ARLINGTON, Texas – We've been waiting all offseason for this moment. Needless to say, the Cowboys didn't deliver, offering up a disappointing thud in Week 1.
The Bucs were able to control the game and cruise to a 19-3 win.
While Tom Brady and his crew didn't have a lot of big plays, it was the little plays that seemed to add up.
Aside from the incomplete pass in the fourth quarter that led to Dak's hand injury, here are some of the plays that shouldn't be forgotten that led to this final outcome.
Costly penalty on the kickoff – The reason KaVontae Turpin is on the roster, is to use his speed for potential big returns. But the drawback of course, is the risk of a penalty. Late in the first quarter, after the Bucs took a 6-3 lead, Turpin brought out the kickoff two yards deep and got 22 yards. But a holding call on Rico Dowdle wiped out the return and put the ball back on the 10. The Cowboys had a three-and-out and punted it back to the Bucs, who were able to take advantage of the field possession game in the second quarter.
Lamb flagged for PI – Immediately following a missed field goal by the Bucs in the second quarter, the Cowboys looked to capitalize on the momentum with a 20-yard pass out to CeeDee Lamb. But the receiver was called for offensive pass interference when he extended his elbow on the defender to create separation. That not only wiped out the 20 yards, but pushed the back 10. The Cowboys then threw an interception two plays later that led to a field goal and a 9-3 Bucs lead.
Bucs get a free reception? – Right before halftime, the Bucs were backed up near their own end zone with a 9-3 lead. On first down, Tom Brady's pass in the flat to Chris Godwin, appeared to hit the ground as he caught it. Godwin only got five yards and ended up getting hurt and leaving the game. But inside of two minutes, the replay officials likely should've stopped the game to review. While it was only five yards, the Bucs still needed a third-down conversion to get a first down and eventually hit a long bomb to Julio Jones that led to a field goal. With that incomplete pass called, it's possible the Cowboys get the ball back near midfield and would be in field goal range as well.
Penalty on Turpin's kickoff ? – Steele behind the chains – Early in the fourth quarter, the Cowboys were looking to get back in the game, but kept moving backward, thanks to three penalties by Steele, including a holding call that wiped out a first-down run by Tony Pollard. Steele also had a critical holding call back in the first quarter, but that was overshadowed by his trio of flags in the fourth.
Dak misfires on third-down pass to Brown – The Cowboys were in desperate need of anything and appeared to get some life when Donovan Wilson picked off Brady near midfield. But in three plays, the Cowboys couldn't get anything working, including a third-down scramble by Dak, who had Noah Brown open if he could loft the ball over the defender. Instead, he threw it behind his receiver for an incomplete pass, forcing yet another punt.