It was bad enough that the Dallas Cowboys lost their season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 19-3, on Sunday. Even worse, they’ve now lost their quarterback as Dak Prescott needs surgery on his right thumb and will be out several weeks, team owner Jerry Jones said after the game.
Dak Prescott exited the game late in the fourth quarter after Buccaneers linebacker Shaquil Barrett made contact with his throwing hand. He immediately was sent to the locker room for x-rays after meeting with team orthopedist Dr. Dan Cooper on the sideline.
Cooper Rush will be under center for the Cowboys with Prescott sidelined. Rush started one game in place of Prescott last season, completing 24-of-40 passes for 325 yards with two touchdowns and an interception in a 20-16 victory over the Minnesota Vikings.
It’s another setback for Dak Prescott, who missed most of the 2020 season with an ankle fracture and two games last season with a calf injury. Not something he can’t come back from, however.
“It’s not the worst thing that has happened to me,” Prescott said after the game. “It’s jump a bump in the road, and I will keep moving forward.”
In addition to Dak Prescott, the Cowboys have lost starting left guard Connor McGovern for the foreseeable future. McGovern reportedly suffered a high-ankle sprain and will miss time.
Dak Prescott, Cowboys Offense Anemic in Loss to Buccaneers
The injuries only added to what was a disappointing night at AT&T Stadium for the Cowboys. The offense, which ranked No.1 in the NFL last season, hardly resembled that unit. The offense produced just 244 total yards and was penalized 10 times for 73 yards. Dak Prescott finished 14-of-29 passing with 134 yards and an interception with a 15.3 QBR.
Making his debut as WR1 with Amari Cooper no longer in the mix, CeeDee Lamb was anything but that. He received 11 targets, but was only able to haul in two for 29 yards. Ezekiel Elliott was effective on the ground, rushing for 52 yards on 10 carries.
But it was the Buccaneers defense who stole the show, recording four sacks and eight quarterback hits. Devin White chipped in with two of his own — one of Prescott and one of Rush.
The Tampa Bay offense, while not a world beater, rode the running game all the way to victory. Leonard Fournette rushed 21 times for 127 yards — his most in a Buccaneer uniform. Tom Brady, who returned for his 23rd season, finished 18-of-27 passing for 212 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
The Buccaneers had trouble getting into the end zone until Brady found Mike Evans on a one-on-one with Trevon Diggs. Evans beat Diggs off the line and made a one-handed grab on the goal line fade pass from Brady.
Ryan Succop got plenty of work on the night, connecting on 4-of-5 field goal attempts to give Tampa Bay all the offense they would need.