Cowboys finally beat Tom Brady as Dallas routs Tampa Bay (2024)

  • Todd Archer


    Cowboys finally beat Tom Brady as Dallas routs Tampa Bay (1)

    Todd Archer

    ESPN Staff Writer

      Todd Archer is an NFL reporter at ESPN and covers the Dallas Cowboys. Archer has covered the NFL since 1997 and Dallas since 2003. He joined ESPN in 2010. You can follow him on Twitter at @toddarcher.
  • Jenna Laine


    Cowboys finally beat Tom Brady as Dallas routs Tampa Bay (2)

    Jenna Laine

    ESPN Staff Writer

      Jenna Laine covers the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for ESPN. She started covering the Bucs for ESPN in 2016, but she has covered the team since 2009. Follow Jenna on Twitter: @JennaLaineESPN.

Jan 17, 2023, 03:20 PM

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TAMPA, Fla. -- Dak Prescott was clinical as the Dallas Cowboys took care of business on the road against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday in the final game of the opening round of the playoffs.

The Buccaneers got the best of the Cowboys in the season opener, 19-3, but Prescott's five total touchdowns and a dominant defense were too much in the 31-14 wild-card matchup.

The Cowboys will travel to face the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday (6:30 p.m. ET, Fox) in the divisional round.

Cowboys finally beat Tom Brady as Dallas routs Tampa Bay (3)

Dallas Cowboys

The Tom Brady curse? Over.

The eight-game playoff losing streak on the road? Done.

Monday's thumping of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ended Brady's personal seven-game winning streak against the Cowboys and gave Dallas its first playoff road win since the 1992 NFC Championship Game.

It was the Cowboys' most complete performance this season since the 40-3 demolition of the Minnesota Vikings on Nov. 20, and it might be the jolt the team needs to make it back to a Super Bowl for the first time since 1995.

Since that win over the Vikings, the Cowboys were chasing that kind of performance and struggled in wins against the Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans, while losing to the Jacksonville Jaguars in overtime. Now the Cowboys will look to build on this after getting over the first hurdle.

QB breakdown: Prescott kept assuring everybody the interception thing would end. It's not clear if anybody believed him, but Prescott believed it. He set a postseason record by running for a touchdown and throwing a touchdown in his fourth straight playoff game. He joined Troy Aikman (Super Bowl XXVII) and Roger Staubach (1975 NFC Championship Game) as the third Cowboys QB with four TD passes in a playoff game. His confidence grew steadily. His second touchdown pass to Dalton Schultz was a thing of beauty, scrambling to his left and throwing across his body to the tight end to give the Cowboys an 18-0 lead. In his four previous playoff games, Prescott had at least one interception in three of them. It wasn't that he just played mistake-free. He made big plays in key moments.

Buy breakout performance: The defense looked like the defense from the beginning of the season when opponents couldn't crack 20 points in six of the first seven games. Micah Parsons was a nuisance and saw more action at off-the-ball linebacker than he had over the second half of the season. Safety Jayron Kearse had the first red zone interception of Brady's career in Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers couldn't run the ball, which was far different from when these teams met in the opener, when they had 152 yards on the ground. The Niners will present more of a challenge with running back Christian McCaffrey, receiver Deebo Samuel, tight end George Kittle and rookie quarterback Brock Purdy, but this has to raise the group's confidence.

Troubling trend: Kicker Brett Maher was as consistent as he could be in the regular season. He missed just three extra points. Then he missed four on Monday. And that comes on the heels of missing his one and only point-after attempt in the regular-season finale against the Washington Commanders. His first two misses were sliced to the right. His third was hooked the left. His fourth went off the top of the right upright. According to Elias, Maher is the only player in any NFL game since 1932 to miss four extra points in one game, regular season or playoffs. So there's that. Do the Cowboys need to look at a kicker as they move into the divisional round of the playoffs?

Underrated statistic to know: At one point in the first half, Prescott had 11 straight completions, which broke the Cowboys' postseason record, previously set by Aikman in Super Bowl XXX against the Pittsburgh Steelers, per Elias. -- Todd Archer

Cowboys finally beat Tom Brady as Dallas routs Tampa Bay (4)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

There will be no second shot at the 49ers and no eighth Super Bowl ring this season for Brady.

Monday marked Brady's first loss to the Cowboys and was just the third time that his team was eliminated in the wild-card round of the playoffs, with the last loss coming on Jan. 4, 2020, in a 30-27 loss to the Tennessee Titans in his last game with the New England Patriots. Brady had gone 2-0 in wild-card rounds with the Buccaneers the past two years.

With Brady set to become an unrestricted free agent, general manager Jason Licht will make every effort to re-sign him this offseason, and the Bucs will give him all the time he needs to make a decision -- one that will be heavily influenced by family given his desire to be close to his children. But his status will determine whether they are in a win-now mode or forced to rebuild.

There are also questions about the coaching staff. Todd Bowles is expected to be back as coach in 2023, but he didn't assemble this staff. Might there be changes? Brady will want to hear what their plan is for next year.

QB breakdown: Despite the return of Pro Bowl center Ryan Jensen, who missed the entire regular season with torn ligaments in his knee and gave the whole team a jolt this week, Brady was pressured heavily, and the offense looked out of rhythm. The offensive line couldn't block Micah Parsons, and as a result, Brady had not completed a pass of 10 or more yards in the first half. Brady completed 35 of 66 passes for 351 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

The interception came at the beginning of the second quarter when Brady tried to throw the ball out of the back of the end zone, but safety Jayron Kearse picked it off. Brady said he just didn't put enough on the attempt. It was his first interception in the red zone in 409 pass attempts. Brady's first touchdown pass came at the end of the third quarter, finding wide receiver Julio Jones along the left sideline for a 30-yard touchdown, and his second -- which was set up by an onside kick recovery by Giovani Bernard -- came with 2:04 left in the game to Cameron Brate on an 8-yard score.

Biggest hole in the game plan: Even with their entire starting secondary back, the Bucs' disguised coverages weren't enough to fool Prescott. Their pass rush struggled to keep him in the pocket, and they couldn't cover the Cowboys' tight ends.

The first touchdown to a tight end was a 22-yard throw to Dalton Schultz. Prescott held off safety Mike Edwards, who had one of his roughest games as a Buccaneer. It was set up by a roughing the passer call on defensive lineman Akiem Hicks. Then on fourth-and-goal from the 1, the Bucs sold out to stop the run with linebacker K.J. Britt losing contain and Prescott running a bootleg into the end zone untouched.

Prior to that, the Bucs had a completely blown coverage on a 35-yard reception by tight end Jake Ferguson.

Prescott found Schultz once more on an 11-yard touchdown -- with Edwards out of position once again -- thrown on the run with 27 seconds left to go. CeeDee Lamb also slipped through for a score after lining up in a trips left formation with Schultz and Noah Brown. Lamb was unaccounted for and ran wide open for an 18-yard touchdown reception.

Underrated statistic to know: Brady's 66 pass attempts were the most of his career in a playoff game, and his 31 incompletions were the most for him in a playoff game. -- Jenna Laine

Cowboys finally beat Tom Brady as Dallas routs Tampa Bay (2024)


Has Tom Brady ever defeated the Dallas Cowboys? ›

Cowboys – The Cowboys have faced Brady five times in his career – all with the Patriots – but they've never knocked off the future Hall of Famer.

How many times have the Cowboys lost against Tom Brady? ›

During his career, Brady has faced the Cowboys seven times, winning all of those games, But Monday is the first time Brady will play against Dallas in the playoffs.

What happened with Tom Brady and the Cowboys? ›

Brady finished the game with 351 passing yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady remained coy on his future following the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 31-14 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL's Wild Card playoffs on Monday.

Has Dak Prescott ever beaten Tom Brady? ›

Prescott played his best game in weeks, throwing for four touchdowns and running for another to answer critics of “America's Team” with a 31-14 rout of Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in an NFC wild-card playoff game on Monday night.

What is Tom Brady's record against every NFL team? ›

Tom Brady's Record Against Every NFL Team
TeamBrady's regular season recordBrady's postseason record
Pittsburgh Steelers9-43-0
Los Angeles Chargers7-23-0
San Francisco 49ers2-2N/A
Seattle Seahawks2-21-0
28 more rows
Jan 16, 2023

What 5 teams has Tom Brady never lost to? ›

In his 22-years career, Brady never lost to the Falcons, Vikings, Cowboys, Buccaneers or Patriots, going a combined 27-0 against those five teams.

What teams have never beaten Tom Brady? ›

Here are the list of teams who gone against Brady and never beat him:
  • Cowboys: 0-7.
  • Vikings: 0-6.
  • Buccaneers: 0-4.
  • Patriots: 0-1.
Jan 16, 2023

What team is Tom Brady lost to the most? ›


Why was Tom Brady fined for the Cowboys game? ›

The action did not go unnoticed by the NFL

The virality of the image of Brady sweeping reached the eyes of the NFL, which announced a fine for Brady of $16,444 for "unnecessary roughness for attempting to trip Cowboys safety Malik Hooker."

Has Tampa Bay ever beat Dallas? ›

The following is a list of all regular season and postseason games played between the Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Cowboys / Buccaneers rivalry has been played 22 times (including 3 postseason games), with the Dallas Cowboys winning 16 games and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers winning 6 games.

Have the Buccaneers ever beaten the Cowboys? ›

The following is a list of all regular season and postseason games played between the Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Cowboys / Buccaneers rivalry has been played 22 times (including 3 postseason games), with the Dallas Cowboys winning 16 games and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers winning 6 games.

How many times have the Cowboys lost to the Bucs? ›

What is the all-time head-to-head record between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Dallas Cowboys? The Buccaneers and Cowboys have played a total of 22 games against each other, counting the regular season and playoffs. The Buccaneers have an overall record of 6-16 (27.3%) against the Cowboys.


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