NFL football is back! We got a real treat on Thursday evening, too. Dak Prescott and Tom Brady duked it out for four quarters, but the 22-year veteran got the last laugh with a two-minute drive to set up Tampa Bay for a field goal to take the dub. Dallas’ performance was nothing to be ashamed of, though. Dak and company kept it a lot closer than many expected, even if they didn’t get the result they wanted in the win/loss column.

There were a ton of storylines from the game, both positive and negative for the Cowboys. Here is a handful that stood out the most.

Dak is back & better than ever

There was no easing Dak Prescott back into action. He threw the ball 58 (58!) times. His 42 completions went for 403 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception. The interception arguably should’ve been caught by CeeDee Lamb as well. The Cowboys’ play calling didn’t use Prescott’s legs too much in his first game back from injury, not too much surprise there, though. They’re gonna be as careful with him as they can be, but they’re also gonna let run the offense through his arm. They know it’s their best chance for wins.

CeeDee Lamb is extremely dynamic, but the drops must improve

You can tell that it is not an enjoyable experience for defenders when CeeDee gets the football. He’s as slippery as just about any receiver in the league after-the-catch, and he showed that on Thursday night. There is only one thing that continues to hinder Lamb consistently. Those would be the drops.

He had eight of them in his rookie campaign last year, and his most costly one last night turned into an interception for Tampa Bay. Lamb will continue to be an offensive piece that defenses must game-plan around, but the drops have to decrease in order for the Dallas offense to play up to its potential. Regardless, he always makes some absolutely electric plays. This one was huge in the clutch last evening.

The pass-rush has to create more pressure

Cowboys fans are probably pretty happy with the defense’s performance against the Bucs. It had some blips here and there, but it certainly showed improvement from a season ago.  The pass-rush needs to take another step for it to truly become a well-rounded unit. At the moment, they don’t have the depth in the secondary to make up for a lack of pressure up front. Don’t be surprised if defensive coordinator Dan Quinn dials up some unique ways to get to the QB in weeks to come.

Kellen Moore is one of the best offensive minds in the league

Some folks’ jaws hit the floor when they saw how much Dak Prescott was throwing the ball last night. If it ain’t broke – don’t fix it though, right? It was working, and the Cowboys offense was constantly peppering the Buccaneers secondary. Moore knows his QB and his health, and he was confident that Dak could handle it. He certainly did. Moore called a phenomenal game against a top defense in the NFL.

It’ll be interesting to see how the offense evolves going forward, but it looks like Moore is pushing all the right buttons with his weapons. Don’t be shocked if he’s a young head coach candidate by season’s end.

The secondary is thin, but Trevon Diggs looks the part

At times, coverage and tackling on the back-end was touch and go. Overall, the defense did fairly well limiting one of the best receiving trios in the league, especially in the second half. Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown had solid games, but there’s only so much you can do against those types of talents.

Their best work was on Mike Evans, and much of that came from second-year CB Trevon Diggs. If Diggs continues this kind of play, he will give the secondary some much-needed stability. It’s a newly assembled and youthful unit that will look to improve with more reps.

The Cowboys didn’t get the win, but they showed the world and themselves that they have a lot of potential this season. They’ll look to get in the win column in Week 2 against the Chargers.

 

Featured Image via USA TODAY-Sports