TAMPA, Fla. – We've waited all offseason for this, and the game definitely lived up to the hype.
At the end, it was too much Tom Brady, who had too much time. The Bucs escaped with a 31-29 win here at Raymond James Stadium.
But between all the big plays, turnovers and game-changing plays, there are always those moments that can get overlooked.
Here are five "hidden" plays to remember that certainly played a big part in the outcome.
- Early misfires to CeeDee - On the Cowboys' first offensive drive, they moved the ball out of their own end zone and looked to be on a roll with a first down at the Bucs' 40. But Dak Prescott badly underthrew CeeDee Lamb in what could've been a 20-yard gain. Lamb tried to get low and grab it but missed the ball. Whether or not that was a drop, the second down pass to Lamb certainly was as he missed a wide open pass. The Cowboys had to punt the ball and the Bucs took over and marched down the field for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead.
- Early missed field goal - It's hard to actually forget the wobbly missed kick Greg Zuerlein attempted early in the second quarter, but just the significance of the miss comes into play when the Cowboys fall by just two points. The missed extra point was also significant as well. Those are two kicks Zuerlein should make and he was the first to admit it. If the Cowboys have those four points, maybe it's a different final drive for Brady. There's a lot more pressure on a team that has to score a touchdown vs. a team that can dink and dunk down the field and only needs a field goal.
- Dak takes costly sack - For as great as Dak played Thursday night, he had a couple of plays he'd like to have back. Late in the first half, the Cowboys were on the Tampa Bay 21 and on second down, he took a 12-yard sack. On the next play, Connor Williams was flagged for holding and the Cowboys eventually kicked - and missed - a 60-yard attempt by Zuerlein. Without that sack, the Cowboys likely get three points - a field goal that could've made a huge difference in the outcome.
- Missed opportunity near the goal line - In the third quarter, with the Cowboys taking the second-half kickoff and marching it down inside the 3, they had third-and-goal from the 2 when Dak ran an option pitch to Ezekiel Elliott who was stopped for a one-yard loss. While Zeke needs to make his defender miss in the open field, Blake Jarwin barely got a hand on Andrew Adams who knifed in to make the stop, forcing the Cowboys to kick a field goal.
- Diggs nearly ices it - On the Bucs' final drive, Tom Brady looked masterful down the stretch, but let's not forget a pass that went through the hands of Trevon Diggs on the sideline that would've won the game. Diggs already had one interception on the night and with 1:18 left, Brady floated a pass to the left side for Mike Evans but Diggs made a leaping effort and nearly snagged the ball, that would've sent the Cowboys home with a dramatic win. Instead, the Bucs picked up the first down, and then two more on their way to the game-winning field goal.