ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) – Tom Brady and Mike Evans connected on a touchdown, Leonard Fournette ran for 127 yards and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers dominated the Cowboys 19-3 while Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott left with an injury in hand on Sunday night.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said after the game that Prescott needs surgery on his hand and will miss several weeks, an season-changing blow to a team that won the NFC East last year.
A rough night for Prescott got worse when his right hand hit a defender when he threw a pass in the fourth quarter. He was checked on the sideline before running to the locker room.
Brady was in control throughout the first start for a 45-year-old quarterback in NFL history. The seven-time Super Bowl champion got a big assist from the defense in Todd Bowles’ debut as Tampa Bay’s head coach after three seasons as defensive coordinator.
The Cowboys and Bucs had the top two rushing offenses in the NFL last season, which began with Tampa Bay’s 31-29 home win over Dallas when Brady and Prescott combined for seven TDs. Only one violation appeared this time.
Dallas drove 54 yards on a field goal on its first possession, but didn’t score again while finishing with the second fewest points on a first down. The Cowboys lost to New Orleans 28-0 in 1989 — Jerry Jones’ first game as owner.
Julio Jones scampered 48 yards in his two-time All-Pro debut at Tampa Bay to set up one of four first-half field goals by Ryan Succop, who had five attempts before the break without a score by the Bucs.
Brady, who improved to 7-0 against the Cowboys, was 18 of 17 for 212 yards with one interception that wasn’t much because Prescott and receiver Noah Brown couldn’t connect on an easy third-down throw near in the middle early. the fourth quarter.
The Cowboys did nothing to quell questions about the receiving corps behind CeeDee Lamb, the third-stringer who is the new No. 1 target following the offseason trade of Amari Cooper.
Lamb had two catches for 29 yards while drawing most of the attention. Noah Brown had five catches for 68 yards, while Prescott finished 14 of 29 for 134 yards with an interception that set up one of the first-half scores.
The void in receiving depth was clear, with Evans and Chris Godwin both having catches of at least 20 yards in the first quarter before Godwin was forced out with a hamstring injury.
The Cowboys only stayed close in the first half because of two sacks by reigning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Micah Parsons. Both forced field goals, and Succop missed one of the attempts.
Devin White matched Parsons with two sacks of Prescott as the Cowboys lost to the Bucks at home for just the second time as coach Mike McCarthy dropped to 0-3 in the opener against Dallas. Dave Campo was the only other Dallas coach to do so.
Fournette had 40 of 79 yards on the drive that ended with Brady’s 5-yard touchdown pass to Evans for a 19-3 lead.
Dallas first-round pick Tyler Smith was the first rookie in franchise history to start at left tackle. The Bucs also had a second-round pick in rookie left guard Luke Goedeke. Both teams entered the opener with questions up front due to injuries and personnel changes.
Injuries also increased. Dallas left guard Connor McGovern did not return after injuring his right ankle in the first round. Tampa Bay left tackle Donovan Smith left in the second quarter with an elbow problem and was also ruled out.
Bucs Godwin, whose status for the opener was uncertain as he recovered from a knee injury, injured his hamstring in the first half and did not return. … Cowboys S Jayron Kearse, who was questionable coming in with a neck problem, left in the second half with a knee injury.
Buccaneers: At NFC South rival New Orleans next Sunday. One of those teams has either won or shared the last five division titles.
Cowboys: Defending AFC champion Cincinnati visits next Sunday. Dallas opens with three of four games at home.
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