By: Garrett Ballard
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Dallas Cowboys 19-3 in the opener of the 2022 NFL season. The Bucs’ defense was the difference maker against the Cowboys, with big-name players making big-time plays.
The Cowboys’ offense started out strong, driving all the way down the field on the opening drive, and scoring a field goal. The Cowboys did not score for the rest of the game. Brady and the Buccaneers were reliant on field goals for the majority of the game as well, however.
Defense steps up
The best part of the game for the Buccaneers was not Tom Brady, but the defense. The defense was giving the Cowboys offense no room to breathe all game. Carlton Davis and Jamel Dean held Ceedee Lamb to just two catches, Devin White had two sacks and Antoine Winfield Jr. had a big interception.
“They went out there and made plays,” head coach Todd Bowles said. “They were in sync, and I thought they did a great job.”
A big part of staying in sync as a defensive unit is a good middle linebacker, and White played that role to perfection against the Cowboys. From his two sacks to a near pick-six, White had a complete performance as the defensive backbone.
“It wasn’t just the pass rush, it was the way he executed and ran the defense,” Bowles said, “He was kind of the quarterback out there.”
Injury woes continue for Buccaneers
The Buccaneers had a rough offseason when it comes to injuries, mainly on the offensive line. Unfortunately, the offensive line injuries continued against the Cowboys. Starting left tackle Donovan Smith left the game in the second quarter with an elbow injury and did not return. A third loss on the offensive line means that Tristan Wirfs is currently the lone offensive lineman who played meaningful snaps for the Buccaneers in 2021.
Additionally, starting wide receiver Chris Godwin left the game with a hamstring injury and also did not return. Godwin is coming off a torn ACL and MCL.
Bowles did not have updates for either player post-game.
The Buccaneers will travel to New Orleans next week to play the division rival Saints in their first matchup of the season. The Saints, led by former Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston, are riding high off of a comeback win over the Falcons. The game will be on FOX and will kick off at 1 P.M. Eastern time.