Jerry Jones likened the opening night matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to David and Goliath a couple of months ago, so it's no surprise people are chalking up the Cowboy's loss to the Bucs as a "moral victory".
Let's go ahead and get straight to the point. The Cowboys' loss to the Buccaneers shouldn't be considered a moral victory. Sure, there are plenty of signs of optimism for Dallas, but there is no way that franchise should feel good about Thursday night's loss.
Can they feel good about moving forward and what the rest of the season could possibly entail? Yes, of course. There were plenty of signs of a competitive team throughout that game and Dallas should be a pretty good team as long as it stays healthy.
But a moral victory? Nah. And the reason is simple: The Bucs made a ton of mistakes and Dallas still lost the game.
One could easily argue that without those mistakes, the Bucs easily cover the spread. I mean, just take Chris Godwin's fourth-quarter fumble, for example. He was at the Dallas 2-yard line with under five minutes left in the game when the ball popped free from his grasp. If he doesn't fumble there then the Bucs go up by nine points and likely bleed at least another minute off the clock, leaving Dak Prescott and Co. with a two-possession deficit and just minutes left in the game.
There were other key mistakes brought on by the Bucs' own undoing, as well. The Leonard Fournette bobble that led to an interception and three Dallas points. The 11 penalties for 106 yards that also included five first downs by penalty. The three combined drops by the Bucs receivers. The Bucs routinely held themselves down and kept Dallas in the game. Yes, Dallas was competitive and it had the lead with 1:24 to go, but it wasn't because of the Cowboys' own success.
Dallas made its own mistakes, as well. You have to start with Greg Zuerlein's bad night, but the Cowboy's red zone offense was also bad. A 1-of-4 touchdown mark and an 0-for-1 goal-to-go mark isn't going to get it done in the NFL. You've gotta score points in the red zone if you want to win in the NFL.
This was the type of game you should - and must - win if you want to be considered one of the best teams in the NFL. And the Cowboys didn't win.
The below stat sums it up perfectly. This tells you all you need to know in regard to how Dallas blew this game:
The Bucs gave Dallas plenty of chances to win the game. Dallas even gave itself plenty of chances to win the game. But it couldn't. It's not a moral victory. It's a demoralizing loss.
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