ARLINGTON, Texas – Tom Brady looked like the first 45-year-old quarterback in NFL history much like the younger versions.
Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys are left with an old and familiar feel that isn’t entirely mysterious.
Brady and Mike Evans called for a choppy touchdown, Leonard Fournette ran for 127 yards, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers dominated the Cowboys 19-3 in the season opener Sunday night.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said after the match that Prescott needed surgery for a fracture near his thumb in his hand, and would be out for several weeks, a season-changing blow to the defending NFC East Champions.
A rough night for Prescott worsened after his right hand hit a defender when he threw in a pass in the fourth quarter. He was checked on the sideline before running into the locker room.
The latest injury came nearly two years after a compound fracture of Prescott’s right ankle on the same field, a horrific injury that ended the 2020 season in week five.
“It’s very disappointing, but injuries do happen,” Prescott said. “It can’t necessarily be controlled. I’m obviously going to waste some time, and not be there for my team. And that hurts more than anything.”
Brady was in control the whole time despite a long break during training camp to deal with personal issues. The seven-time Super Bowl champion got a huge helping of defense in the Todd Bowles’ first appearance as a Tampa Bay coach after three seasons as a defensive coordinator.
“I always play the game for my team, my teammates and the organization,” Brady said. “Just being around them is something I always enjoy. It keeps me so humble. I feel like I’m just one of the guys. There aren’t a lot of places I can go where I feel like I’m just one of the guys, but the locker room is definitely one of those places” .
The Cowboys and Bucs had the top two offenses in the NFL last season, which began with Tampa Bay’s 31-29 home win over Dallas when Brady and Prescott combined for seven assists. Only one crime appeared this time.
Dallas led 54 yards to a field goal on first possession, but did not score again while finishing with the second-lowest number of points in the opener. The Cowboys lost to New Orleans 28-0 in 1989 – Jerry Jones’ first game as an owner.
Julio Jones earned 48 yards on All-Pro’s Tampa Bay debut to put in one of four first-half field goals from Ryan Succop, who had five attempts before the break without a kick from the Bucs.
Brady, who improved to 7-0 against the Cowboys, was at 18 from 27 for 212 yards with an interception that didn’t quite live up to that because Prescott and receiver Noah Brown couldn’t connect with an easy throw from third place near midfield early on. The fourth quarter.
The Cowboys did nothing to assuage questions about the receiving group behind CeeDee Lamb, the third-year player who was the new first target after Amari Cooper’s overseas trade.
Lamb had two catches for 29 yards while attracting the most attention. Noah Brown had five catches for 68 yards, while Prescott finished 14 of 29 for 134 yards with an interception placing one of his first-half field goals.
The gap in receiving depth was evident, with both Evans and Chris Goodwin getting at least 20 yards in the first quarter before Goodwin had to leave with a hamstring injury.
The Cowboys only stayed close in the first half due to two bags of possession by NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Micah Parsons. Both forced field goals, and Succop missed one attempt.
Devin White had a Parsons match with Kessen of Prescott as the Cowboys lost to Buck at home for only the second time while head coach Mike McCarthy dropped to 0-3 in the opener with Dallas.
The Bowles are 1-0 with the Bucs after taking over when Bruce Arians retired and moved to the front office.
“I think it was just about controlling,” White said. “We wanted to set the tone as head coach, for us as a defense as a whole. I think it was a great thing. We still have a few things left. We left a lot of plays there.”
Fournette had a 40 from 79 yards on the drive which ended with a 5-yard Brady pass to Evans for a 19-3 lead.
Tyler Smith, a first-round pick from Dallas, was the first rookie in franchise history to start the opener on a left tackle. The Bucs also had junior left guard Luke Goedeke, a second player. Both teams entered the opening game with questions up front due to injuries and staff changes.
Injuries also escalated. Dallas left guard Conor McGovern is not back after injuring his right ankle in the first series. Tampa Bay director Donovan Smith left in the second quarter due to an elbow problem and was also disqualified.
Boss: Goodwin’s hamstring injury came after he entered the match in an uncertain condition due to his recovery from a knee injury. … Cowboys S Jayron Kearse, who was under suspicion with a neck problem, left in the second half with a knee injury. …Dallas De Tarrell Basham was sidelined due to a thigh injury. Cowboys S Jayron Kearse, who was under suspicion with a neck issue, left in the second half with a knee injury.
Pirates: at NFC South New Orleans next Sunday. One of these teams has won or participated in the past five titles.
Cowboys: Defending champion Cincinnati visits next Sunday. Dallas starts with three of four home games.