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TB 31, DAL 29: Even in Defeat, Cowboys Show They’re Ready to Compete

The books will show that the Dallas lost in Week 1 of the to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers by a score of 31-29. But if you watched this game, you know that the Cowboys did a lot more than just lose the season opener. Even in defeat, one of the worst teams from last year showed that they’re ready to be a contender this season.

Dallas fell in the same way that so many teams have over the years, leaving too much time on the clock for to do his thing. After a field goal gave the Cowboys the lead, Brady used 1:24 of game clock and one timeout to get the Bucs in range for a game-winning field goal by Ryan Succop.

Trading those late-game field goals followed the pattern of the entire night; two strong trading blows and everything coming down to who had the ball last. And of all the players who contributed tonight, none did it better than the two star quarterbacks.

got his and Comeback Player campaigns going tonight with 403 passing yards and three touchdowns. He did throw one interception but it was a ball that hit in the hands and was tipped for the pick. Outside of just a couple errant throws, Prescott was close to perfect in his return to regular-season football.

Lamb had a few drops but also some good moments, finishing with seven catches for 104 yards and a score. He was outshined by ’s 13 catches for 139 yards and two touchdowns on the night.

Tom Brady was terrific as usual, throwing for 379 yards and four touchdowns. He did throw two interceptions but one was on a tipped ball and the other was a Hail Mary throw at the end of the first half.

Those two picks by and , plus a fumble recoveries by Lewis and , gave the Cowboys four defensive takeaways in the game. While there’s still plenty of work left to do after the way Brady carved up the , it is at least a sign of positive change under ’s .

One key concern for Dallas going forward will be at . While Greg Zuerlein drilled his last field goal 48 yards and right down the middle, he missed two others (albeit one from 60 yards) and an extra point attempt. Even most of his makes were shaky, leaving question marks as to the veteran’s long-term viability for the season.

The Cowboys have 10 days before their next kickoff against the . They have a lot to feel good about after taking the defending champions down the final seconds, but will the extra practice time allow for them to make some tweaks to the ?

What do you think?

Jess Haynie

Written by Jess Haynie

Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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13 Comments

  1. Cooper is unbelievable….. when healthy and that’s the problem, he’s always got some injury that comes up that causes him to just vanish at times, he’s the unequivocal number for now, but Ceedee could very much overtake him before long

  2. You can’t run against that front VAM, especially without Martin, our time of possession was still nearly twice as much as there’s even without running the ball, they came with the right plan IMO, PLUS IT WAS A BREATH OF FRESH AIR as they weren’t so predictable as they were before when they’d freaking run the ball like no matter what

    Sure if Zeurlein would’ve made his chip shot field goal we might have won, but you know what Bucs fans would say then ? They’d say they should’ve won if Godwin caught that deep ball on that one play, so really it evens out

    I DID NOT EXPECT THIS TO BE A GAME, with Dak’s first game back, rehabbing a shoulder and I didn’t see the PASS HEAVY offense coming, but that was the right call,

    I’m salty about Thomas Patrick Edward freaking Brady pulling another comeback, but I loved what I saw from our team nonetheless

  3. First thing, WE HAVE ONE NATIONAL ANTHEM. NOT WHITE NOT BLACK, BUT ONE, PERIOD!!! Agree with Dennis. If the NFL keeps pushing this BS, they are just part of this problem of pitting people against each other, PLUS turning a lot of people off.

    The game was heartbreaking. DP played GREAT, especially considering the layoff/injury concerns.
    He certainly did his part and than some.

    ZerLAME HAS TO MAKE CHIP SHOT FGs. Turned out to be the difference in maybe winning. CD has to cut down on drops.

    I understand BUCS have a very good front seven, but the running game was basically non existent. Maybe we could have run down the clock on our final drive if we RAN a few plays and gave Brady a lot less time. He is unreal on those final winning drives. That said, EE did not look that good, outside of pass protection, and it may be a concern moving forward Could not make that Safety miss on that pitch outside. I know the TE missed the block, but years back he would have just ran him over. Maybe time to get Pollard more involved, because you HAVE TO BE ABLE TO RUN THE BALL. That pass/run ratio was crazy. Cannot continue that!

    We got enough turnovers, add the BUCS penalties, and we had the makings of a big upset. But we didn’t put enough pressure on Brady. Thought we were homed a little on that push off by Godwin. The broadcast “official” agreed.

    Overall, a good effort though, considering many thought we would get blown out. Let’s see how we do against the Chargers. After that the schedule gets soft till the Chiefs.

  4. Alot of positives to take from this game. Thought the game plan was spor on. No way we were running against that formidable front seven of the Bucs. Exploiting their suspect secondary was the right move. Game plan changes from game to game dependent on ur opponent. Zeke was used effectively as a blocker and picking up bkitzers .

    Gotta get our kicker right before he loses more games for us and A Brown is a liability at CB. Besides that loved the effort and grit we showed against the champs and the GOAT. Oh and Dak looked good.

  5. After cooling down and getting a good nights sleep all things considered we went into the defending SB champions house and poor clock management and an offense pass interference that didn’t get called which set the Buccaneers up with a winning FG I thought across the board we played pretty good! I said it last year and going to say it again… every time our kicker lines up for a FG or an extra point I can’t hardly watch!! It’s time for him to go! When he misses it changes our momentum! CD is going to have to bring the wow factor…. He is good but hasn’t showed me yet, that special players make special plays on special days! We got a lot to work on but to take the world champions down to the wire at their place …that’s something to build on!!

  6. Zuerline stinks and he is the primary reason they lost. What really counts in the end, not hyperbole, possibilities, analyst optimism, or maybes. Winning is the only thing. It’s a business despite how great they really looked and they should be proud, BUT let’s get another kicker. Zuerline is a loser, again and again when it counts, he’s failed in the clutch. Points matter, regardless of who is responsible for them.

  7. Other than Anthony Brown getting burned on numerous occasions, I think our defense did pretty good!! And as far as the offense goes, I agree there does need to be balance, but we didn’t have a choice in this grand, we were going up against the number 1 run defense, so we wasn’t gonna be running the ball very often!! And then there’s Greg Zeurlein he cost us the game with those missed FGs, I can understand the 60 yarder, but the other short FG and the extra point were chip in kicks he missed if he would’ve made those 2 FGs we would’ve won by 2 instead of losing by 2!! But I think we still should’ve won the game, and would have if it wasn’t for those refs overlooking that offensive pass interference by Chris Godwin!! If they would’ve called that penalty it would’ve been game over, and we would’ve won!! But oh well, we can’t change what’s already happened!! But after taking the reigning Super Bowl Champs to the last seconds of that game is a good sign! From now on our schedule is gonna be a lot easier and I think we’ll do even better as the season goes by!!

  8. My guess is that they didn’t run the football cuz they knew that it wasn’t gonna work without Martin and against that front 7 of the Bucs, which i liked

    Love the creativity on offense, even seen Ceedee get in the backfield a time or two, constant shifting, Zeke start out wide and shifted back into backfield

    I couldn’t look everytime Zeurlein kicked a field goal, scary, agree with we should’ve gotten and probably still should find another kicker

    Defense played great, with Diggs and D Law leading the way, I’m done with Anthony Brown at CB, we keep the guy cuz we don’t wanna throw Joseph or Wright to the dogs in week 1, but like why not at this point, Brown gets burnt anyways, a bit of trial by fire if you will

    Overall great performance, I feel as long as our D keeps up the takeaways and LVE as well as others can stay healthy, we look good to win division and be a problem in playoffs

  9. Agree with Todd on balance and Zeurlein. I questioned that all long. Likely cost us the game. Fassel has a man crush on Zeurlein though. Brown was toasted. And our 2nd and 3rd round pick corners were nowhere to be found. I’m still sure Joseph is a good candidate to be a bust and Wright was drafted at least 2 rounds too early. Our weaknesses at DT, safety, and Corner were not really addressed in off season. Just more of the typical bargain basement shopping in free agency with limited tesiltdu

  10. 60 throws by Dak a game is not going to do it. There has to be some balance to this offense. How Jerry let this team go into the season with Zeurlien as the kicker with him being hurt all through training camp I will never know. If Cee Dee wants to be worthy of that 88 jersey he better up his catch percentage. Love the turn over ratio, but this D still has a ways to go.

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