ARLINGTON, Texas – For all of the ups and downs of this season, the Dallas Cowboys have been a fairly good soccer group on their house turf.
Dallas refused to let Tampa Bay construct momentum and the Cowboys made all of the performs they wanted to know a 27-20 victory over the Buccaneers on Sunday at AT&T Stadium.
In doing so, Dallas (9-6) clinched the NFC East title, locked up a playoff berth and completed the common season with a 7-1 report at house. So the Cowboys will play yet one more house recreation this season as they’re going to doubtless host the Seattle Seahawks within the Wild Card spherical of the playoffs in two weeks.
Dallas head coach Jason Garrett preaches specializing in the second and that is what the Cowboys did towards Tampa Bay. Dallas put a sobering 23-Zero loss at Indianapolis the week earlier than behind it, after which did the one factor it wanted to do in outperforming the Bucs (5-10).
“Clearly we needed to come back out right here and get issues completed underneath our will, I assume you possibly can say, not essentially profitable the division or clinching the division or a playoff spot by different groups dropping,” Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott mentioned. “We needed to come back in and guarantee that we secured this factor. We bought it completed this week. It was an ideal group win.”
Though Tampa Bay out-gained Dallas, 383-232, the Cowboys received the turnover battle, 2-Zero, main on to 14 factors.
Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith scooped a fumble by Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston and returned it 69 yards for a landing within the first quarter.
“Their guys are relentlessly chasing the soccer,” Tampa Bay head coach Dirk Koetter mentioned. “Jameis has made a variety of performs like that this 12 months. He is aware of that guys are all the time developing behind him, however he is made a variety of massive performs like that, too. So you’ll be able to’t do this. He is making an attempt to play. He is one step away from making a giant play.”
Defensive finish Randy Gregory, who pressured the fumble that Smith grabbed, recovered one other one on the Bucs’ Four-yard line within the third quarter. Gregory’s restoration led to Prescott’s Four-yard landing cross to Michael Gallup, which put the Cowboys in entrance by 14 late within the third.
The Dallas protection did not precisely shut down Winston and the Bucs’ offense, however the Cowboys had been opportunistic all through and stingy sufficient within the second half as they held Tampa Bay to 7 factors after halftime.
“They are often actually prolific offensively,” Garrett mentioned. “I believe we noticed glimpses of that throughout the recreation. However I believed our guys continued to combat and battle. And the turnovers had been enormous. Randy knocking it out and Jaylon choosing it up and operating it in was clearly an enormous, enormous play within the recreation. After which the opposite one, we get an opportunity to select a fumble up and provides our offense the ball on the Four-yard line moving into.”
The second of fact for the Dallas protection got here when Tampa Bay had a first-and-10 on the Cowboys’ 11, trailing by two touchdowns with many of the fourth quarter remaining. Winston hit operating again Jacquizz Rodgers for a 9-yard achieve to the Dallas 2 on first down. However the Dallas protection stood up there.
Defensive lineman Maliek Collins stuffed Peyton Barber for no achieve on second-and-1. Winston threw incomplete on third-and-1 after which he let the play clock run out dealing with fourth-and-1.
“I do not know what it was,” Winston mentioned. “I simply thought it was fast. … Clearly, I’ve to concentrate on that. I want I had that one again.”
The Bucs quarterback scrambled on fourth-and-six, however got here up a yard quick as Dallas defensive lineman Antwaun Woods wrapped up Winston.
Tampa Bay finally posted a fourth-quarter landing when Winston tossed a 7-yard scoring cross to Mike Evans with 2:05 remaining. However linebacker Leighton Vander Esch recovered the following onside kick try and Dallas ran out the clock.
Prescott had a pedestrian afternoon, finishing 20-of-25 passes for 161 yards with a landing and no interceptions.
Cowboys operating again Ezekiel Elliott produced 85 dashing yards on 18 carries, simply retaining him within the NFL lead with Todd Gurley sitting out Sunday. Elliott additionally caught 5 passes for 24 yards, boosting him over 100 complete yards for the ninth time this season.
Elliott bought round the precise finish for 11 yards on a second-and-Eight play from the Bucs’ 42 late within the fourth quarter, permitting Dallas to expire the clock and rejoice a division title.
Prescott advised reporters that they had been those responsible of giving up on this Cowboys group when it was Three-5 via the primary half of this season.
“We knew all of it alongside,” the Dallas quarterback mentioned. “At Three-5 we knew precisely what we had. We knew the group that we had and we nonetheless know that. There’s a variety of work to be completed. We’re joyful for tonight, we will rejoice it tonight the precise means, however then get proper again to work.”
NOTES: Cowboys defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford left the sport on a stretcher within the first minute of the competition with a neck damage. He was on the turf for a number of minutes after taking a shoulder to the neck space. The damage was initially dominated a pressure and Crawford was capable of transfer his legs and arms as he was leaving the sphere. He was taken to an space hospital for analysis.
Garrett mentioned throughout his postgame information convention that Crawford had a scan and an MRI and each had been destructive. Crawford was reportedly going house from the hospital about the identical time that the sport ended.