The 2021 season began on Thursday night, and it was a night to celebrate and honor the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The NFL wanted to feature another prominent team in Week 1, and the Dallas Cowboys were a pretty obvious choice.
2020 was a miserable season for the Dallas Cowboys, but that is becoming the norm for “America’s Team.” A season-ending injury to Dak Prescott gave the Cowboys a massive excuse a year ago, and there was plenty of hype and hope with Prescott back under center on Thursday night.
Tampa Bay was able to come from behind and pick up a 31-29 win on Thursday night in a game that was tight throughout. Some NFL fans might think that Dallas had a great performance despite the loss, but that just wasn’t the case.
The Buccaneers were doing everything in their power to give the Dallas Cowboys a chance to win that game, and Dallas was too inept to take advantage. There are no participation trophies handed out in the NFL, and losing in Week 1 has the Cowboys in the last place in the NFC East.
Dallas might be able to claim that it “nearly” beat the defending champions, but it’s pretty clear to see that this team is still a mess. The problems start in the kicking game, but the real problem is on the head coach and the offensive coordinator.
Running back Ezekiel Elliott has just 11 rushing attempts in Week 1, while Dak Prescott threw the football 58 times. That just simply can’t happen, but yet it happened in the season opener.
Elliott was given a ton of money by the Cowboys to set the tone on offense, but they didn’t even give him a chance on Thursday night. Sure the Buccaneers are the best rushing defense in the league, but Dallas Cowboys didn’t even challenge that unit.
Now the Cowboys are going to be without Michael Gallup for an extended period of time, taking away one of the weapons in the passing game. Dallas should be running the football a ton in the coming weeks, but for some reason, the coaching staff doesn’t see things that way.
This Defense is a Problem
While the lackluster performance from the offense in 2020 was given a free pass due to the injury to Prescott, the defense was under fire for its play. That unit was supposed to be much better in 2021, but that simply wasn’t the case in Week 1.
Dallas was able to hold the Buccaneers to just 52 rushing yards in the loss, but Tampa Bay abandoned the run pretty early. Tom Brady and the Bucs put up nearly 380 passing yards on Thursday night, and that included a number of big plays.
The Red Zone defense was non-existent for the Cowboys, and they were even given a reprieve when the Buccaneers fumbled at the goal line late. The NFC East does not have an explosive offensive team, but the Cowboys’ defense might make some of those teams look like it this season.