Dallas Cowboys at Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Bucs - Thursday night 8:20 (NBC)

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Mazz22

Mazz22

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Brady was 7 for 10 when throwing 15 yards or longer down field last night. AB averaged 24 yards a reception on a night when he went 5 catches for 121 yards and 1 TD. I think everyone was right about Tom and ABs connection this year being something special. They looked to be in mid-season form.

Also, Gronk was 8 catches for 90 yards and 2 TDs. He seemed to have every big play in that game including a sweet one handed grab. He looks like in prime Gronk from 2011-2017.

The main issue for the Bucs continues IMO to be the passing game to the backs. Not sure why Gio did not really play last night. He had been battling an ankle I think and it is possible he is still learning the offense but I cringe every time Brady throws to Fournette. I am sure things will get worked out but that is the only bump in this offense I see. The Oline was outstanding protecting Brady. I am interested in seeing how they do vs the Rams in 2 weeks.
 

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It was a fun game and Dallas covered the spread.
 

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Dallas made the game last night a lot closer than I thought it would be. The Bucs helped Dallas by committing more penalties than I could count. Ugly.
31-29 with a game winning FG w/ a few seconds to play isn't what anyone expected. Arians was happy to win but wasn't happy about the mistakes. He credited his STs for the win.
Throw in the Cowboys' Zuerlein missing a short FG and an extra point and it's obvious Dallas was within reach of winning.
Dak looked like an All-Pro - 42-58, 403 yds, 3 TDs, 1 int. He got the ball out very quickly and threw with authority. He outplayed TB12 last night. Dallas's running game was lacking.
Brady didn't look bad, in fact, Brady looked good 32-50, 379 yds, 4 TD, 2 ints. But as he and Arians alluded too, there's plenty to clean up. Bucs D was mediocre.

The bolded sentiment I've seen everywhere today. I've seen things like "Dak looked like a MVP Candidate", "Brady won the game, Dak won the night", on and on it goes. I don't see it. More specifically, I watched the game, and I didn't see it. To me it wasn't even close, in the other direction. So I decided to see if it was my bias showing, and looked closer at the numbers. Here's what we've got:

Dak Box Score: 42 Completions, 58 Attempts (72%); 403 Yards; 6.9 Y/A; 3 TD; 1 Int; 1 Sack (12 yards); 101.4 Passer Rating
Brady Box Score: 32 Completions, 50 Attempts (64%); 379 Yards; 7.6 Y/A; 4 TD; 2 Int; 0 Sacks; 97.0 Passer Rating

So Dak won the Box Score. However, let's say for a moment Brady cared about stats. Let's say he kneeled at the end, then spiked with time remaining, rather than throwing 3 incomplete passes deliberately to burn clock, sacrificing 1 yard of field position for 3 fewer incomplete passes. Let's say he didn't throw the hail mary at the end of the half as a near zero risk, high reward play, because of the likelihood of being intercepted (even though the interception in that situation is harmless). What would his stats look like then?

Selfish Brady Box Score: 32 Completions, 46 Attempts (69.5%); 379 Yards; 8.23 Y/A; 4 TD; 1 Int; 0 Sacks; 114.3 Passer Rating

This of course pays no attention to the Fournette bobble (Brady earned that Int, that pass was too high) the Godwin Fumble, the Drops, and so forth. Both teams had missed opportunities and I'm not here to play revisionist history, I'm just pointing out that Brady actively made choices to take actions detrimental to his stats for the sake of improving their odds of winning the game, and setting those actions aside, his passer rating crushes that of Prescott, because he had a better and more impressive game, at least in my eyes.

Looking at the overall context, we also see this:

Overall Drive Results:
Cowboys - 6 trips to the red zone, 3 TDs, 2 FGs, 1 missed FG
Bucs - 6 trips to the red zone, 4 TDs, 1 fumble (Godwin), 1 FG (as time expired)

So Dak and the Cowboys drove it home less often. Brady was 7 of 9 on deep balls not thrown as hail marys to end the half, Dak had 4 deep ball incompletions before the 1st half had ended, and another 2 and an Int tacked on in the second half. While Brady attacked every part of the field successfully and repeatedly, Dak mostly made his money on short passes left and right. I say mostly, but 40 of 42 completions by Dak were classified as "short", so really I mean virtually all.


Brady had more deep passes before the first Quarter was done (3) than Dak had all game (2). He threw darts over the middle. He threw rainbows that dropped in the bucket at the perfect spot. He threw bombs downfield. He showed he could make every throw, Dak by and large did not.

Most importantly, all of that put together, Brady did what was needed to put his team in the position to win (and they did), while Dak came up short, despite nearly every bounce going their way, and having 4 turnovers gifted to his team. So how is it that everyone is talking about how Dak outplayed Brady, when he largely played a more limited game, with worse results, and thus despite winning the turnover battle, he lost the game? Why would you take him as the All Pro or MVP, over the guy who threw for more TDs, threw a larger variety of throws, had more success per attempt when throwing the ball, and who is ultimately the guy who won the game?

It's here that I'll mention that Brady in 1 game moved to having the 2nd best season by a 44 year old in NFL history, trailing only Vinny Testaverde (94/172. 952 yards. 5 TDs. 6 INTs.). It wasn't about his age though, Brady was just on fire yesterday, and played a fantastic game. Yet everyone is acting like he didn't throw 4 TDs and carry his team to victory on a day where they only managed 52 yards on the ground. Why is that?
 

TommyD420

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One thing I've always wondered, and I'm pretty sure the answer is "no" but I am not certain why:

You can fake a punt, and convert on 3rd down. You can fake a field goal, and convert for a touchdown. Right? So can you fake a punt, and go for a field goal instead? The goal being to get some returners deep to reduce the amount of folks at the line and thus help reduce the chances it's blocked.
In theory you can. In practice, you could drop-kick.
 

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Also, Gronk was 8 catches for 90 yards and 2 TDs. He seemed to have every big play in that game including a sweet one handed grab. He looks like in prime Gronk from 2011-2017.
Well if it's prime Gronkoswki 2011-2017, that means he should be injured and out for the year somewhere between weeks 10 and 11.
 
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Mazz22

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The bolded sentiment I've seen everywhere today. I've seen things like "Dak looked like a MVP Candidate", "Brady won the game, Dak won the night", on and on it goes. I don't see it. More specifically, I watched the game, and I didn't see it. To me it wasn't even close, in the other direction. So I decided to see if it was my bias showing, and looked closer at the numbers. Here's what we've got:

Dak Box Score: 42 Completions, 58 Attempts (72%); 403 Yards; 6.9 Y/A; 3 TD; 1 Int; 1 Sack (12 yards); 101.4 Passer Rating
Brady Box Score: 32 Completions, 50 Attempts (64%); 379 Yards; 7.6 Y/A; 4 TD; 2 Int; 0 Sacks; 97.0 Passer Rating

So Dak won the Box Score. However, let's say for a moment Brady cared about stats. Let's say he kneeled at the end, then spiked with time remaining, rather than throwing 3 incomplete passes deliberately to burn clock, sacrificing 1 yard of field position for 3 fewer incomplete passes. Let's say he didn't throw the hail mary at the end of the half as a near zero risk, high reward play, because of the likelihood of being intercepted (even though the interception in that situation is harmless). What would his stats look like then?

Selfish Brady Box Score: 32 Completions, 46 Attempts (69.5%); 379 Yards; 8.23 Y/A; 4 TD; 1 Int; 0 Sacks; 114.3 Passer Rating

This of course pays no attention to the Fournette bobble (Brady earned that Int, that pass was too high) the Godwin Fumble, the Drops, and so forth. Both teams had missed opportunities and I'm not here to play revisionist history, I'm just pointing out that Brady actively made choices to take actions detrimental to his stats for the sake of improving their odds of winning the game, and setting those actions aside, his passer rating crushes that of Prescott, because he had a better and more impressive game, at least in my eyes.

Looking at the overall context, we also see this:

Overall Drive Results:
Cowboys - 6 trips to the red zone, 3 TDs, 2 FGs, 1 missed FG
Bucs - 6 trips to the red zone, 4 TDs, 1 fumble (Godwin), 1 FG (as time expired)

So Dak and the Cowboys drove it home less often. Brady was 7 of 9 on deep balls not thrown as hail marys to end the half, Dak had 4 deep ball incompletions before the 1st half had ended, and another 2 and an Int tacked on in the second half. While Brady attacked every part of the field successfully and repeatedly, Dak mostly made his money on short passes left and right. I say mostly, but 40 of 42 completions by Dak were classified as "short", so really I mean virtually all.


Brady had more deep passes before the first Quarter was done (3) than Dak had all game (2). He threw darts over the middle. He threw rainbows that dropped in the bucket at the perfect spot. He threw bombs downfield. He showed he could make every throw, Dak by and large did not.

Most importantly, all of that put together, Brady did what was needed to put his team in the position to win (and they did), while Dak came up short, despite nearly every bounce going their way, and having 4 turnovers gifted to his team. So how is it that everyone is talking about how Dak outplayed Brady, when he largely played a more limited game, with worse results, and thus despite winning the turnover battle, he lost the game? Why would you take him as the All Pro or MVP, over the guy who threw for more TDs, threw a larger variety of throws, had more success per attempt when throwing the ball, and who is ultimately the guy who won the game?

It's here that I'll mention that Brady in 1 game moved to having the 2nd best season by a 44 year old in NFL history, trailing only Vinny Testaverde (94/172. 952 yards. 5 TDs. 6 INTs.). It wasn't about his age though, Brady was just on fire yesterday, and played a fantastic game. Yet everyone is acting like he didn't throw 4 TDs and carry his team to victory on a day where they only managed 52 yards on the ground. Why is that?
This is a great post. Thank you for taking the time to put together all those stats. There is so much value add in here.

My take on why Dak is getting so much love for this game is because he had the shoulder injury coming in and the OC for Dallas had a tremendous game plan to stay away from the teeth of the Tampa Dline and have Dak attack the perimeter with short passes designed to get a lot of YAC. It obviously helped that Tampa was down half of its secondary in the first quarter but still the game plan was really good and unlike Mahomes, when Dak was pressured which happened on 22 of his drop backs, he did not run backwards or sideways but stepped up in the pocket and made plays. I do wonder what KC fans were thinking when they saw that game plan. It is what they should have done in the SB. I really loved how Dallas did not try to force Zeke as no team is running on that front of Tampa which actually does not bode well for us when we play them but still it was a great plan.

I agree with the rest of your post. Brady was sensational while his defensive secondary and offensive skill positions puked all over themselves. I was listening to Bert Breer on Friday morning on Toucher and Rich and he was saying that Brady provides 3 wins a season in games that his team should lose. That is why he is the GOAT. He is so steady, so brilliant, so clutch that he is able to overcome a bevy of putrid mistakes by his team to get the W in a very tough week one match up.
 

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CeeDee Lamb dropped a few key catches for Dullas
 
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Mazz22

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Godwin dropped a TD right in his hands. Then he had the fumble late at the goal line. He alone cost the Bucs 14 points.
 
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