Game Recap: Dak, Defense Dominate in 31-14 Win -

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Head manager Mike McCarthy stated earlier successful the play that defenses triumph championships, but quarterbacks triumph Super Bowls.

Ladies and gentlemen, Dak Prescott.

While determination is inactive a agelong mode to spell successful this postseason tournament, the Dallas Cowboys backmost was simply outstanding successful starring his squad to a 31-14 triumph implicit Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers successful this NFC Wild Card matchup. In doing so, the Cowboys won their archetypal playoff crippled connected the roadworthy since the 1992 NFC Championship Game, a 30-20 triumph astatine the San Francisco 49ers.

But that was past past acknowledgment to Prescott and company. After missing his archetypal 3 passes of the night, and being sacked connected his 4th drop-back, the Dallas backmost was astir unstoppable, completing 25 of his adjacent 30 attempts for 305 yards. In all, helium posted a 75.8 completion percent with 4 touchdowns and nary interceptions for a 143.3 passer rating.

Along the way, helium acceptable a franchise playoff grounds with 11 consecutive completions and passed Tony Romo for the fourth-most vocation postseason passing touchdowns, present totaling 10. He besides tied Hall of Famers Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman for the club's astir scoring passes successful a playoff game.

Dalton Schultz was the superior beneficiary of Prescott's performance, becoming the archetypal choky extremity successful Cowboys grounds books with 2 receiving touchdowns successful a playoff game. He earned 7 catches for 95 yards, some squad highs, arsenic 8 antithetic players hauled successful passes.

For each the violative fireworks, the Dallas defence was possibly adjacent much dominating. Brady did propulsion for 351 yards, but it took 66 walk attempts. He completed conscionable 53 percent of his passes with 2 touchdowns and an interception for a 72.2 rating. The Cowboys besides constricted the Buccaneers' crushed crippled to lone 52 yards. Micah Parsons and Johnathan Hankins each had a sack portion Leighton Vander Esch topped the nine with 9 tackles. Both Hankins and Vander Esch were backmost successful the lineup aft missing the erstwhile 4 and 3 games, respectively.

The lone drawback of the nighttime was the inexplicable troubles of kicker Brett Maher. One of the champion successful the concern passim the regular season, helium missed his archetypal 4 extra-point attempts. Thankfully, his aboriginal inaccuracy didn't impact the result of this one.

Regardless, the Buccaneers were simply nary lucifer for the Cowboys connected this night.

First Quarter

It took a mates of bid for the offenses to drawback up aft some defenses dominated done the archetypal 5 minutes of the quarter. But connected their 3rd try, the Cowboys not lone got the game's archetypal first down but besides opened the scoring.

The seven-play, 80-yard thrust saw Tony Pollard unreserved 4 times for 25 yards with Prescott connecting with Michael Gallup for 15 yards and picking up a 15-yard roughing the passer telephone for different 15. The backmost past capped disconnected the bid with a 22-yard onslaught to Schultz, and portion Maher pushed his other constituent to the right, nary good, Dallas had the aboriginal lead, 6-0.

Second Quarter

On the 2nd play of the 2nd frame, the Cowboys averted disaster. Brady marched his troops each the mode to the Dallas 5-yard line, but connected second-and-goal, his flip into the back, mediate of the extremity portion was snatched by information Jayron Kearse, the Cowboys securing Brady's archetypal red-zone interception since the 2019 season.

Given the gift, Prescott took charge, starring his squad the afloat 80 yards connected 15 plays. During the drive, the backmost completed each six of his walk attempts for 71 yards, but utilized his legs to transverse the extremity line, taking a bootleg astir the near extremity connected fourth-and-1 for the touchdown. The struggles continued for Maher, though, arsenic helium again pushed his other constituent wide right.

With his latest effort, Prescott recorded some a passing and rushing touchdown successful his 4th consecutive playoff game, the lone subordinate successful NFL past to station specified a streak. He besides became the sixth backmost successful league annals to crook the instrumentality successful 4 postseason games overall.

With the defence again forcing different Buccaneers punt, the Cowboys had 3:32 to enactment with earlier the extremity of the half. That was plentifulness of time. Again Prescott was superb arsenic helium completed 7 of 9 passes for 83 yards and besides scrambled for 11 yards, diving for the archetypal down connected third-and-6. On the touchdown throw, helium rolled to his near to debar unit and past recovered Schultz again 11 yards distant for the points. In a present disturbing trend, Maher this clip missed his other constituent to the left, but Dallas went into the locker country with an 18-0 vantage astatine the break.

Third Quarter

Left tackle Jason Peters was ruled retired aft suffering a hep wounded precocious successful the 2nd quarter, but with rookie Tyler Smith moving from near defender backmost retired to tackle and Connor McGovern coming successful for Smith, the team's violative bid didn't dilatory down.

Starting astatine their ain 14-yard line, the Cowboys lone needed 8 plays to scope the extremity portion for the 4th consecutive possession. Prescott deed Schultz for 26 yards – the choky extremity making an awesome juggling drawback – which was followed aboriginal by a transportation to CeeDee Lamb for 26 much and an 18-yard Pollard run. The backmost past recovered Gallup successful the extremity portion from 2 yards retired for the touchdown. Another miss from Maher, this 1 disconnected the apical of the close upright, officially made his nighttime 1 of the worst successful playoff history, but Dallas' commanding pb made his frustrating effort a non-factor.

Despite being heavy successful the hole, Tampa Bay wasn't buried conscionable yet. The Buccaneers went connected a 10-play, 95-yard thrust astatine the extremity of the 4th with Brady's past 2 passes of the bid going for 18 yards to wideout Mike Evans and past a 30-yarder to receiver Julio Jones successful the extremity zone. The Cowboys whitethorn person benefited from a no-call connected a imaginable antiaircraft holding telephone connected the two-point conversion, but regardless, the walk effort fell incomplete.

Fourth Quarter

Dallas had an answer, though. Again, Prescott sliced and diced the Buccaneers secondary. Along the way, helium deed Noah Brown for 15 yards and Gallup for 12 earlier helium and the discourtesy recovered themselves facing fourth-and-4 astatine the Tamp Bay 18-yard line. With McCarthy deciding to spell for it, Prescott recovered a wide-open Lamb connected the near broadside for the casual touchdown. And Cowboys Nation took a collectively suspiration of alleviation erstwhile Maher divided the uprights to person the other constituent and propulsion the pb to 31-6.

If not buried before, the Buccaneers fundamentally were present with conscionable implicit 10 minutes near successful the game. They did scope the Cowboys' 2-yard enactment connected their adjacent possession, but Brady's desperation walk nether unit fell incomplete connected fourth-and-goal, Dallas taking implicit connected downs.

Unfortunately, a scary infinitesimal occurred with little than 3 minutes remaining erstwhile Tampa Bay receiver Russell Gage had to beryllium carted disconnected the tract owed to injury, giving a thumbs up arsenic helium headed to the tunnel.

When enactment return, Brady past completed an 11-play, 52-yard thrust with an 8-yard propulsion to choky extremity Cameron Brate and converted the two-point conversion with a onslaught to Evans. When the Buccaneers past recovered the onside footwear astatine their ain 49-yard enactment with 2:04 connected the clock, things got a small uneasy.

In the end, however, it was excessively small excessively late.

Thanks to the 17-point victory, the Cowboys volition present question to San Francisco to look the 49ers adjacent Sunday, Jan. 22, astatine 5:30 p.m. CT connected FOX successful the divisional circular of the playoffs.

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