Texas

Brady-led Bucs ready to take on Cowboys in NFC wildcard game

TAMPA, Florida. – Tom Brady led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers down a winding path to the playoffs. Dak Prescott helped the Dallas Cowboys overcome serious difficulties on the way to the playoffs.

The all-star quarterbacks meet Monday night in an NFC wildcard game, and they hope regular season hardships pave the way for a Super Bowl win.

“Everyone is working hard to get to this point. There will be no more second chances,” said Brady, 45, who has the Bucks (8-9) in contention for their second title in three years despite finishing the regular season with a losing record for the first time in more than 20 years. than two decades as an NFL starter.

“It will be difficult, but we have been combat tested,” added the seven-time Super Bowl champion. “We had some tough games. We returned from some. Some of them are not.

Perhaps no team makes the playoffs under as much scrutiny as Dallas (12-5), who lost five games to Prescott after breaking his right thumb in an early-season loss to Tampa Bay. Bay”, but continued to fight for the best record in the NFC until last weekend.

A sluggish double-digit loss to the Washingtons in the regular season finals raised questions about how Prescott and the Cowboys would react to starting the postseason on the road against the Bucks.

Dallas hasn’t won a road game since the 1992 playoffs. And the Cowboys have never beaten Brady, who plays 7-0 against them, including wins against Tampa Bay in the last two first seasons.

“Obviously a lot has changed for both teams since September. I think it’s just a matter of going through the season and gathering information that is relevant to your game plan. That was our approach,” said Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy.

“But you know, this is playoff football. The only thing we are guaranteed is four quarters to win and move on to the next round, ”added McCarthy. “No matter what they’ve done to win their division, it’s all two teams lining up with an opportunity to move forward.”

No one has done better in the playoffs than Brady, who is looking to break numerous postseason records including most games played (47), wins (35), Super Bowl titles (seven) and games (10), passing yards (13,049) . ) and touchdowns (86).

Despite breaking his own NFL record for completions in a season (490) and throwing for third most rushing yards in the league (4,694), the Bucks were inconsistent on offense and did not win more than two games in a row. dot.

However, there is some consolation in the fact that a five-time Super Bowl MVP is on your side.

“He understands how to play these games. The last thing I’m really worried about is Tom,” offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich said.

“When you get into those moments, it’s important to make sure we feel good around him, make sure we’re all on the same wavelength,” Leftwich added. “This is what bit us at the beginning of the year. It’s hard to find people on the same wavelength when you’re not training and every day there’s a different guy in the crowd and there are young people in the crowd. … I think we’ve benefited from some of these young guys playing a lot.”

HISTORY LESSON

Dallas defensive coordinator Dan Quinn told some of his players that the Cowboys had not won a playoff road game since the 1992 season, when a 30–20 win over San Francisco in the NFC Championship game led to series of three Super Bowl titles in four years.

The losing streak is eight games long, with the most recent loss coming to the Los Angeles Rams in the divisional round that ended the 2018 season. The Cowboys advance to the playoffs for the first time since the 2006 season, when Tony Romo missed the snap of a potential game-winning field goal in the final two minutes of a 21-20 loss to Seattle.

“We’re just going to go out there and try to rewrite it,” guard Jaron Kears, who volunteered, said that Quinn brought the matter up. “It’s just part of the star on the helmet. Things people talk about. Haven’t been since 92. Ninety-two until 2023, that doesn’t mean anything.”

The Cowboys also have a positive side to the story. They are 2-0 against Tampa Bay in the playoffs, although both wins were at home in the early 1980s.

SHIFT BACK

Two players had to leave Dallas’ already turbulent offensive line when center Tyler Biadash injured his ankle two weeks ago. Now that he looks set to make a comeback, those players are probably coming back too.

Rookie Tyler Smith is looking to return to the left tackle he did for most of the season after eight-time pro bowler Tyrone Smith tore his hamstring in training camp. Tyler Smith switched to left-back after Biadash’s injury because Connor McGovern had to move to center.

Right Tackle Terence Steele’s season-ending knee injury occurred a week before Tyrone Smith was ready for his first game of the season. Instead of moving Tyler Smith, the Cowboys decided to put Tyrone Smith in the right position for the first time since his rookie in 2011.

The latest shuffle affected the course of the game more than all the uncertainty that preceded it. The Cowboys kept under 100 yards off the ground in consecutive games for the first time this season in the final two games of the regular season.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Brady, who retired last winter only to announce 40 days later that he was returning to the Bucks for a third year, will become a free agent at the end of the season. He continues to brush off questions about his plans after the playoffs.

“I didn’t think of any of that,” he said. “I just want to be the best for my teammates every day and show myself like a pro, go out and play well.”

___

AP Pro Football writer Schuyler Dixon contributed to this report.

___

More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Copyright 2023 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed without permission.



Content source

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button