NFL News & Analysis

NFL Wild-Card Game Recap: Dallas Cowboys 31, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 14

Tampa, Florida, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) reacts with tight end Dalton Schultz (86) after scoring a touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first half during the wild card game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

An inauspicious 0-for-3 start through the air for Dak Prescott was hardly a sign of things to come. The veteran signal-caller shook off that opening three-and-out and another after it to thoroughly dominate the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the Dallas Cowboys closed out the wild-card round with a 31-14 win.

Dallas will now travel to play the San Francisco 49ers in the divisional round.

Offensive spotlight: Dak Prescott missed on his first three throws yet ended 25-of-33 for 305 passing yards and four scores. And three of those incompletions were charted as drops. He didn't make any big-time throws, but he also avoided any turnover-worthy plays.

Defensive spotlight: Buccaneers safety Mike Edwards and cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting combined to surrender 11 catches on 13 targets for 157 yards and two scores. One of those incompletions was a misfire from Dak Prescott on a screen during the game's first drive. It was a night to forget for the Tampa Bay secondary.

Rookie spotlight: Both teams will continue to be hopeful about the future of their young offensive linemen after this game. Cowboys rookie Tyler Smith, who spent time at both left guard and left tackle, didn't let up any pressure across 37 pass-blocking snaps. He is on track to earn the highest pass-blocking grade in the game.

Meanwhile, Buccaneers rookie left guard Luke Goedeke allowed two pressures, both in the second half, on 68 pass-blocking snaps. Since returning from injury in Week 17, Goedeke has surrendered just those two pressures on 108 pass-blocking snaps, pending review of this game.

Offensive line spotlight: While the center position is usually one where pressure isn't easily allowed, both Ryan Jensen and Tyler Biadasz made things look far from cut and dried. Jensen, playing in his first game of the season after suffering a torn ACL in training camp, let up five pressures for just the third time in a game since 2018. Biadasz allowed a whopping seven — tying a career-worst mark set against Tampa Bay in Week 1 of 2021.

Box Score

Passing
Dallas Cowboys
Player Fantasy Comp/Att Yds YPA TD Int
Dak Prescott 39.6 25 / 33 305 9.2 4 0
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Player Fantasy Comp/Att Yds YPA TD Int
Tom Brady 26.04 35 / 66 351 5.3 2 1
Rushing
Dallas Cowboys
Player Fantasy Car Yds YPC TD Long
Dak Prescott 39.6 7 24 3.4 1 11
Tony Pollard 11.9 15 77 5.1 0 18
Ezekiel Elliott 4.6 13 27 2.1 0 9
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Player Fantasy Car Yds YPC TD Long
Rachaad White 11.7 7 41 5.9 0 12
Leonard Fournette 2.7 5 11 2.2 0 6
Receiving
Dallas Cowboys
Player Fantasy Tgt Rec Yds YPT TD
Dalton Schultz 28.5 8 7 95 11.9 2
CeeDee Lamb 16.8 6 4 68 11.3 1
Michael Gallup 15.6 6 5 46 7.7 1
Tony Pollard 11.9 3 3 12 4 0
Ezekiel Elliott 4.6 2 1 9 4.5 0
Jake Ferguson 4.4 1 1 34 34 0
T.Y. Hilton 4.3 4 2 23 5.8 0
Noah Brown 3.8 2 2 18 9 0
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Player Fantasy Tgt Rec Yds YPT TD
Julio Jones 20.4 11 7 74 6.7 1
Chris Godwin 18.5 13 10 85 6.5 0
Mike Evans 15.4 11 6 74 6.7 0
Rachaad White 11.7 6 4 36 6 0
Cade Otton 9.8 7 4 58 8.3 0
Cameron Brate 7.8 3 1 8 2.7 1
Russell Gage 3 8 2 10 1.2 0
Leonard Fournette 2.7 1 1 6 6 0
Ko Kieft 0 1 0 0 0 0

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