Cowboys Nose Dive in Home Opener

Buccaneers Cowboys Football

Game one of the NFL season is full of hopes. It’s full of dreams. Fans hope for their team to win. Owners, Coaches, players and fans hope to make it to the Super Bowl. In this day and age, the average fan is well informed. They consume hundreds of hours of media. They read from multiple sources. They are armed with the knowledge that their team has a chance. Then, game one happens. Film doesn’t lie. America’s team, the Dallas Cowboys were embarrassed at home. Perhaps the writing was on the wall. In the off season we all noted that the Cowboys declined to resign La’el Collins and Cedrick Wilson. The Cowboys traded veteran receiver Amari Cooper. They made no moves with the backfield, and they failed to restock the offensive line. Then, during the pre-season they lost Tyron Smith to a catastrophic injury. The Cowboys started the season with only two parameter players that Dak Prescott had familiarity with; CeeDee Lamb and Dalton Schultz. Lamb led the team last year in receptions and yards. However, his statistics are deceiving when you consider most teams doubled up Amari Cooper, the real number one receiver for the Cowboys. When the Cowboys moved off Cooper, I said it was a mistake. I said Lamb isn’t ready to be a number one receiver. His relative absence in the playoffs is a testament to my sentiment. So is game one of the 2022 season.

The first half of this game turned out to be a defensive slug fest. The one bright spot for the Cowboys is their defensive performance. Micah Parsons led the defensive line in harassing Tom Brady, though Parsons was the only defender to bring him down on two occasions. A few of us wondered if those sacks would come off the stat sheet since Brady is the untouchable one. Both Parson’s sacks came on critical third down plays, stifling Buccaneer drives. Late in the third quarter Donovan Wilson also managed to intercept the future hall of famer. Despite the Cowboy defense’s valiant efforts, the Buccaneers moved the ball at will between the twenties. However, they were only able to secure one touchdown against the stingy Cowboy defense. Brady threw a ball to a spot in the endzone where only Mike Evans could catch it; and catch it he did in spectacular fashion. The Buccaneers other five trips into the redzone ended in field goals. Tampa Bay executed a balanced offense throwing it for 195 yards and rushing for 153 yards. Though Leonard Fournette came to camp overweight, he was ready to go for week one, leading the Buccaneer rushing attack with 21 rushes for 127 yards. Mike Evans will likely replace Rob Gronkowski as Brady’s favorite redzone target, and he led the Buccaneers receivers with 5 receptions and 71 yards. Julio Jones turned in a nice game and has shown he has developed chemistry with Brady. Though the Buccaneers could move the ball, the Cowboys kept them out of the endzone the whole game with the exception of one drive.

The Cowboys offense was pitiful. Dak Prescott was harassed the whole game. The Cowboys rushing attack only managed 71 yards. However, the worst statistic on offense was out of eleven targets, CeeDee Lamb managed just two receptions for 29 yards. Lamb lived up to his namesake instead of playing like the number one receiver for the Dallas Cowboys. Lambs don’t win games. Lions do. The surprise to the Cowboy’s receiving corps is journeyman Noah Brown. He caught five balls for 68 yards and looked like the real number one receiver for the Cowboys. Still, Prescott was off targeting all game long, throwing one interception, while the Buccaneer defenders dropped two more.

The Cowboy coaching staff did not have the Cowboys ready to go. There were no real changes to the Buccaneer defense in the offseason. They added some depth, but the same starters this year were on the Buccaneer squad last year. Defensive Coordinator Dan Quin had his defense ready to go. Trevon Diggs played one of his best games as a Cowboy. He and Malik Hooker worked well together, as they defended against receivers on their side of the field. Micah Parsons and Leighton Vander Esch led the Cowboy front seven securing fifteen tackles and two sack’s between them.

The Cowboys have a lot to clean up. They are not alone. There are several teams that disappointed in their season debut. However, the Cowboys immediate concern is the health of Dak Prescott, as he exited the game early in the fourth quarter with an apparent injury to his hand. As of this writing, Jerry Jones and Coach McCarthy reported that Prescott’s hand will require surgery. Their next concern is the offensive line. They need work in pass protection. Lastly, the play calling must improve. The Cowboy’s running attack was effective when Zeke Elliott was running the ball. Tony Pollard had a terrible day. Lastly, Cowboys offensive staff must figure out what their strengths are and play to them. They failed to make any effective adjustments at half time, further hamstringing their efforts. Simply put, the Cowboys offense needs a lot of work. Whether Prescott is in or out, it is likely going to be a long season for the Cowboys.

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