A lot for notion that Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys may not be as much as the problem of beating Tom Brady.
Prescott performed his greatest recreation in weeks, throwing for 4 touchdowns and working for an additional to reply critics of “America’s Staff” with a 31-14 rout of Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in an NFC wild-card playoff recreation on Monday evening.
“It simply exhibits he’s resilient,” Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons mentioned. “The sunshine’s totally different on Dak. I believe the criticism is unfair and unjust typically. However the best way he handles it, the best way he comes again each time and exhibits who he actually is, it’s a credit score to the work he places in. It makes us preserve believing each time.”
Prescott accomplished 25 of 33 passes for 305 yards and performed turnover-free ball for the primary time in eight video games because the Cowboys (13-5) dominated the listless Bucs (8-10) in what might turn into Brady’s final recreation in a Tampa Bay uniform.
“Not the best way we wished to finish it,” Brady mentioned. “Type of typical of the best way we performed all season.”
Dallas beat Brady for the primary time within the seven-time Tremendous Bowl champion’s profession and gained within the postseason on the street for the primary time in 30 years to earn a visit to San Francisco to face the 49ers within the NFC divisional spherical subsequent Sunday.
“You watched this workforce that had all the explanations in the world to have criticism — you possibly can name it doubt, you possibly can name it no matter you need — and so they got here again and so they’re not the identical workforce that got here to city,” Cowboys proprietor Jerry Jones mentioned. “They’re a greater workforce having overwhelmed Tampa and overwhelmed an incredible participant at quarterback.”
The Cowboys had dropped eight straight playoff video games away from dwelling since profitable the NFC championship recreation in San Francisco on Jan. 17, 1993.
They have been additionally coming off a poor performance in a lopsided common season-ending loss to Washington.
“Didn’t hear,” Prescott mentioned about all of the discuss in regards to the Cowboys not being prepared for the playoffs.
“Merely simply didn’t take heed to anyone else’s opinions, anyone else’s ideas. Made positive I used to be aware of what I put in my very own head,” Prescott added. “Obtained an incredible supporting solid in my workforce, those that consider in me. That’s all that basically issues to me, and simply keep focused on what I can do.”
About the one factor that went mistaken for the Cowboys was kicker Brett Maher lacking his first 4 additional factors, turning into the primary participant in NFL historical past to overlook that many in a recreation. Maher lastly transformed on his fifth try after coach Mike McCarthy determined in opposition to sending him out to strive a subject objective from roughly the identical distance as a PAT.
Tampa Bay receiver Russell Gage was strapped to a backboard and carted off the sphere late within the fourth quarter. Gage slipped and fell to the turf whereas working a route and took a blow to the neck as he went down. He was unable to get to his ft and silence fell over the stadium as gamers took a knee and medical personnel tended to him.
Coach Todd Bowles mentioned Gage was taken to a hospital with a concussion and was being evaluated for a neck harm. Gage’s harm occurred two weeks after Buffalo Payments security Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest and needed to be resuscitated on the sphere in a Monday evening recreation at Cincinnati.
Brady, who signed with Tampa Bay in 2020 and led the Bucs to a Tremendous Bowl title two years in the past, can be a free agent this winter. He retired briefly final February earlier than altering his thoughts and returning for a twenty third season at age 45.
Brady threw a career-high 66 passes, completing 35 of them for for 351 yards, together with second-half touchdowns of 30 yards to Julio Jones and eight yards to Cameron Brate. He was sacked twice and in addition threw a pricey interception — a second-quarter, end-zone choose from the Dallas 5 that prevented the Bucs from probably taking the lead once they have been solely trailing 6-0.
Prescott tossed the primary of his two TD passes to Dalton Schultz to get the Cowboys going, then turned Brady’s first red-zone interception since 2019 into factors by ending a 15-play, 80-yard drive by circling left finish for a 1-yard TD run on fourth down.
The Dallas quarterback expanded the result in 18-0 with an 11-yard TD throw to Schultz, then threw 2 yards to Michael Gallup for a 24-point lead early within the third quarter. It might have been 28-0 if not for Maher lacking all 4 additional factors.
Prescott’s final TD go, an 18-yarder to CeeDee Lamb on fourth-and-4, put the Cowboys up 31-6 with 10:13 remaining.
Little got here straightforward this season for the Bucs, simply the fourth workforce in NFL historical past to make the playoffs with a dropping report in a non-strike yr.
Whereas Brady broke his personal league report for completions in a season and ranked third in passing yards behind Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert, Tampa Bay completed twenty fifth in scoring at 18.4 factors per recreation and by no means gained greater than two in a row whereas holding off Carolina, New Orleans and Atlanta to repeat as NFC South champions.
“It’s at all times powerful,” Brady mentioned of the disappointing end to the season. “However we didn’t earn it. They did.”