter ticked away, Brady would connect on a pass to Chris Godwin. However, as Godwin spun to reach for the endzone, safety Damontae Kazee knocked the ball loose at the 2-yard line. Dallas recovered the ball setting them up for one final possession in hopes of beating Tampa and ending the game. Dak would lead an 11-play drive ending in a Greg Zuerlein field goal to give Dallas the lead 29-28 with a minute and twenty-three seconds left.
As I said earlier, you NEVER leave Brady that much time on the clock. The fourth quarter was all about the kickers and Brady set Ryan Succop for a game-winner. Despite multiple penalties during the drive, Tampa marched into the redzone (on what I think was a blatantly missed offensive pass interference). Succop drilled the 36-yard field goal and the game was over.
Dak and the Boys played their guts out to keep up with Brady and the Bucs but in the end, Brady prevailed, again. If the NFL opener was that good, then the season we might get will be amazing.
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