Home of the Dragon was successful for some who’re followers of Recreation of Thrones. The Dallas Cowboys’ win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was successful for nearly each fan in Cowboys nation. Each contained an effort to slay dragons.
Whereas the dragons weren’t in bodily type for the Cowboys, they had been actually ready for them coming into Wild Card weekend. Dallas has not received on the highway because the 1992 season, they’ve by no means crushed Tom Brady, and there have been a couple of curses across the navy jerseys and enjoying on grass. All of these had been conquered in a matter of 60 minutes.
None of that might be potential and not using a complete group effort, however these ten Cowboys stood above the remainder to assist punch the ticket heading to San Francisco.
Right here is the roster energy rating after the Cowboys’ win over the Buccaneers.
10. Tyler Biadasz, C
The minute Tyler Biadasz exited the Thursday evening matchup with the Tennessee Titans, his absence was felt. The Cowboys weren’t themselves on offense for the remainder of that recreation, and it carried over into the season finale in opposition to the Washington Commanders.
In coaching camp, there have been questions on why there was no competitors for Biadasz because the beginning middle. As soon as once more, the teaching workers proved to be smarter than the lots. Biadasz has elevated his play and has mounted most of the issues plaguing him up to now.
Defensive deal with Vita Vea beat him as much as begin the sport, however give plenty of credit score to Biadasz for doing all he might getting back from a excessive ankle sprain. Don’t overlook how he additionally helps test the protections on the line and helped neutralize Tampa Bay’s cross rush.
9. Tony Pollard, RB
No query that giving the ball extra to Tony Pollard provides Dallas the most effective likelihood for a deep playoff run. He completed the sport with 77 yards on 15 carries and had explosive runs to arrange the Cowboys’ offense within the pink zone.
The most important criticism from the playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers a season in the past was that Kellen Moore by no means acquired the ball to both CeeDee Lamb or Tony Pollard. Outdoors of Lamb, No. 20 is probably the most explosive participant the Cowboys have on offense.
With Pollard getting extra touches than Ezekiel Elliott in opposition to the Bucs, Moore is keen to vary his methods and do what works finest. If Dallas can beat the 49ers on Sunday, Pollard will must be the featured again.
8. Tyron Smith, RT
Tyron Smith switching to proper deal with exhibits that even future Corridor of Fame gamers can look human too. Smith has undoubtedly wanted an adjustment interval to get re-acclimated with a place he hasn’t performed since 2011, however his tape in opposition to Tampa Bay may need been his finest all season.
Dak Prescott performed nice, however it was solely potential with the assistance of his offensive line, which is why a couple of of these names are listed right here. The eighth spot was both going to be for Zack Martin or Smith. Each deserve the spot, however Tyron Smith will get the sting merely for enjoying out of place and displaying his finest model when it mattered most within the playoffs.
Nick Bosa tends to maneuver across the defensive position and might be dealing with each Smith’s on the deal with place. Coming off his finest recreation of the season, followers ought to really feel assured that Tyron can deal with something the 49ers’ protection throws at him.
7. Isreal Mukuamu, S
The next two names showing on the highest ten record go hand-in-hand with one another. Isreal Mukuamu has developed into a greater participant as a result of he has a mentor like Jayron Kearse.
Mukuamu within the slot was the protection’s best-kept secret. Dan Quinn talked about how he was nonetheless making an attempt to determine the most effective method on the cornerback place after shedding Jourdan Lewis and Anthony Brown. Quinn determined to make Trayvon Mullen and Nahshon Wright inactive for the sport and implement a heavy security scheme.
Kearse or Mukuamu would slide right down to the slot nook place shifting DaRon Bland and Trevon Diggs to the skin corners. The previous sixth-round draft decide has expertise enjoying the cornerback place in faculty at South Carolina and informed Jerry Jones he might be the most effective on the group. The best way Mukuamu dealt with receiver Chris Godwin, it’s robust to argue with him.
6. Jayron Kearse, S
Outdoors of Micah Parsons and Diggs, Jayron Kearse is an MVP of the Cowboys’ protection. Not solely does Quinn belief him to assist make the calls and get everybody lined up, however he brings an angle the remainder of the group feeds off of.
His interception of Tom Brady within the endzone helped change the sport for Dallas. After the Cowboys scored, the Bucs had been marching down the sector, hoping to take a 7-6 lead. With strain baring down on Brady, he threw the ball away however didn’t see Kearse place himself to make the interception.
He left the sport with a knee sprain, but according to Kearse, it doesn’t sound too critical. The Cowboys’ protection matched up effectively in opposition to nice receivers like Godwin, Mike Evans, and Julio Jones. The 49ers have a good quicker squad combined in with George Kittle. If wholesome, Kearse will probably be relied on to gradual them down.
5. Leighton Vander Esch, MLB
Leighton Vander Esch is the hammer for the Dallas protection. Having him again from harm made a large distinction on the linebacker place. Visually, Vander Esch seems very snug in Quinn’s scheme and makes performs everywhere in the subject.
He led the group in tackles with 9 however proved dependable in cross protection as effectively. The Wolf Hunter had two cross breakups, considered one of them being in opposition to receiver Julio Jones within the endzone, which he might have intercepted.
The Buccaneers have struggled to run the ball all season, however the Cowboys have struggled to cease the run. The presence of Vander Esch erased that risk and compelled Brady to throw 66 instances. No. 55 had a profession recreation the final time Dallas performed the 49ers, so hopefully, one thing about this opponent raises the play of Vander Esch much more.
4. Tyler Smith, LT
Discuss a full-circle second for rookie Tyler Smith. As soon as Tryon Smith went down earlier than the season opener, Tyler Smith was thrown into the hearth to be Prescott’s blindside blocker. Week 1 was in opposition to the Buccaneers, and regardless that Tyler Smith had some moments, it was an eye-opening expertise for the rookie.
Flash ahead to the playoffs; Smith needed to sit back outdoors after Jason Peters went down with a reported hip injury. The offensive line play was higher as soon as he was again in his traditional place. Smith was proven throwing linebackers round like ragdolls and had the athleticism to drag and block downfield, an space during which Peters struggles.
The blinking pink mild for Smith on Sunday will probably be Nick Bosa. The All-Professional defensive finish has been brutal this season for the NFL’s finest left tackles. His pure power was the one factor circling on Smith’s scouting report coming from Tulsa. I believe that will probably be on full show within the Bay space.
3. Dalton Schultz, TE
Dalton Schultz is to Dak Prescott what Jason Witten was to Tony Romo. It couldn’t have been extra true in opposition to the Bucs. Kellen Moore exploited the Tampa Bay protection by utilizing Schultz in numerous methods. The primary play on the Cowboys’ first drive of the third quarter was a 26-yard cross to Schultz down the sideline, which jump-started one other scoring drive.
Schultz was the group’s main receiver with seven catches for 95 yards and two touchdowns. His first rating was a seam route he and Prescott have linked on all through their careers. The second was even higher and confirmed how a lot belief the 2 have in one another. Prescott held out for so long as he might till Schultz might make himself open and threw a dart in there for six. That doesn’t occur accidentally. That’s chemistry.
After lacking a couple of video games this season, Schultz has 4 landing receptions in three video games. He’s getting scorching on the proper time and will make some cash this offseason if he continues the manufacturing within the playoffs.
2. Micah Parsons, DE/LB
Micah Parsons has appeared beat up down the ultimate stretch of the season. Nonetheless, the Lion talked about how “the common season is cool…However that is the place legends are made,” when speaking in regards to the postseason.
Parsons appeared wholesome and was a nightmare for Brady and the Buccaneers’ offensive line. Deal with Donovan Smith struggled with Parsons of their Week 1 matchup and couldn’t give you something this time round to cease him. Operating again Leonard Fournette tried to chip Parsons on a rush up the center, however Fournette simply bounced off of Parsons and nonetheless utilized strain to Brady, forcing one other throw within the filth.
The one time quarterback Brock Purdy has ever confronted a participant like Parsons is in observe in opposition to Bosa. Nonetheless, Bosa isn’t making an attempt to sack Purdy. Parsons will probably be a special animal and will finish Purdy’s Cinderella story if he isn’t cautious.
1. Dak Prescott, QB
Critics had been writing off Dak Prescott, and he determined to not write again. As a substitute, he decided to show over 30 million people that he’s higher than the playoffs Twelfth-ranked quarterback.
That was Prescott’s legacy second. He has not had the most effective luck within the playoffs, with the protection letting him down in opposition to Inexperienced Bay at dwelling in 2016 and Los Angeles in 2018. Prescott was hit and miss in opposition to the 49ers final 12 months and had just one playoff win below his belt.
All of the noise was silenced in opposition to the Bucs when No. 4 accomplished 25 of 33 passes for 305 yards, 4 touchdowns, and one speeding landing. Prescott was enjoying with focus and willpower to vary the narrative and win it doesn’t matter what stood in his approach.
Week 1 and Week 18 had been his two worst performances of the season in opposition to the Buccaneers and the Washington Commanders. Historical past didn’t present confidence that he would buck the pattern, however there ought to have been confidence within the quarterback as a competitor.
The success of the Cowboys’ Lombardi Trophy run will probably be immediately tied to how Prescott performs.