Facing Tom Brady, the Buccaneers and decades of playoff frivolity, the Cowboys aim to kill the Dragons

Frisco, Texas – DeMarcus Lawrence paused.

Two seconds, four seconds, then six seconds.

A moment of suspense followed: Dallas Cowboys Defensive end with a proven track record of guiding billboard material hazards that tempt the seven-time Super Bowl champ Tom Brady?

Instead, Lawrence said, “We know how good Brady is.” “Don’t worry about all the things he can do….just worry about us and get our jobs done.”

The pattern was evident throughout the Cowboys locker room this week before Wild card comma visit to Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Dragon admitted. aim to kill him. Don’t oversell it.

In seven contests against Brady, the Cowboys have never been victorious.

Twenty-eight teams have defeated Brady. Two others hired him. Only the Cowboys (0-7) and Vikings (0-6) have never won because of him.

And the bulk of this season’s Cowboys roster, which opened each of the past two seasons against the Buccaneers, is keenly aware of how the 45-year-old can finish, neutralizing opponent weaknesses and baiting errors.

So despite the Cowboys’ four-game record advantage which no doubt contributes to their favored 2.5-point situation, Per BetMGM, the Cowboys face either a challenge or an opportunity when they arrive in Tampa for a game on Monday at 8:15 p.m. ET. They’ll finally exorcise a demon – or for the eighth time in franchise history, they’ll fall short.

“Brady is a worker,” Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said on Dallas radio station 105.3. “We’re playing Tampa Bay, the team [but] I know it exists and I respect that.

“It gives us a challenge to do something we’ve never done before – and that beat Tom Brady.”

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady is 7-0 against the Cowboys in his career.  Can Dallas finally end a losing streak in Monday's playoff tilt?  (Photo by Cooper Neal/Getty Images)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady is 7-0 against the Cowboys in his career. Can Dallas finally end a losing streak in Monday’s playoff tilt? (Photo by Cooper Neal/Getty Images)

The truth about this match

The following three premises can coexist: the Cowboys are mostly seeking to advance past the wild-card round, win a playoff game for the first time since the 2018 season, and win a road playoff since (the writer checks the notes to revisit the history before it was born) of the 1992 season.

The Cowboys will play the Buccaneers with 48 active roster players, all of whom could smash Dallas’ chances.

And if the Cowboys get the elusive franchise over one of the best NFL players of all time, this victory will bring even more juice. Perhaps such momentum could propel the Cowboys into the postseason.

Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy has confirmed that his roster “takes no responsibility” for the franchise’s first five losses, adding that the 2021 and 2022 games could serve as a very useful tutorial.

But he also knows that Brady’s playoff reputation precedes him. So why not lean back a little?

“You have to take these chances,” McCarthy said. “He’s clearly one of the most decorated players of our generation and possibly in the history of the National Football League, and that speaks volumes about what he’s accomplished.

“I know as competitors, we are all excited about this opportunity to compete against Tom.”

The Cowboys may need to get past the regular season format in order to be victorious.

Cowboy keys disable brady

What exactly should the Cowboys show the Pirates to advance past the wild card run and eliminate a quarterback who has led 35 postseason wins?

On defense, players must raise their mental game to anticipate and respond quickly. Attacking the inside of the pocket to disrupt the receiver’s running back timing is likely to be more effective than trying to rush from nearly the end.

why? Brady’s average release time of 2.45 seconds is the fastest in the NFL. Unless it is disabled immediately, the ball may be gone.

“He’s executing at the speed of light, almost,” said the Cowboys defensive tackle Osa Odigizwa, who would be among those accused of slashing Brady’s pocket. “So you need to be able to line up, get the call, and make sure your mind moves quickly to execute at a high level.”

The Cowboys’ defense has threatened this season even as its effectiveness has waned lately. But Dallas’ two major strengths—the fast end and fast food—don’t bode well against the Buccaneers’ resume.

The Cowboys have produced a sack on 9.82% of an opponent’s pass attempts, second only to Philadelphia Eagles. Meanwhile, Brady was sacked in a league-low 2.91% of attempts—despite his injuries often hitting the offensive line.

No team has more takeaways than the Cowboys 33. But no quarterback who has started every game has fewer fumbles than Brady’s five (Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is tied), and only two quarterbacks have attempted 120. At least this season they’ve thrown fewer interceptions. Much of Brady’s rate of 1.2%.

“Normally, a quarterback might take a moment to run into a lead,” said Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. “Knowing instantly where he’s going, that kind of speed mentally and physically… decisive where he goes with the ball.” [is challenging]. “

Brady’s two favorite targets, the receivers, benefited Chris Goodwin And Mike Evans Each exceeds 1,000 yards. The Cowboys expect to be tested in the secondary after two of their top three players suffered season-ending injuries. Pro Bowl Cornback Trevon Diggs It is expected to install the right rear hatch. But on the left and in the slot, the Cowboys’ options range from rookie DaRon Bland to just-signed veteran Xavier Rhodes, options that Brady could be tempted by inexperience with the game or with the Cowboys’ playbook.

Beware of Brady’s chances if he chooses this path.

“If you make mistakes with a guy like that, he certainly takes advantage,” Diggs said.

Cowboys” no. one goal ‘

By most accounts, the Cowboys are bringing a much more talented roster to Monday night’s competition. They’re bringing in a more consistent product (though not quite) than Tampa has delivered this season. The Bucs make the playoffs via a series of fourth quarter comebacks and overtime.

Cowboys could get upset from that formula. They know no game has ever gone over against Brady, and McCarthy praises his discipline in two-minute drills and perimeter ball placement, while Dallas is safe. Jaron Kerse He explained how Brady consistently did a “great job of owning the moment” in clutch situations.

A Dallas loss would jeopardize the successful aura of the Cowboys’ second straight 12-win season, further confirming theories that the Cowboys under Jerry Jones could not generate postseason momentum. McCarthy and quarterback Dak Prescott, too You can expect an audit. Too often in the past quarter-century, Dallas has made the playoffs only to stumble through the biggest moments.

The defensive challenge is steep, as Quinn reminds players that the Buccaneers’ playbook volume is up and that the plays they’re likely to see from identical formations can muddy their prognosis. Being careful to bluff, while quickly diagnosing which quarterback is likely to tackle more quickly, is a balancing act that defenders will need to master.

Oh, and while they’re at it, remember that this game is about more than just beating Brady.

or is it?

“Brady was just the quarterback,” Keers said. “How far do I want to beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? I want to beat them.” until far away bad. I want to defeat them until far away bad. I want to win.

“Here’s goal #1: I don’t care how it happens, I just want to win a wild card game.”

Follow Jori Epstein of Yahoo Sports on Twitter @employee

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