Leonard Fournette stars with 127 yards while Tom Brady adds late touchdown as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ease past the Dallas Cowboys; Dak Prescott picked up a hand injury late on, which owner Jerry Jones said would leave him out "weeks"
Monday 12 September 2022 12:05, UK
Leonard Fournette rushed for 127 yards while the new Tom Brady-Julio Jones connection thrived as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers dominated the Dallas Cowboys 19-3 in their NFL season-opener, with the hosts' evening made even worse by an injury to a quarterback Dak Prescott.
The Cowboys and Bucs had the top two offenses in the NFL last season, which started with Tampa Bay's 31-29 win at home over Dallas when Brady and Prescott combined for seven TDs passing. Only one offense showed up this time.
Dallas drove 54 yards to a field goal on the first possession, but did not score again while finishing with its second-fewest points in an opener.
Julio Jones had a 48-yard catch in the two-time All-Pro's Tampa Bay debut to set up one of four first-half field goals from Ryan Succop, who had five attempts before the break without a punt from the Bucs.
Brady, who improved to 7-0 against the Cowboys, was 18 of 27 for 212 yards with a touchdown, while Prescott finished 14 of 29 for 134 yards with an interception that set up one of the first-half field goals.
The Cowboys stayed close in the first half only because of two sacks from reigning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Micah Parsons. Both forced field goals, and Succop missed one of the tries.
Fournette had 40 of the 79 yards on the drive that ended with Brady's five-yard scoring pass to Evans for a 19-3 lead.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said after the game Prescott needs surgery for a fracture near the thumb on his throwing hand and will miss multiple weeks, a season-altering blow for the defending NFC East champs.
A rough night for Prescott got worse after his right hand struck a defender when throwing a pass in the fourth quarter. He was checked on the sideline before jogging to the locker room.
The latest injury came almost two years after the compound fracture of Prescott's right ankle on the same field, a gruesome injury that ended his 2020 season in Week 5.
|Buccaneers 0-3 Cowboys
|Bret Maher 51-yard field goal
|Buccaneers 3-3 Cowboys
|Ryan Succop 44-yard field goal
|Buccaneers 6-3 Cowboys
|Ryan Succop 38-yard field goal
|Buccaneers 9-3 Cowboys
|Ryan Succop 29-yard field goal
|Buccaneers 12-3 Cowboys
|Ryan Succop 47-yard field goal
|Buccaneers 19-3 Cowboys
|Tom Brady five-yard TD pass to Mike Evans (extra point)
Cowboys owner, Jerry Jones: "It was a tremendously disappointing way for us to start the year. Everybody is disappointed about that. I'm particularly disappointed for our fans.
"Dak will be out for a little while. We'll be dealing with that, as well, so this is a really tough night for the Cowboys and a really surprising night. Of course, it really adds to it there right at the end to lose him for several weeks."
Cowboys quarterback, Dak Prescott: "Yeah, it's very disappointing, but injuries happen. Can't necessarily control it. Just unfortunate.
"Obviously going to miss some time and not be there for my team. And that's what hurts more than more than anything, especially after the start that we just put out there. Want to be able to respond and not necessarily having that opportunity for several weeks. Yeah, it's unfortunate, but I'll do what I've always done. Any time adversity comes, take on it, take it on head first and I'll give my best and I'm sure I'll come out of this thing better."
The first Monday Night Football of the season is here, and it's a revenge game with Russell Wilson travelling back to take on the Seattle Seahawks.
The action is live on Sky Sports NFL from 1am on Tuesday, September 13.
Next up for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is a trip to division rivals New Orleans Saints next Sunday at 6pm, while the Dallas Cowboys take on AFC champions Cincinnati Bengals at home.
Sky Sports NFL is your dedicated channel for NFL coverage through the season - featuring a host of NFL Network programming. Don't forget to follow us on skysports.com/nfl, our Twitter account @SkySportsNFL & Sky Sports - on the go!