The Dallas Cowboys lost their season opener to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday night. Although America’s Team came up just short, they played way better than people expected. Coming into this matchup, the Cowboys were nine-point underdogs, a line that appeared to be large.
Needless to say, Dallas fought hard all game long against the defending Super Bowl champions and even took the lead late into the fourth quarter. Even though they gave quarterback Tom Brady too much time to get in field goal range (1:24), the team was on full display for all of America to see. They would wind up covering the spread, with the Cowboys never trailing by more than nine points throughout the game.
This matchup between the Cowboys and Buccaneers was likely the perfect way to start the 2021 season. It was a back and forth affair between quarterbacks Tom Brady and Dak Prescott. As a result, this game brought in an uptick in viewers compared to last year’s opening game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Houston Texans.
Although the Buccaneers got the last laugh, winning by a score of 31-29, there is probably a lot of positive takeaways from this loss. For starters, competing with one of the best offenses and defenses in the league likely shows how different this team is from a season ago. Here are three takeaways from the Dallas Cowboys season opener loss.
Dallas Cowboys: 3. Dak Prescott is back
Quarterback Dak Prescott is back. After suffering a gruesome ankle injury in October of 2020, Prescott played in his first game since Week 5. Yes, the former rookie of the year is back under center for America’s Team, but he’s back in the sense that he picked up right where he left off.
Before the injury, Prescott threw for 1,856 yards (371.2 yards per game) and nine touchdowns through just five games. However, there was reason to be skeptical if the former Mississippi State star can repeat his success.
On top of recovering from the ankle injury this offseason, he was also dealing with a shoulder strain that limited him all training camp. The 6-foot-2 quarterback was on a throw count for the majority of the offseason. As a result, many people including ESPN analyst Adam Schefter thought that Prescott wouldn’t be fully healthy.
Nonetheless, the former Mississippi State product didn’t show any signs of rust in his first game in 333 days. Prescott completed 42 of 58 passes for 403 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. The 28-year-old quarterback has now passed for 400+ yards in five of his last six games.
In this game, it was evident that the former Pro Bowl quarterback put the team on his back. With no run game due to Tampa’s scary front seven, the Dallas Cowboys relied heavily on the passing game. From Dallas’ first snap where Prescott found wide receiver Amari Cooper for a 28 yard gain to him leading the team down the field late in the fourth quarter, the former fourth-round pick looked like his old self.