Though there’s nonetheless a protracted solution to go on this postseason match, the Dallas Cowboys quarterback was merely sensible in main his workforce to 31-14 wins over Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on this NFC Wild Card recreation. In doing so, the Cowboys received their first highway playoff recreation for the reason that 1992 NFC Championship Recreation, with a 30-20 victory on the San Francisco 49ers.
However that was historical historical past, due to Prescott & Associates. After lacking his first three passes of the night time, and being sacked for fourth down, the Dallas quarterback was nearly unstoppable, finishing 25 of his subsequent 30 makes an attempt for 305 yards. In all, he recorded a completion share of 75.8 with 4 touchdowns and no interceptions for a 143.3 passer ranking.
Alongside the way in which, he set a playoff file with 11 consecutive completions and surpassed Tony Romo for fourth in postseason passes, now totaling 10. Playoff.
Dalton Schultz was the first recipient of Prescott’s efficiency, turning into the primary tight finish within the Cowboys file books with two receiving touchdowns in a playoff recreation. He caught seven catches for 95 yards, each profession highs, with eight totally different gamers hauling in passes.
For all the offensive fireworks, the Dallas protection was maybe essentially the most dominant. Brady threw for 351 yards, but it surely took 66 move makes an attempt. He accomplished simply 53 % of his passes with two touchdowns and an interception common of 72.2. The Cowboys additionally restricted the Buccaneers’ floor recreation to only 52 yards. Micah Parsons and Jonathan Hankins every obtained a sack whereas Leighton Vander Esch led the membership with 9 tackles. Hankins and Vander Esch each returned to the lineup after lacking the earlier 4 and three video games, respectively.
The one downside of the night time was the inexplicable troubles of Ketter Brett Maher. Top-of-the-line makes an attempt on the sphere all through the common season, he missed the primary 4 further level makes an attempt. Luckily, his early inaccuracies didn’t have an effect on the end result of this.
Regardless, the Buccaneers had been merely no match for the Cowboys on this night time.
It took a number of strings of offenses to catch up after each defenses dominated throughout the first 5 minutes of the quarter. However on their third try, the Cowboys not solely obtained their first first of the sport, but additionally opened the scoring.
The seven-play, 80-yard drive noticed Tony Pollard rush 4 instances for 25 yards with Prescott connecting with Michael Gallup for 15 yards and catching a 15-yard passer name for an additional 15 yards. A 22-yard shot to Schultz, and whereas Maher pushed his further level proper, it wasn’t good, Dallas had an early lead, 6-0.
On the second play of the second body, the Cowboys averted catastrophe. Brady marched his troopers all the way in which to the Dallas 5-yard line, however on second-and-goal, his throw was snatched again in the course of the top zone by security Jayron Kearse, the Cowboys safe Brady’s first purple zone for the reason that 2019 season.
Seeing the reward, Prescott took over, driving his workforce an 80-yard completion in 15 performs. On the drive, the quarterback accomplished all six of his move makes an attempt for 71 yards, however used his legs to cross the aim line, and took a punt round left finish on fourth-and-one for a landing. Struggles continued for Maher, as he once more pushed his further level to the correct.
Along with his newest effort, Prescott scored each a passing and speeding landing in his fourth consecutive playoff recreation, the one participant in NFL historical past to submit such a streak. He additionally grew to become the sixth participant in league historical past to show the trick in 4 post-season video games general.
With the protection once more forcing the Buccaneers to punt once more, the Cowboys had 3:32 to work with earlier than halftime. That was loads of time. As soon as once more, Prescott was excellent finishing 7 of 9 passes for 83 yards and likewise scrambled for 11 yards, diving first downs on third and sixth. On a landing punt, he rolled to his left to keep away from stress after which discovered Schultz once more 11 yards out for the rating. In a now-disturbing pattern, Maher this time missed his further level left, however Dallas entered the locker room with an 18-0 lead at halftime.
Left sort out Jason Peters was dominated out after struggling a groin damage late within the second quarter, however with rookie Tyler Smith transferring from left guard to exterior to sort out and Connor McGovern working into Smith, the workforce’s offensive practice did not gradual.
Beginning at their very own 14-yard line, the Cowboys wanted simply eight performs to succeed in the top zone for his or her fourth consecutive possession. He hit Prescott Schultz for 26 yards – the tight finish that makes for a formidable juggling recreation – later adopted by a reference to CeeDee Lamb for an additional 26 yards and an 18-yard run from Pollard. Quarterback then discovered Gallop ultimately zone from 2 yards out for a landing. One other miss from Maher, this time from the higher proper nook, formally made his night time one of many worst in playoff historical past, however Dallas’ drive made his irritating effort a non-factor.
Regardless of being deep within the gap, Tampa Bay isn’t but buried. The Buccaneers went on a 10-play, 95-yard drive on the finish of the quarter with Brady’s remaining two passes of the sequence going 18 yards to Mike Evans after which a 30-yard Julio Jones landing reception ultimately zone. The Cowboys might have taken benefit of a no-hold on a defensive name pending on the two-point conversion, however regardless, the move try fell quick.
Dallas had a solution. As soon as once more, Prescott sliced and diced the Pirates into secondary cubes. Alongside the way in which, Noah Brown hit for 15 yards and Gallup for 12 earlier than the offense discovered themselves dealing with a 4th-and-4 on the Tampa Bay 18-yard line. With McCarthy deciding to go for it, Prescott discovered a large open lamb on the left facet for a straightforward landing. And the Cowboys Nation collectively took a sigh of aid when Maher cut up up the uprights to transform the additional level and push the result in 31-6.
If the pirates weren’t buried earlier than, the pirates had been now mainly there with simply over 10 minutes left within the recreation. They obtained to the Cowboys 2-yard line on their subsequent possession, however a determined Brady move beneath stress fell incomplete on fourth-and-goal, and Dallas took management.
Sadly, a scary second occurred with lower than three minutes remaining when Tampa Bay receiver Russell Gage was pressured off the sphere with an damage, splinting his thumb as he headed into the tunnel.
When motion returns, Brady then completes an 11-play, 52-yard drive with an 8-yard throw to tight finish Cameron Pratt and converts the two-point conversion with successful to Evans. When the Buccaneers then recovered an onside kick at their very own 49-yard line with 2:04 on the clock, issues obtained a bit of uncomfortable.
However ultimately, it was too little too late.
Due to the 17-point win, the Cowboys will now journey to San Francisco to tackle the 49ers subsequent Sunday, January 22 at 5:30 p.m. CT on FOX within the Divisional Spherical of the playoffs.