First weekend of the NFL playoffs
In the first weekend of the NFL playoffs, and in a game that meant so much to so many, the Cowboys made their ways to Tampa for the Monday finale of Super Wildcard Weekend against the Buccaneers. The nerves were on full display in the early going.
The quarterback for the Cowboys, Dak Prescott, started the game with three incompletions. Those were caused by one bad throw and two decent passes that bounced out of the receiver’s hands.
It wasn’t until the third possession that they got their first points. Fortunately for them, the Bucs were struggling early on as well, and still hadn’t found their rhythm.
Two decades of domination
Tom Brady had set a mighty standard for himself with two decades of domination, even in the latter years. As the Bucs moved the ball inside the 20-yard line, they posted his redzone stats since 2020 (including playoffs) which were:
Pass TD: 86
Rush TD: 7
Joe Buck, son of legendary sportscaster Jack Buck, and longtime sidekick of Troy Aikman said, “Inside the redzone: that’s where they are, that’s why they fired the cannons, and that’s where Tom Brady just simply does not turn the ball over.”
A sneaky flip to Godwin got the Bucs to first and goal to close out the first quarter.
Ryan Jensen got the start at center for the Bucs. It was his first game all year. He was seen pushing Micah Parsons out of their offensive huddle in what may or may not have been a mix-up.
— sports CAST 🏈🏀⚽️ (@thesportscast1) January 17, 2023
On what was seemingly destined to be his first touchdown drive, Brady threw the ball directly into the hands of a leaping Parsons on first down. The ball was coming in hot, and it got knocked down in the interception attempt.
The following play saw Brady throwing a floater to the back of the endzone. Cowboys Safety Jayron Kearse then ended Brady’s streak of no interceptions by snatching the pass with no receivers close to it.
— Dallas Cowboys Collaboration (@mailman_phil) January 17, 2023
Brett Maher was having the worst game of his season. After his third missed extra point in a row, Prescott was seen uncharacteristically throwing his helmet into the ground out of frustration. The fire which had been lit under him may have been partly to blame.
Brady hadn’t been shut out… since the “Tuck Rule” game
The Bucs could not score to close out the half. Amazingly, Tom Brady hadn’t been shut out in the first half of a playoff game since the “Tuck Rule” game in the AFC divisional playoffs against the Raiders in 2001. That was also his very first playoff game.
The Dallas defense played well. Vander Esch was a big boost. He led the team in tackles with nine. The other standouts were Parsons with a sack and three tackles, and Kearse with the only pick before his injury.
Cowboys LB Micah Parsons predicted his best football would come in playoffs. He backed that up Monday. Relentless pressure from varied alignments. Multiple batted passes. Drew attention to free up teammate on sack before one for himself. A dominant night. https://t.co/sT7QjbeSpS pic.twitter.com/zTW0jNGcJQ
— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) January 17, 2023
The quarterback comparison leaned heavily in Prescott’s favor. Prescott went 25/33 for 304 yards with four passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown to cap it off. Brady went 35/66 for 351 yards with two touchdowns and a pick.
Last season, Brady had also beaten Prescott. They had a famous meeting in the middle of the field after the game where Dak said, “We’ll see Ya’ll again.”
Dak Prescott after the 2021 opener: “we’ll see you again” pic.twitter.com/InRXK6d2fR
— Leland (@KingCuck69) January 17, 2023
It had been since the first game of the 2021 season since Prescott had said those words. When Brady and Prescott met in the middle of the field at the end of Monday night’s game, Brady said “Good job man, you played awesome.”
In the end, Prescott did play awesome. He also did the unthinkable. The unfathomable. He broke the losing streak. His prophecy was self-fulfilling. It was always going to come true. He finally beat Tom Brady.
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