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Cowboys 100: Facts and stats for Week 1 matchup against Buccaneers

The Dallas Cowboys open the 2021 season in Tampa where they can make a statement against the reigning Super Bowl champion Buccaneers.

DALLAS — The Dallas Cowboys will begin their quest for a rebound year in 2021 with a trip to Tampa, Florida for Week 1. It is there that they will take on Tom Brady and the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers to kick off the NFL campaign.

The Cowboys will welcome quarterback Dak Prescott back under center while the return of many injured players is expected to propel a high powered offense. The Dallas defense is alleged to be improved, as well. The expectations for the Cowboys is a lengthy run in the NFC playoffs. That all begins in prime time against 2020’s ultimate victors.

With that in mind, here are 100 facts and stats as the Cowboys and Bucs raise the curtains on the NFL season in the Thursday night opener:


- The Cowboys are 39-21-1 (.650) in Week 1 games while the Buccaneers are 18-27 (.400).

- This is the first time in a decade that Dallas will wear their road jerseys in consecutive Week 1 games. The last time was 2008-09 when they played the Cleveland Browns and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, both on the road.

- Dallas is 7-5 in their blue jerseys on Opening Day.

- The Cowboys are 71-75-1 in their blue jerseys overall with a 1-2 record against the Buccaneers.

- On Opening Days following seasons where the Cowboys failed to make the playoffs, Dallas is 12-14-1.

- On Opening Days following years where the Buccaneers made the playoffs, they are 4-6 with a 1-0 record in Opening Days following a Super Bowl win.

- The Cowboys are 15-4 against the Buccaneers all-time with a 3-3 record on the road.

- The Cowboys are 3-3 in Tampa Bay. Here is a breakdown by venue:

  • Tampa Stadium: 1-0
  • Raymond James Stadium: 2-3

- This is the third time that the Cowboys are playing the Buccaneers on Opening Day. Dallas is 1-1 with a 1-0 record at Raymond James Stadium.

- The Cowboys’ 3-3 road record against the Buccaneers is their third-best among NFC South opponents:

  • Panthers: 5-3
  • Falcons: 8-7
  • Buccaneers: 3-3
  • Saints: 6-9

- The Buccaneers’ 3-3 home record against the Cowboys is tied for their second-best among NFC East teams:

  • Washington: 7-6
  • Philadelphia: 4-4
  • Dallas: 3-3
  • New York: 6-8

- The Cowboys are 13-7 in Week 1 night games with a 5-6 record on the road.

- The Buccaneers are 3-1 in Week 1 night games with a 2-1 record at home.

- Since 1970, the Cowboys are 149-153-1 in the Eastern Time Zone with a 30-23 record in night games.

- The Cowboys are 3-0 against Super Bowl champions in Week 1.

- 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.


- Prescott is 2-0 against the Buccaneers with all of those games coming at home.

- Prescott is making his sixth Opening Day start, the sixth-most in Cowboys history.

- Before his injury, Prescott was on pace to throw for 5,939 yards in 2020. Deshaun Watson was the league’s passing champion with 4,823 yards.

- Prescott was on pace to throw for 371.2 yards per game, which would have been the highest of his career. His 2019 mark was 306.4.

- Prescott’s 1,856 passing yards led the NFL after Week 5. Only the Buffalo Bills’ Josh Allen was close with 1,589.

- Prescott also led the NFL with 222 passes after Week 5. The Cincinnati Bengals’ Joe Burrow was second with 207.

- If Prescott would have played the entire year, he was on pace for around 710 pass attempts. The Cowboys’ single-season record is 648 set by Tony Romo in 2012.

- Prescott threw four interceptions by the time of his season-ending injury. He was on pace for 13, which would have tied his 2017 season for the most of his career.

- Prescott was on pace to be sacked 32 times in 2020, which would have tied the 2017 season for the second-most in his career. 2018 is still the highest at 56.

- If Prescott’s 8.4 yards per attempt could have held throughout the entire 2020 season, he would have finished second behind Watson’s 8.9. Kirk Cousins ended up second at 8.3.


- 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 finished with the second-most pass attempts last year with 610.

- Brady threw for 40 touchdowns last season, which was only the second time in his career that he has achieved 40 or more touchdowns.

- Brady’s 102.2 passer rating was the ninth-highest in the NFL last season.

- Brady’s 1,652 passing yards on first down were the 10th-most in the NFL last year.

- Among quarterbacks with at least 200 passes last year, Brady’s 9.1 intended air yards per pass attempt were the most in the league.

- Brady had 31 passes dropped last year, the fourth-most in the NFL.

- Brady had 438 on-target throws last season, good for fourth-most in the league.

- Brady took 58 hits last season, the eighth-most in the NFL.

- Brady generated 1,119 passing yards off play-action, the ninth-most in the NFL.

- Among quarterbacks with at least 100 pass attempts, Brady had the fourth-highest passer rating on third down at 110.4.

- Brady was tied with Justin Herbert for the most touchdown passes on third down with 14.

- Brady’s 28 passing touchdowns in the red zone last year were the third-most in the NFL.

- Brady’s 84 passes in the red zone were tied with Josh Allen for the second-most in the league.

- Brady was one of nine quarterbacks last season with 50-plus red zone passes without an interception.


- Elliott finished with 244 rushing attempts in 2020, the fifth-most in the NFL.

- Among running backs with 200 rushing attempts, Elliott, Kenyan Drake, and Melvin Gordon were the only ones who did not reach the 1,000-yard threshold last season.

- Elliott’s six rushing touchdowns last year were tied for the fewest of his career. However, in 2018, the season he matched his career low, Elliott won the league rushing title.

- Elliott had a 19.5 yards per game drop off from 2019 to 2020.

- Elliott’s longest run of last year was 31 yards. However, his lowest in any one year came in 2017 when his longest run went for only 30 yards.

- Elliott’s six fumbles last season were tied with 2018 for the most in one season in his career.

- Among running backs with 100 such attempts, Elliott was tied with David Montgomery for the 10th-highest yards per carry on first down at 4.35.

- Elliott’s 617 rushing yards on first down were the eighth-most in the NFL last year.

- Elliott picked up 521 yards after contact last year, the eighth-most in the NFL.

- Elliott’s 1.9 yards before contact last year were tied for the 10th-fewest in the league.

- Elliott had the seventh-most red zone rushing attempts last year with 45.

- Elliott had eight drops last season, tied for the fifth-most in the NFL.


- McCarthy is 9-5 in Week 1 games with a 3-3 record on the road.

- Including the postseason, McCarthy is 32-34 in prime time games with a 10-25 record in road or neutral site games.

- McCarthy is 30-17-1 in September with an 11-12 record on the road.

- McCarthy is 68-53-1 against playoff-winning coaches with a 25-39 record on the road.


- Arians is 9-5 against the NFC East with a 4-2 record at home.

- Arians is 14-9-1 in prime time with a 6-7-1 record at home.

- Arians is 2-5 in season openers with a 2-2 record at home.


- Dallas is 27-24 on NBC Sunday Night Football, including playoff games and NFL Specials.

- The Cowboys are 54-40 when Al Michaels calls their games, including the postseason.

- The Cowboys are 28-25 when Collinsworth does color commentary for their games.

- The Cowboys are 13-7 in Opening Day prime time games with a 5-6 record on the road.


- This week’s referee is Shawn Hochuli, son of former arch-referee Ed Hochuli, with whom Dallas had a 20-13 record, including playoffs. The Cowboys are 2-1 with the junior Hochuli:

  • 2018 – TB, 27-20 – W
  • 2019 – @WAS, 31-21 – W
  • 2019 – MIN, 24-28 – L

- The Cowboys have never had fewer penalties than the opposition under the younger Hochuli:

  • 2018 – TB: 9/72; DAL: 10/67
  • 2019 – WAS: 6/44; DAL: 8/67
  • 2019 – MIN: 5/35; DAL: 5/39

- In 2020, Hochuli had the third-lowest home team winning percentage at .357.

- In 2020, Hochuli was tied for the sixth-lowest percentage (.500) of home teams having fewer penalties.

- Buccaneers are 1-3 in games refereed by Hochuli:

  • 2018 – CLE, 23-26 – L-OT
  • 2018 – @DAL, 20-27 – L
  • 2020 – KC, 24-27 – L
  • 2020 – @NO, 30-20 – W

- The Buccaneers have had fewer penalties only one in four games with Hochuli:

  • 2018 – CLE: 14/114; TB: 8/65
  • 2018 – DAL: 10/67; TB: 9/72
  • 2020 – KC: 10/82; TB: 8/57
  • 2020 – NO: 5/34; TB: 7/62

- Hochuli’s games had the fewest sacks per game (3.8) in 2020.

- Hochuli’s crew averaged the most offensive holding calls (3.0) per game last season.

- The Cowboys, nor their opponents, nor Replay Assistant has had to challenge Hochuli so far.

- The Buccaneers have yet to challenge Hochuli. Opponents are 0 for 1 while Replay Assistant has not been a factor.

- Hochuli had the third-lowest challenge overturn rate (.250, 1 for 4) last season.


- Buccaneers receiver Mike Evans had the fourth-most receiving touchdowns last year with 13.

- The average depth of target for Buccaneers’ receiver Scott Miller was 15.8, the ninth-deepest in the league last year.

- Tampa Bay receiver Chris Godwin had the 11th-highest passer rating when targeted last year at 131.1.

- Buccaneers cornerback Carlton Davis’ 18 pass breakups were tied for the third-most in the league last year.

- Tampa Bay defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul’s four forced fumbles were tied for the fourth-most in the league last year.

- Tampa Bay linebacker Devin White’s 15 tackles for loss were tied for the third-most in the NFL last year.

- Last season the Buccaneers defense gave up 5.1 yards per play, the sixth-fewest in the NFL.

- Last season, the Cowboys defense gave up 5.9 yards per play, tied with the Miami Dolphins and Tennessee Titans for the eighth-most in the NFL.

- In 2020, the Buccaneers gathered 25 takeaways, tied with the Indianapolis Colts for the fifth-most in the league.

- The Cowboys finished 2020 with 23 takeaways, tied with the Tennessee Titans for the seventh-most in the NFL.

- Tampa Bay blitzed the second-most in the league last year with 268 attempts.

- Tampa Bay’s defense also had the second-most pressures in the league in 2020 with 189.

- The average depth of target against the Buccaneers defense was 7.6 yards, tied with the New York Jets for the fifth-fewest in the NFL.

- The Cowboys defense gave up 34 passing touchdowns, tied for the third-most last season.

- The Cowboys defense gave up 1,688 yards after the catch last year, the eighth-fewest in the league.

- The Cowboys defense pressured quarterbacks 132 times, the eighth-lowest in the NFL last year.

- Opposing quarterbacks compiled a 100.4 passer rating against the Cowboys defense last year, the seventh-highest in the league.

- The Cowboys’ 74 quarterback hits were the seventh-fewest last year.

- Dallas generated 54 tackles for loss last year, tied for the fourth-fewest in the league.

- The Cowboys defense gave up 158.8 rushing yards per game last year, which was the second-most in the league.

- Dallas gave up 5.0 yards per carry, the third-most in the league last year.

- Dallas’ defense gave up 20 rushing touchdowns, tied with the Eagles for the seventh-most in the NFL last year.

- The Cowboys are 4-4 in their history on Sept. 9. Here are the results:

  • 1979 — @SF, 21-13 — W
  • 1984 — @NYG, 7-28 — L
  • 1985 — WAS, 44-14 — W
  • 1990 — SD, 17-14 — W
  • 1991 — WAS, 31-33 — L
  • 2001 — TB, 6-10 — L
  • 2007 — NYG, 45-35 — W
  • 2018 — @CAR, 8-16 — L

- The Buccaneers are 5-3 in their history on Sept. 9. Here are the results:

  • 1978 — DET, 7-15 — L
  • 1979 — @CLT, 29-26 — W-OT
  • 1984 — @NO, 13-17 — L
  • 1990 — @DET, 38-21 — W
  • 2001 — @DAL, 10-6 — W
  • 2007 — @SEA, 6-20 — L
  • 2012 — CAR, 16-12 — W
  • 2018 — @NO, 48-40 — W

- The Cowboys have four birthdays to celebrate on Sept. 9:

  • 1962 — Derek Kennard, G, 1994-96
  • 1964 — Willie Broughton, DT, 1989-90
  • 1987 — Andrew Sendejo, S, 2010
  • 1987 — Orie Lemon, LB, 2012