In a thrilling way to kick off the NFL season, the Bucs and Cowboys went back-and-forth in a high-scoring affair. This one went down to the last second, as the Bucs won 31-29. The game had a dramatic ending with Ryan Succop’s game-winning 36-yard field goal, but the contest was quite sloppy as well. The Bucs made numerous mistakes, turning the ball over four times.  The victory was fun, but there’s a lot to clean up before next Sunday’s game.

Here’s who was most disappointing from Week 1:

CB Jamel Dean

Dean couldn’t step up after Sean Murphy-Bunting left the game with an elbow injury. He was torched plenty of times when in single coverage, particularly by Michael Gallup. One of the times that Dean was responsible for guarding Amari Cooper, he was beaten in the end zone for a Dallas touchdown.

It wasn’t just that he was losing in coverage either. Dean was penalized three times in the first half as well. One was for a pass interference, and the other two occurred on the same play when Dean was flagged for interference and a facemask. In the game’s most crucial moments late in the fourth quarter, Dallas picked on Dean again, who couldn’t corral CeeDee Lamb on a short catch. The Cowboys receiver sprinted down the field to get in range to kick the go-ahead field goal.

Dean finished the night with nine tackles and a pass breakup.

CB Sean Murphy-Bunting 

I hate to put him on this list after he suffered a bad injury, but it wasn’t pretty when Murphy-Bunting was in the game. He was beaten by CeeDee Lamb for the Cowboys’ first touchdown of the game. Overall, the entire secondary really struggled against a top tier receiver group in Dallas. Hopefully Murphy-Bunting will be healthy enough to return this season.

RB Ronald Jones II

Right after the Bucs got a swing of momentum after a missed field goal, Jones gave it right back to the Cowboys, fumbling on the next play. With a short field, the Cowboys scored a touchdown and remained in the game. We didn’t see Jones again, as Bruce Arians sent a clear message that he won’t settle for those mistakes this year. Jones had just four touches in the game.

RB Leonard Fournette

If Jones’ fumble was bad, Fournette’s drop that lead to an interception for  Tom Brady was even worse. The screen pass was perfectly placed for Fournette, who had a caravan of offensive linemen in front of him. Somehow the ball bobbled off of Fournette’s hands and went for an interception for the Cowboys, giving them their second turnover in as many plays. While Fournette picked up the slack later in the game, drops like that one continually derail the Bucs offense. He finished the game with nine rushes for 32 yards and five catches for 27.

WR Chris Godwin

Tampa Bay had four turnovers in the game to just one by Dallas, though technically one came on a Hail Mary. It’s long been stated that the Bucs can win any game if they don’t beat themselves, and they almost gave this one away. The other turnovers were already mentioned, but as good as Chris Godwin was, his fumble at the end of the game was egregious. You have to know the situation and hold onto the ball there. It looked as if Godwin saw the defender coming, which makes it even worse.  Godwin also dropped two other balls on the night, including a gorgeous deep ball from Brady that would have put the Bucs inside the Cowboys five yard line.

Bucs Penalties

The Bucs didn’t do themselves any favors when it came to the referees. Tampa Bay was penalized 11 times for 106 yards. They literally went a football field’s length with mistakes. To make matters worse, they allowed five first downs via penalties to Dallas, to only one for the Bucs. By no means are the Bucs an undisciplined team, but we’ve seen in the past how committing too many penalties can cost them a game or two.

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About the Author: Matt Matera

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Spitfire
1 month ago

I’m counting of the mistakes in this game were just rust and that wasn’t our best performance by far.

NaplesFan2.0
1 month ago

For all those Leonard Fournette apologists, this was a terrible game. I am so tired of seeing this guy bobble or drop so many passes. Gio needs to play every snap of the year.

chefboho
Reply to  NaplesFan2.0
1 month ago

My issue is that Rojo fumbles and never sees the filed again, yet fournette bobbles a ball that was soft ball tossed to him for an int and still plays. Rojo can’t win on this team.

Naplesfan
Reply to  chefboho
1 month ago

The ball was not caught, not “bobbled”. Receivers could not catch such a ball thrown high, flat, and hard 85% of the time. RoJo’s fumble was purely on him alone, not securing the ball. And he couldn’t run for shit either.

RoJo can win as long as he keeps beating himself.

chefboho
Reply to  Naplesfan
1 month ago

Please give me a break, that was a soft toss to Fournette. Anyone without stones hands could’ve caught that. I’ll take Rojo over fournette nine times out of ten but I know you’re a homer for playoff Lenny

fredster
Reply to  chefboho
1 month ago

Agree 100% and just watched it several times to verify. Was lob with arc not high hard bullet. It hit his hands with no need to jump etc. Some people make up shit to push a narrative. Lol

fredster
Reply to  Naplesfan
1 month ago

Omg such BS! I just rewatched that play real time and slow mo several times. It was not Hard throw, and it was not a bucket it actually was thrown with nice we to it. The pass that hit Fournette in the hands. It was slightly high but in your book it has to be on numbers every time or it’s the QB’s fault? So stupid.

drdneast
Reply to  chefboho
1 month ago

I have to agree with you although Lenny was taken out of the game for a whlie after the drop, he wasn’t given a permanent spot on the bench.

NaplesFan2.0
Reply to  chefboho
1 month ago

I agree chef. Classic BA or Leftwich to bench after a fumble, but then the rb directly responsible for Brady’s int doesn’t get benched? Not sure about the logic there.

toofamiliar17
Reply to  chefboho
1 month ago

It has consistently seemed as if RoJo is held to a higher standard than just about any other player on this team. If he drops a pass or misses a protection or fumbles the ball, does ANYTHING wrong just once, he sits for the rest of the game. And you’re right – literally within a few plays of that, Fournette predictably botches an easy reception with ample room to run ahead of him and it turns into a gift of an INT, and it’s like it never happened for Arians. Jones is expected to be perfect to be able to… Read more »

Naplesfan
Reply to  NaplesFan2.0
1 month ago

For all those Fournette haters like you, you’re full of shit.

That ball was nearly impossible to catch – thrown high, flat, high speed, no touch at all. Then Fournette clearly bailed Brady out on his worst throw of the night, a pass that SHOULD have been intercepted. Fournette kept the chains moving on the last two drives including the winning drive with a combination of pass catches and runs.

You are completely blinded by your stupid Fournette hate, as is typical here at PR.

Last edited 1 month ago by Naplesfan
drdneast
Reply to  Naplesfan
1 month ago

Easy with the language and your own hate Naplesfan. Or as Sgt. Hulka said, “Relax, Francis.”

NaplesFan2.0
Reply to  drdneast
1 month ago

LOL.

1bucfanjeff
Reply to  Naplesfan
1 month ago

Naplesfan, you’re wrong. Here’s your high-heater, impossible-to-catch pass. <insert eye-roll emoji here>
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tt5HkVGvWCE

toofamiliar17
Reply to  1bucfanjeff
1 month ago

Yea, painting that ball as uncatchable is just disingenuous to the point of being stupid.

NaplesFan2.0
Reply to  Naplesfan
1 month ago

Such a typical answer from you Naples. If ANYONE says anything remotely close to the truth about Lenny, you make sure you are right there to defend him. Im 100% certain he doesn’t need your help, but thank you for classifying yourself as a LF apologist. He has been, and will be, a subpar runner and receiver, and judging by his free agent market, the rest of the league agreed. Sorry to trash your man crush lol.

toofamiliar17
Reply to  Naplesfan
1 month ago

One thing for sure – his catch on that ball Brady threw while falling down was great, no question. It doesn’t nearly make up for gifting the other team with an INT due to his stone hands on a much more easily catchable pass, but that was an excellent play, no doubt.

Fournette is still trash overall, and Jones is better.

Captain Sly
1 month ago

I agree with the list mostly, I feel like you’re a little too critical of SMB and RoJo. 1st of all those were darts thrown by Dak, there aren’t five qb’s in the world who can stand in the pocket and make those throws. 2nd that RoJo fumble was forced by “the peanut punch” executed perfectly, name any RB in the league and he would’ve fumbled on that play. So sometimes you tip your cap to your opponent. Cheers

drdneast
Reply to  Captain Sly
1 month ago

I like RoJo but if you carry the ball right, the peanut punch doesn’t work.

DT25
Reply to  drdneast
1 month ago

somewhat agree in most situations, but low to the ground like he was, it’s much easier to execute the Peanut punch. Gravity and the natural instinct to use your arms to brace your fall tends to force the ball away from the body. It’s why Peanut was so damn good at it…he was a master of timing more than anything. Either way, think it’s dumb RoJo got permanently benched for that while Fournette continues to be absolved for his mistakes and played the very next series.

Joseph
Reply to  DT25
1 month ago

That ball look pretty loose before that punch came in gotta secure that ball especially where they were can’t afford a turnover right there just can’t

toofamiliar17
Reply to  Joseph
1 month ago

I don’t even know what you guys are talking about here lol. Jones was carrying the ball fine. I’m rewatching the play from every angle right now. It’s not loose, away from his body, it’s not gripped in his hand without touching his arm. He was carrying it securely. Lawrence made a play. It happens.

toofamiliar17
Reply to  Captain Sly
1 month ago

Yea, it honestly wasn’t even a “bad” fumble. Jones had the textbook three contact points between the ball and himself – held tightly in his hand, curled up into his bicep, and pressed against his body. Sometimes a defender just makes a play, and Lawrence did a great job taking a full-fledged swing at that ball. It was an impressive punch. There’s really not much a RB can do there, unless you just want him running with two arms wrapped tightly around the football at all times, which we definitely DON’T want, because you can’t run anywhere like that at… Read more »

Theerealdiehl
1 month ago

The holding penalty on Tristan Wirfs was not a hold and the two penalties on Jamel Dean in one play were BS. That was a defensive holding not a PI or face mask. The officiating was pretty good for the most part, but they missed a hold on Vea when he almost sacked Dak. Can’t tackle on offense lol and that was the only way the OL stopped Vea.

Naplesfan
Reply to  Theerealdiehl
1 month ago

Agreed. The refs were clearly zeroing in on the Bucs in the first half, and only started calling penalties on the Cowboys in the second half. Some pretty unfair calls were made.

drdneast
Reply to  Theerealdiehl
1 month ago

I concur. Completly.

Naplesfan
1 month ago

The ball merely touching a receivers hands is not a “drop”. It is just a pass not caught. Sure, it would have been great if Fournette had caught that pass instead of a defender, but that is a very hard pass to catch, being high velocity, flat trajectory, and thrown bullet hard. Few receivers would haul in that pass. Then Matera goes on to throw shade on Fournette for his play even the rest of the game, despite Fournette bailing out Brady on one pass that SHOULD have been an INT, and winning several key pass as well as run… Read more »

Mark Alsott
Reply to  Naplesfan
1 month ago

PR doesn’t “hate” anyone. It’s simply that some people, like yourself, are too immature to handle a critical assessment.
What’s truly ridiculous and offensive is the fact that you can’t seem to handle the truth.

toofamiliar17
Reply to  Naplesfan
1 month ago

Dude this is just absurd lmao. What, you want Brady to underhand soft toss him passes? It was not some fastball high and away. You’re just making crap up here. You sound ridiculous.

1bucfanjeff
Reply to  Naplesfan
1 month ago

Naplesfan, you’re wrong. Here’s your high-heater, impossible-to-catch pass. <insert eye-roll emoji here>
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tt5HkVGvWCE

surferdudes
1 month ago

The refs were absolutely horrible this whole game. They could’ve called holding on half of Dak’s drop backs. I have to agree how easily Rojo stays in the doghouse. That was a great play by the defender, as was the hit on Godwin. The ball bouncing off Lenny’s hands has to stop by not throwing him the ball. Godwin, and Lenny stayed in the game, but Rojo didn’t? We could’ve killed these guys, instead of killing ourselves. Good news is we have Tom Brady doing what Tom Brady still does best, win football games. I remember the days not long… Read more »

drdneast
1 month ago

This game proved to be a perfect example of why we should have drafted a CB in the second round instead of the quarter pounder we got that is sitting in the warming bin and will be for two or threee years.

NaplesFan2.0
Reply to  drdneast
1 month ago

Lol. Not sure I agree with your quarter pounder sentiment, but I do believe they should have drafted a CB. Carlton Davis was the only CB that looked good in any way last night. That said, I think Licht has afforded himself the ability to take chances. His past few drafts have been great.

scubog
1 month ago

Fickle Season Pass Members: I knew there would be a lot of Cowboys fans in attendance since they rarely play here, but with our stadium being sold out to Bucs season ticket holders, I never expected so many would sell their tickets on-line when it was the first regular season game to celebrate the Super Bowl victory. Pathetic! Of course, those blue clad, star wearing people live right here. Once guy had a Cowboys jersey under his Bucs shirt and did a wardrobe change to display it as soon as the Cowboys went ahead. Not so fast douche-bag! “Root, root… Read more »

jongruden
Reply to  scubog
1 month ago

U can sell those tix for insane amount of money and literally one game could pay for your season tix I’d sell them too lol

Dave
Reply to  scubog
1 month ago

Omg dude, even on TV it was obvious the amount of cowboy fans in attendance. The boos overpowered the cheers when Brady came onto the field for the first time, for warmups. That’s insane.

BucFan circa76
Reply to  scubog
1 month ago

I agree, which is why I no longer buy season passes. Once upon a time, a sold-out Ray Jay stadium was 90% or so Buccaneer fans. Many season ticket holders around us renewed their seats each year but never came to a single game, opting to go the profit route and sell them online to the highest bidder – Buc fans or not. I bought single-game tickets for this one, close to the lower level section we watched so many games, and there was a hoard of Cowboys fans there last night. It made the victory that much more satisfying,… Read more »

Ted in Tampa
1 month ago

Of course #76 Donovan Smith! Last year, he led the Bucs in sacks allowed so it was no surprise when he let a Cowboy run right around him and chop Tompa Bay’s passing arm killing that play. And then leading the entire NFL in penalties last year, Smith was called for illegal procedure (again) in the 4th quarter. The problem is that all through the preseason, Smith’s backup Wells looked worse.

calibucsfan16
1 month ago

Godwin nearly cost them the game. He dropped a touchdown pass, then next drive fumbled on the 1. Thats 14 points right there!
where was Bernard today? I barely saw him.
lastly, can we add Chris Collinsworth to the losers list. Man do the national media love to cowboys.
overall a sloppy game, but that is probably the best O line and receiver group we will face all year! Go Bucs

toofamiliar17
1 month ago

What I’ll say about both Bunting and Dean – I don’t trust or believe in either of them right now, BUT, it should be said, we’re not going to face many (any?) opponents who feature the weapons the Cowboys have at WR. I think both of those guys can be “good enough” type players moving forward. Last night, they were beaten by better players, period. But the guys who were beating them are going to be better than most corners. Davis looked really rough at times last night, too. They have an extremely potent passing attack. We need them both… Read more »

jongruden
1 month ago

I was disappointed in Bucs lack of pressure on qb except for Vea everyone else was a non factor and yes i know Barret had the one sack but pressures weren’t there all game and our secondary is trash and not good enough to cover without a pass rush

arizonajoe
1 month ago

We had a bunch of dropped passes. Godwin had a couple of bad drops, Mike should’ve caught one of the deflected passes, Leonard, and AB dropped one he should’ve had. If we clean this up and not fumble at the four, this game wouldn’t have been close. Getting beat by one of the best receiving corps doesn’t bother me as much as not getting a lot of pressure on the QB. Vita was a monster, and Suh was good. Also, what’s up with all the missed tackles? Devon White missed a few critical tackles. Lots to clean up.

Dave
1 month ago

How LF more than doubled Gio’s targets is absolutely beyond me. How does Gio not get a single target until the last drive? Naturally LF did with his targets, what he always does(5.4 YPR)…..absolutely NOTHING. Every week this season that LF out targets Gio, is a monumental win for the opposing defense

Last edited 1 month ago by Dave
NaplesFan2.0
Reply to  Dave
1 month ago

Smh Dave, I wish I could say you were lying, but this is so true. Good God I am tired of seeing Fournette play hot potato with the football.

Horse
1 month ago

What almost cost us the game? The Defensive scheme for thr DB’s; That’s Coaching.
Second what almost cost the game? Leting the clock go doen past 10 seconds before kicking the FG. That’s coaching.
Everthing else with the players is correctable.