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Cowboys vs. Buccaneers: The good, the bad, and the ugly from Week 1

The highs and lows for the Cowboys in the season opener.

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys 19-3 loss at the hands of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2022 season opener wasn’t all that unexpected, however, the aftermath of that defeat could have a negative ripple effect for the rest of the season.

Anyway you choose to look at it, Dallas didn’t play all that well in Week 1. Offensively they couldn’t really get anything going in the running or passing game, but on the defensive side of the ball they showed a lot of promise by keeping Tom Brady and company in check for the majority of the game. Overall though, there is still a lot of work to do in all three phases of the game.

Like in a typical game, there was some good, some bad, and some ugly mixed in as well for the Dallas Cowboys in Week 1. Today, we’re going to identify and discuss one aspect of the game for each category.

THE GOOD: Micah Parsons

Defensively, the Dallas Cowboys did what they needed to do in order to keep the game close. Other than the one touchdown to Mike Evans, and surrendering over 100 rushing yards to Leonard Fournette, they played pretty well considering the talent Tom Brady had at his disposal. But, it was Micah Parsons who made the biggest impact for the Cowboys Sunday night.

The 2021 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year picked up where he left off last season. The stat line will show he had just four tackles on the night, but it was his effectiveness as a pass rusher that had the biggest impact. Despite Tom Brady getting the ball quickly all night, No. 11 was still able to sack him twice, his first double-digit sack game of the season. If he keeps this up, he could be the next all-time leading QB sack leader.

THE BAD: Injuries

If playing poorly and losing to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2022 season opener wasn’t bad enough, the injuries the Dallas Cowboys sustained Sunday night make the loss even worse. Dak Prescott, Connor McGovern, and Jayron Kearse all left Sunday’s matchup worse than they entered it, and all three could miss a few weeks due to the severity of their injuries. This is less than ideal considering the lack of depth behind each of them.

Injuries happen in the NFL, but to lose three starters, especially your starting quarterback, makes the season outlook for the Dallas Cowboys extremely worrisome. Dallas will now have to rely on Cooper Rush and several other backups to lead the way for the next several weeks. Depending on how these players perform, it could make or break the Cowboys season before it really even got started.

THE UGLY: Offensive production, lack thereof

Whether it was Kellen Moore’s game plan/play-calling, execution, or the penalties the Dallas Cowboys piled up, Dallas’ offense looked nothing like the high-scoring unit we saw from the season ago. There were encouraging signs in the running game, and maybe a few flashes in the passing game, but overall this unit failed dramatically to live up to expectations and may not anytime soon with Dak Prescott expected to miss several weeks now.

Kellen Moore may be the next young up-and-coming head coach candidate, but he absolutely has to establish an offensive identity for the Cowboys this season. Establishing the running game early and often might be the best course of action moving forward with Prescott out, however, a balanced running/passing attack could work as well. What he decides to do from here on out could be everything for the Cowboys this season.

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