1:00 p.m. ET
Key Coaching Decision #1: (TB ball, trailing 27-13 / fourth-and-2, TB 45 / 15:00 Q4)
Key Coaching Decision #2: (TB ball, trailing 27-13 / fourth-and-1, DAL 16 / 10:25 Q4)
Key Coaching Decision #3: (TB ball, trailing 27-13 / fourth-and-6, DAL 16 / 7:57 Q4)
• Dallas had just scored on two straight drives (10 points) and the Bucs needed to put some points on the board as the game had entered the fourth quarter. They would attempt three fourth-down conversions on the drive that took nearly 10 minutes off the clock.
• Fourth-Down Attempt #1: After the start of the fourth quarter, Jameis Winston threw a short pass to Jacquizz Rodgers for a five-yard gain on fourth down to extend a Bucs drive.
• Fourth-Down Attempt #2: Later, and in Cowboys territory, Winston plunged ahead for a 2-yard gain. However, a defensive delay of game penalty on DeMarcus Lawrence gave the Bucs another fourth down conversion on the drive.
• Fourth-Down Attempt #3: The Bucs’ luck ended on their third fourth-down conversion attempt as a Winston 5-yard scramble left them one yard short of a first down.
• The Bucs held the ball for 17 plays and 73 yards and took 9:35 off the clock and scored no points. This for the most part ended the Bucs’ chances of coming back in the game. They eventually would cut the Cowboys advantage to 27-20.
• The Cowboys clinched the NFC East title with the win over Tampa Bay. It is their second division title in three years. Tampa Bay has now lost three straight games.
• Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston threw for 336 yards and one touchdown on 34 of 48 passing attempts. His efforts were much needed as the Bucs’ running game could not generate much (24 carries for 63 yards) against a stingy Cowboys run defense.
• Tampa Bay’s offense ran 25 more plays (75 to 50) than Dallas and enjoyed an advantage of more than 160 total yards (383 to 232) in the loss.
• Meanwhile, Dak Prescott threw for only 161 yards on 20 of 25 passing attempts. While the Cowboys offense struggled, running back Ezekiel Elliott, the NFL rushing leader, carried the load for the team and finished with 85 rushing yards on 18 carries and had five receptions for 24 yards.
• The Cowboys defensive front may be without one of their core players as defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford left the game on a stretcher and with his neck stabilized.