The Dallas Cowboys came into Thursday night's season opener against the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers with a fresh start and looking to put a disastrous 2020 season behind them for good.
Unfortunately, that fresh start will have to wait at least one more week, with the Cowboys falling 31-29 in an all-too-familiar frustrating fashion.
The good news for Dallas on Thursday night was the play of Dak Prescott, who made his first game appearance in 11 months and didn't miss a beat, completing 42-58 passes for 403 yards and three touchdowns.
He was accurate, he was poised, and he controlled the flow of the game for Dallas.
In truth, it was the kind of performance that Cowboys fans had become accustomed to seeing before his injury early last season when Prescott was on pace to shatter NFL records.
The bad news for the Cowboys was just about everything else, including the pass defense, which was picked apart by Tom Brady to the tune of 380 yards and four touchdowns.
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Granted, the Cowboys' secondary was able to pick off the future Hall of Famer twice and force and recover two forced fumbles, including a critical giveaway by Chris Godwin deep in Cowboys territory.
But despite all of that, it was the kicking game, or more specifically Greg Zuerlein, however, that was Dallas' biggest enemy on the night.
The former Pro Bowler missed two of his four field-goal attempts, as well as an extra point, leaving what amounted to a full touchdown off of the board for the Cowboys.
And that touchdown difference was simply too much to overcome in the end, as the cowboys would ultimately fall, and drop to 0-1 on the season.
Following the loss, Dallas will shift their focus to the west coast, as they head to Los Angeles to take on Justin Herbert, Keenan Allen, and the Chargers at SoFi Stadium in 10 days' time.
Until then, they will hope to find a solution to their kicking woes, and clean up those all-too-familiar mistakes.
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