The Buccaneers winning streak ends at five games after 26-20 loss to the Dallas Cowboys
After riding high for the last five weeks, the Buccaneers were brought back to Earth Sunday in their 26-20 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Even though the Buccaneers brought a lead into the fourth quarter, the Cowboys spent most of the game leading every major statistical category. For most of the night is just seemed like the Buccaneers were outmatched. There was the good, the bad and the ugly….
Cameron Brate- Once again, Brate was a major factor is the offense. Cameron Brate finished the game with five catches for 73 yards and a touchdown. With the touchdown catch Brate remained in a tie for the NFL lead in touchdown receptions from a tight end. He was a huge part of the drive that gave the Buccaneers the lead in the third quarter that ended in a nifty touchdown catch .
The Buccaneers showed the ability to fight back- After a rough all around first half, the Buccaneers found themselves in a 17-6 hole at halftime. The Buccaneers were unphased however, starting the first half out right and putting seven points on the board. The defense also did their part holding the Cowboys to a quick three and out following the touchdown drive. The Buccaneers offense march right down the field to actually claim the lead in the third quarter (see above) after the Cameron Brate touchdown pass.
Kwon Alexander- Although the defense wasn’t on top of their game, Kwon seemed to be everywhere on Sunday. Alexander had 11 tackles, ten assists and a forced fumble.
In the trenches- The Cowboys absolutely owned the war in the trenches on both sides of the ball. Dallas was able to sustain a successful offense by creating giants holes for the Cowboys running game. Rookie running back Ezekiel Elliot rushed for 159 yards and a touchdown, while the Cowboys as a team picked up 185 yards on the ground. The hole that opened up for the rushing touchdown by Dak Prescott was big enough to drive a truck through.
On the flip side, the Buccaneers offensive line was simply overpowered by the Dallas defensive line that was even missing Demarcus Lawrence. The Cowboys defense line had four sacks Sunday evening and forced two fumbles. David Irving spent so much time in the Tampa Bay backfield he considered buying a house there. A good portion of the blame for Winston’s poor performance is the amount of pressure he was under all night.
The secondary was simply awful- After showing a tremendous amount improvement during the Buccaneers five game winning streak, the secondary was letting Dak Prescott complete passes at will. Prescot finished the game 32 of 36 or an eye-popping 88.9% completion rate. Prescott had gone four weeks without throwing for over 200 yards. He finished with 279 yards and made it look easy Sunday evening.
Doug Martin- Is he really healthy? One has to wonder this question following another subpar performance. Last season Doug Martin averaged 87.6 rushing yards per game. This season, not only his he far off that pace, but he has yet to even have a single game this season that breaks his average from last year (his season high was 87 against Seattle). A productive Doug Martin would only make things easier for the offense, and allow them to put more points on the board.
The Buccaneers no longer control their own destiny- With the Redskins playing Monday night, the Bucs loss to the Cowboys drops them behind the Redskins, and out of the playoff race. Now even if the Buccaneers win out, they need at least one loss from the Redskins going forward to be able to retake the #6 seed. Atlanta won Sunday afternoon and now has a one game lead in the NFC South.
Jameis Winston's headbutt game is weak pic.twitter.com/mtQAAvtyde
— NFL Retweet (@NFLRT) December 19, 2016
Jameis Winston- Winston had a rough outing against Dallas. Not only was his stat sheet ugly, but so was his discipline. Jameis finished the game 17 of 35 for 247 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. to his credit, one of the interceptions was on a hail mary attempt to close out the first half. Winston also had a fumbles, meaning Winston was responsible for four turnovers Sunday evening.
Winston was also responsible for a drive killing unnecessary roughness penalty that stalled a potential touchdowns drive. After Doug martin was taken down hard for a five yard loss in the second quarter, Jameis Winston headbutted Justin Durant, which cost the Bucs 15 yards. There is a difference between protecting your teammates and just ugly play, and that was ugly play.
Ezekiel Elliott just got a celebration penalty for jumping into the Salvation Army red kettle pic.twitter.com/aZ7GS7L9Cw
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) December 19, 2016
The ‘No Fun League’- After scoring a touchdown early in the second quarter, rookie Ezekiel Elliott decided to have a little fun. Zeke jumped into the Salvation Army pot that was sitting in the endzone. This celebration was humorous, didn’t hurt anyone and even gave a shout out to a charitable cause. Doesn’t matter though because in the ‘no fun league’ Elliott was hit with a 15 yard penalty.