Todd Bowles won his Tampa Bay coaching debut and Tom Brady remained unbeaten against Dallas as the visiting Buccaneers beat the Cowboys 19-3 in Sunday night’s season opener in Arlington, Texas.
Kicking off his 23rd season, Brady improved to 7-0 against the Cowboys and at age 45, became the oldest starting quarterback in NFL history. He completed 18 of 27 passes for 212 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Leonard Fournette rushed for 127 yards, Mike Evans caught five passes for 71 yards and a TD, and Ryan Succop made four field goals to give Bowles his first victory as a head coach since Dec. 9, 2018 with the New York Jets.
Evans scored the game’s only touchdown with 3:23 left in the third quarter. His one-handed, 5-yard catch in the end zone — the 625th TD pass of Brady’s career — put Tampa Bay up 19-3.
After leading the NFL in total offense last season, the Cowboys managed only a field goal on the opening drive of the game. They struggled to move the ball and heard boos from the crowd at AT&T Stadium, finishing with 244 yards of offense and 12 first downs.
Dak Prescott completed just 14 of 29 passes for 134 yards and a pick before exiting in the fourth quarter to have his right (throwing) hand examined by the medical staff. He was replaced by Cooper Rush.
The Buccaneers led 6-3 after one quarter. After Brett Maher capped the Cowboys’ opening 14-play drive with a 51-yard field goal, Succop answered with kicks from 44 and 38 yards.
Consecutive third-down sacks deep in the red zone by Cowboys star Micah Parsons, last season’s NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, prevented Tampa Bay from breaking the game open in the second quarter.
The Bucs drove to the Dallas 8- and 4-yard lines on consecutive possessions and came away with only three points. Parsons’ timely sacks forced Tampa Bay to settle for field-goal attempts, with Succop misfiring from 36 and hitting from 29 yards for a 9-3 lead with 3:25 left.
Succop’s 47-yarder made it 12-3 with 14 seconds left before the break.
–Field Level Media