2. Defense made Tom Brady miserable
With three minutes left in the third quarter, the Cowboys defense — sorry the Cowboys’ “soft” defense, as so many analysts put it in the second half of the season — held Tom Brady to 15-of-33 for 125 yards and an interception. His 43.1 passer rating was lower than his age (45).
How rattled was Brady? Well, he threw his first red zone interception as a Buccaneer in the second quarter on pass he clearly meant to throw out of the back of the end zone. When do you see Brady make a mistake like that?
We’re not going to take a huge victory lap here, as the Buccaneers offense has been a mess all season, but what do the haters have to say?
We heard all week that Dallas would have trouble slowing down the GOAT in the playoffs, the cornerback room contending with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, and the run defense (a weakness for most of the year) stopping the 228-pound freight train that is Leonard Fournette in the trenches.
By the end of the third quarter, Dan Quinn’s group pitched a shutout. Fournette and Rachaad White combined for less than 60 yards on 4.3 YPC. Godwin found success underneath, but the Cowboys were clearly willing to give that up.
The big takeaway, though, is Brady’s miserable effort. The narrative all week was Brady’s undefeated record (7-0) against the Cowboys coming into the night. “The Bucs stink, but anything is possible with playoff Brady.”
We all heard it, and Dallas shut them up in emphatic fashion.