DALLAS — The Dallas Cowboys have once again earned a primetime spot to open a new season.
A year removed from playing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to kickoff the 2021 season in the league’s Thursday night opener, the Cowboys will host Tom Brady and the Bucs in the final game of the Sunday slate on Sunday Night Football.
Fresh off an NFC East title last season, the Cowboys are once again led by Dak Prescott as they will look to avenge last season’s 31-29 loss to the Buccaneers. Where Tampa Bay played Dallas last season as the reigning NFL champions, this season, with Brady reneging on retirement after a divisional round playoff exit, both combatants will be trying to get a leg up in the NFC.
With that in mind, here are 100 facts and stats as the Cowboys get their 2022 campaign underway:
SERIES FACTS (12)
-The Cowboys are 39-22-1 (.629) on Opening Day while the Buccaneers are 19-27 (.413).
-In Week 1’s following seasons wherein the Cowboys made the playoffs, they are 27-6 on Opening Day.
-On Opening Days following years where the Buccaneers made the playoffs, they are 5-6 with a 2-0 record in Opening Days following a Super Bowl win.
-The Cowboys are 15-5 against the Buccaneers all-time with a 12-1 record at home.
-The Cowboys are 12-1 against the Buccaneers at home. Here is the breakdown by venue:
Texas Stadium: 9-1
AT&T Stadium: 3-0
-This is the fourth time that the Cowboys are playing the Buccaneers on Opening Day. Dallas is 1-2 with an 0-1 record at home.
-The Cowboys’ 12-1 home record against the Buccaneers is far and away their best against an NFC South opponent:
-The Buccaneers: 1-12 road record against the Cowboys is also by far their worst among NFC East opponents:
-The Cowboys are 13-8 in Week 1 night games with an 8-1 record at home.
-The Buccaneers are 4-1 in Week 1 night games with a 1-0 record on the road.
-The Buccaneers are 41-114 in the Central Time Zone with a 3-8 record in night games.
-The Buccaneers are 1 of 4 teams that the Cowboys have beaten on multiple occasions in the postseason without reprisals. The other three teams are the Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, and Atlanta Falcons.
DAK PRESCOTT FACTS (15)
-Prescott is 2-1 against the Buccaneers with a 2-0 record at home.
-Prescott is making his seventh Opening Day start, tied with Danny White for the fifth-most in Cowboys history.
-Prescott’s 4,449 passing yards last year were the fourth-most in Cowboys single-season history.
-Prescott’s 4,449 passing yards were the seventh-most in the NFL in 2021.
-Among the top-4 Cowboys single-season passing yards records, Prescott’s 104.2 passer rating was the highest.
-Prescott set the Cowboys’ single-season touchdown passes mark with 37.
-Prescott was tied with Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes for the fourth-most touchdown passes last year with 37.
-Prescott’s 104.2 passer rating was the second-highest among Dallas quarterbacks with at least 10 starts. Only Romo’s 113.2 rating from 2014 (15 games) was higher.
-Prescott’s 104.2 passer rating was the third-highest among starting quarterbacks last year.
-Prescott’s 10 interceptions were the fourth-lowest in Cowboys history among quarterbacks with at least 16 starts. Prescott’s personal best is four from his rookie season (2016).
-Prescott’s 30 sacks last season were the third-most of his career.
-Prescott’s 68.8% completion percentage in 2021 was the highest of his career.
-Prescott’s one rushing touchdown was the lowest of his career in a single-season.
-Prescott was blitzed 187 times last year, the most in the NFL.
-Prescott had the same sack yardage lost as Tom Brady last year: 144.
TOM BRADY FACTS (16)
-The Cowboys are one of four teams Brady has never lost to. The other three teams are the Atlanta Falcons, Minnesota Vikings, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
-Brady’s two interceptions against the Cowboys last year was part of a trio of games wherein he threw two picks. The Cowboys game was the only one in which Tampa Bay prevailed.
-Brady’s 719 pass attempts were the most of his career.
-Brady’s 5,316 passing yards led the NFL.
-Brady benefited from 2,554 yards after the catch last year, the second-most in the NFL.
-Brady was tied with Derek Carr and Joe Burrow for the ninth-most intended air yards per pass attempt at 8.1.
-Brady’s 67.5% completion percentage was the ninth-highest in the NFL among starting quarterbacks.
-Brady’s 43 passing touchdowns last year was the third time in his career that he has thrown 40-plus touchdowns.
-Brady’s 43 passing touchdowns were the most in the NFL.
-Brady’s 102.1 passer rating was the eighth-highest in his career last year.
-Brady’s 102.1 passer rating was the seventh-highest in the NFL last year.
-Brady was tied with Justin Herbert for the third-most game-winning drives last year with five.
-Brady had 32 of his passes dropped last year, the fourth-most in the NFL.
-Brady led the NFL with 531 “on target” throws.
-Brady had 2.3 seconds of pocket time last year, tied for the fifth-lowest in the league.
-Brady was blitzed 176 times last year, the fourth-most in the NFL.
EZEKIEL ELLIOTT FACTS (10)
-Elliott’s 1,002 rushing yards were the seventh-most in the NFL in 2021.
-Among running backs with at least 200 carries, Elliott’s 1,002 rushing yards were the lowest among the seven such rushers.
-Elliott’s 593 rushing yards before contact were the fifth-most in the league.
-Elliott’s 58.9 rushing yards per game were by far the fewest of his career in a single-season.
-Elliott was tied with Derrick Henry and Jalen Hurts for the sixth-most rushing touchdowns with 10.
-All of Elliott’s rushing touchdowns came inside the red zone, which was also the sixth-most in the league.
-Elliott’s 10 rushing touchdowns were the third-most of his career in a single-season.
-Elliott’s 122 rushing yards inside the red zone were tied with James Conner for the sixth-most in the league.
-Elliott’s 237 rushing attempts were the seventh-most in the NFL in 2021.
-Elliott had 11 carries for 33 yards against the Buccaneers in last season’s Week 1 loss. It was 1 of 6 games (playoffs included) wherein Elliott had fewer than 40 yards rushing. Dallas was 1-5 in those games.
MIKE MCCARTHY FACTS (3)
-McCarthy is 9-6 in Opening Day games with a 6-2 record at home.
-Including the postseason, McCarthy is 34-35 in prime time games with a 24-8 record at home.
-McCarthy is 32-18-1 in September with a 19-5-1 record at home.
TODD BOWLES FACTS (6)
-Bowles is 3-1 against the NFC East with a 2-0 record on the road.
-Bowles is 1-0 against the Cowboys all-time with a 1-0 record at AT&T Stadium.
-A win would join Bowles with Ray Perkins, Sam Wyche, Greg Schiano, and Dirk Koetter as the only Tampa Bay coaches to win their first game with the franchise.
-Bowles is the only Tampa Bay coach to make his debut in a prime time game.
-Bowles is 2-2 in Opening Day games with a 1-1 record on the road.
-Bowles is 9 for 18 on challenges during his head coaching career.
BROADCAST FACTS (5)
-The Cowboys are about to play in their 188th prime time TV game, playoffs included. They are 102-85 thus far.
-Dallas is 29-25 on NBC Sunday Night Football, including playoff games and NFL Specials.
-Dallas is 7-5 when Mike Tirico calls their games.
-The Cowboys are 30-26 when Cris Collinsworth does color commentary for their games.
-On KXAS, the NBC affiliate for Dallas-Fort Worth, the Cowboys are an all-time 56-40, including simulcast cable games from 1987-90.
RON TORBERT FACTS (12)
-This week’s referee is Ron Torbert. The Cowboys have a 3-4 record in games he officiates:
2015 – CAR, 14-33 – L
2016 – NYG, 19-20 – L
2017 – @SF, 40-10 – W
2018 – WAS, 31-23 – W
2019 – GB, 24-34 – L
2020 – WAS, 3-25 – L
2021 – @PHI, 51-26 – W
-Dallas has had fewer penalties 1 of 7 times with Torbert making the calls:
2015 – CAR: 8/53; DAL: 8/40
2016 – NYG: 4/40; DAL: 6/50
2017 – SF: 2/22; DAL: 5/36
2018 – WAS: 4/25; DAL: 4/30
2019 – GB: 9/78; DAL: 11/124
2020 – WAS: 4/30; DAL: 6/49
2021 – PHI: 3/30; DAL: 5/44
-Last season Torbert had the sixth-highest home team winning percentage at .588.
-Last season Torbert had the third-highest percentage of home teams with fewer penalties at .706.
-The Buccaneers are 2-4 with Torbert on the headset:
2014 – @CAR, 17-19 – L
2015 – @ATL, 23-20 – W-OT
2016 – @CRD, 7-40 – L
2016 – ATL, 28-43 – L
2017 – CHI, 29-7 – W
2018 – RAV, 12-20 – L
-Buccaneers have received fewer penalties in 3 of 6 games with Torbert:
2014 – CAR: 4/25; TB: 4/29
2015 – ATL: 11/124; TB: 8/43
2016 – CRD: 3/30; TB: 5/39
2016 – ATL: 6/34; TB: 11/85
2017 – CHI: 8/59; TB: 4/34
2018 – RAV: 8/70; TB: 6/58
-Torbert’s games were tied for the most sacks per game among the 17 referees in 2021 with 5.4.
-Last season, Torbert’s crew was tied for the fourth-highest spotting offensive holding calls per game at 3.1.
-The Cowboys are 1 for 3 on challenges under Torbert while opponents are 1 for 2. Replay Assistant is 1 for 1 with that only call benefiting the Cowboys.
-The Buccaneers have challenged Torbert and are 0 for 1. Opponents are 3 for 4. Replay Assistant has not been a factor.
-Last season Torbert was tied for the third-lowest coaches challenge overturn rate at .273 (3/11).
-Torbert’s crew was tied for the third-highest booth review overturn rate at .750 (6/8) last season.
MISCELLANEOUS FACTS (21)
-The Buccaneers were second in the NFL with 66.2% red zone conversions.
-Tampa Bay had the sixth-most red zone trips with 68.
-The Cowboys were sixth in the league with 63.1% red zone conversions.
-Dallas was tied with Arizona for the seventh-most red zone trips with 65.
-Tampa Bay was tied with the Green Bay Packers for the fifth-best average starting field position in the NFL last year at their own 30.0-yard line.
-The Buccaneers had a better points per drive rate than the Cowboys in 2021. Tampa Bay averaged 2.59 points per drive (third-best) compared to Dallas’ 2.46 (tied with Arizona for eighth-highest).
-Mike Evans’ 14 receiving touchdowns were the second-most in the NFL.
-Evans’ nine red zone receiving touchdowns were tied for fourth-most in the league in 2021.
-Chris Godwin’s 7.0 receptions per game were the third-most in the NFL.
-Godwin’s 25 red zone targets were the fourth-most in the NFL last year.
-Godwin’s 78.8 receiving yards per game were the seventh-most in the league.
-Diggs, Packers cornerback Rasul Douglas, and Buccaneers cornerback Mike Edwards were the only players last season to have three pick-sixes.
-The Cowboys were the only team in the NFL with two players in the top-5, let alone the top-10, in pass breakups with Diggs (21, second) and cornerback Anthony Brown (17, tied for fourth).
-Micah Parsons had the sixth-most sacks in the NFL last year with 13.0.
-Parsons had the third-most tackles for loss last year with 20.
-Parsons was tied with Maxx Crosby and Jonathan Allen for the fourth-most quarterback hits with 30.
-Buccaneers linebacker Shaquil Barrett was 1 of 17 players last year to have at least 10.0 sacks.
-Barrett was also 1 of 19 players to have at least 20 quarterback hits.
-The Cowboys are 3-2 all-time on Sept. 11. Here are the results:
1983 – @Cardinals, 34-17 – W
1994 – Oilers, 20-17 – W
2005 – @SD, 28-24 – W
2011 – @NYJ, 24-27 – L
2016 – NYG, 19-20 – L
-The Buccaneers are 5-2 on Sept. 11. Here are the results:
1980 – RAM, 10-9 – W
1983 – @CHI, 10-17 – L
1988 – @GB, 13-10 – W
1994 – CLT, 24-10 – W
2005 – @MIN, 24-13 – W
2011 – DET, 20-27 – L
2016 – @ATL, 31-24 – W
-The Cowboys have four birthdays to celebrate on Sept. 11:
Tom Landry, head coach, 1960-88 – 9/11/1924
Jim Boeke, OT, 1964-67 – 9/11/1938
Sean Lissemore, DT, 2010-12 – 9/11/1987
Do you think the Cowboys will be able to beat Tom Brady for the first time to open the 2022 season? Share your favorite facts with Mark on Twitter @therealmarklane.
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