Only the Dallas Cowboys could have pulled this off.
In Thursday’s 31-29 win over Dallas, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers became the first team in league history to “lose the turnover margin by at least three, incur 100 penalty yards, allow 450 yards, and still win the game,” according to NFL Network’s Bobby Belt.
What’s more, per ESPN’s Ed Werder, the Cowboys are just the fourth-ever team to lose a game despite recording at least 450 yards of total offense and a plus-three turnover differential.
Led by quarterback Dak Prescott — who statistically toppled GOAT’ed counterpart Tom Brady — the Cowboys outgained Tampa Bay in yards from scrimmage (451-431), first downs (30-24), and time of possession (34:27-25:33) while committing fewer turnovers (4-1) and penalties (11-8) than the reigning Super Bowl champs. A truly inconceivable defeat. And not.
If it weren’t for decorated kicker Greg Zuerlein blowing a chip-shot field goal, Dallas emerges from Raymond James having scored a major upset to kick off its 2021 campaign.
“That was opening night, we were playing the world champs. What an opportunity for a victory,” owner/general manager Jerry Jones said Friday on 105.3 The Fan. “Again, David and Goliath. And we played well. To the ones that don’t want to acknowledge a moral victory of what I see is a defense that is going to get better. We have the athletes to get better. We have the scheme to get better. We were playing quality competition … I felt like we paid the price of not really having our kicker during training camp. Offensively, we really, in my mind, [were] everything we thought we could be.”
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Dak Breaks Separate Record
Per CBS Sports, Prescott on Thursday night joined Hall-of-Famer Peyton Manning as the only two QBs in NFL history to complete 40-plus pass attempts on Opening Day. The mark has stood for 11 years; Manning, then playing for the Colts, went 40-of-57 for 433 yards and three TDs in a 34-24 loss to the Houston Texans on Sept. 12, 2010.
Prescott was making his first start in 11 months, returning from ankle and shoulder injuries. He finished 42-of-58 for 403 yards, three TDs, and one interception. The Cowboys dialed up an unforeseen air-heavy game plan in an attempt to fight fire with fire against Brady, surprising even his challenger.
“No, I didn’t plan on throwing it that many times and no, I never questioned my health, or being able to throw 50 times or how I’d feel out there,” Prescott said after the game, via CBS Sports. “I know all the work that I’ve put in over the offseason, through training camp, just everything that I expected to go out there and leave it all out on the field and do whatever I need to do to help this team and give us a fighting chance.”
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