Dak Prescott passed for four touchdowns and rushed for another to lead the Dallas Cowboys to a dominating 31-14 victory over the host Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday night in the NFC wild-card round.
Prescott passed for 305 yards while guiding the fifth-seeded Cowboys to their first playoff road victory since prevailing 30-20 over the San Francisco 49ers on Jan. 17, 1993 at Candlestick Park. Dallas broke an eight-game skid in that situation.
Ironically, the Cowboys will visit the second-seeded 49ers on Sunday in the divisional round.
Dalton Schultz caught seven passes for 95 yards and two touchdowns while Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb also had scoring receptions for the Cowboys. Tony Pollard rushed for 77 yards on 15 carries.
Tom Brady was 35-of-66 passing for 351 yards, two touchdowns and one interception for the fourth-seeded Buccaneers. Brady hasn’t yet committed to returning to Tampa Bay, playing for another team next season or retiring.
Julio Jones and Cameron Brate caught touchdown passes and Chris Godwin had 10 receptions for 85 yards for the Buccaneers.
Cowboys kicker Brett Maher set an NFL postseason record by missing four extra-point attempts. Maher missed three to the right and one to the left.
Dallas didn’t record a first down on either of its first two possessions but traveled 80 yards on seven plays during its third time with the ball. The Cowboys capped it when Prescott threw a 22-yard scoring pass to Schultz with 6:28 left in the opening quarter.
Tampa Bay had a chance to tie the score but Brady was intercepted in the end zone by Jayron Kearse on the second play of the second quarter.
Dallas responded with a 15-play, 80-yard drive that chewed 8:38 off the clock. Prescott scored the touchdown while cruising to the left on a 1-yard run.
The Cowboys delivered an 11-play, 91-yard excursion later in the quarter. This time, Prescott hit Schultz on an 11-yard throw to make it 18-0 with 27 seconds left in the half.
Dallas continued its domination with another long drive in the third quarter. The Cowboys meandered 86 yards on eight plays with Prescott hitting Gallup on a 2-yard score. Maher’s fourth miss left the Dallas lead at 24.
Tampa Bay got on the board when Brady hit Jones with a 30-yard touchdown pass on the final play of the third quarter. The two-point conversion failed.
Due to Maher’s kicking problems, Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy waved the kicking unit off on fourth-and-4 in the fourth quarter. Instead, Dallas went for it and Prescott hit a wide-open Lamb for an 18-yard score with 10:13 remaining.
Maher entered and kicked an extra point right down the middle.
–Field Level Media