What a moment. What a game.
The Cowboys just dominated the Buccaneers and won 31-14. They will travel to San Francisco and play a team that hasn’t lost since October, but that doesn’t matter right now. What matters right now is just how good this team just played.
It was an ugly start, which led to most thinking this was just going to be a clunker. Both of the first two offensive drives ended in three-and-outs and all the frustration began to grow. However, the rest of the game, except a record-bad night from Brett Maher, was a master class game.
Dak Prescott played one of the best games of his career, plain and simple. He threw the ball 33 times, completing a staggering 25 passes. He was only sacked once (credit to the offensive line), threw for four touchdowns, ran for one, and didn’t turn the ball over for the first time in nearly two months. His audibles at the line of scrimmage and overall field vision was a work of art. He had true control of this game and executed as well as he could have. Pay your respects to the man.
Give it up for @Dak: 329 total yards. 5 total TDs. 143.3 passer rating.— NFL (@NFL) January 17, 2023
All-time #NFLPlayoffs performance. pic.twitter.com/vat4SdYxo5
Tony Pollard had a quiet yet effective game. He ran the ball 15 times for 77 yards and averaged 5.1 yards per carry, a mark a Cowboys running back has not met in over a month. He got more carries than Ezekiel Elliott, which was more than justified, as Zeke only averaged 2.1 yards per carry. That balance should carry into next week.
The receiving corps had a complete game with Dalton Schultz, Michael Gallup, and CeeDee Lamb all scoring. Just a masterclass offensive performance.
Speaking of master class. Defense, take a bow. Dan Quinn coached a near perfect game. Brady completed just 53% of his passes, was sacked twice, and threw his first redzone turnover in what seemed like ages. There were so many plays on defense that were worthy of ovation, it truly was great to watch. You couldn’t have asked for a better performance from that unit.
It is impossible to give flowers to Dan Quinn and not include Mike McCarthy and Kellen Moore. The play-calling was quality and timely, executed to perfection.
The only glaring negative from this feel-good win was Brett Maher. He was the first kicker in nearly a century to miss four extra points in a single game. As impressive as that is, it is impressive for all the wrong reasons. After the second miss, McCarthy should have kept the offense on, but after the fourth miss, it is safe to assume that there might be a kicker brought in for a workout this week. It is tough to overlook just how bad of a game it was for Maher.
All in all, what a game and what a time to be a Cowboys fan. If I told you back in September that the Cowboys would be able to play Mr. Irrelevant at quarterback in the Divisional Round, most would be happy with making that deal. The 49ers are a deep, star-studded crew, and that Mr. Irrelevant has been a revelation, but that will all be covered this week.
For now, enjoy the win. 60 minutes away from an NFC Championship game.