Tom Brady, a seven-time Super Bowl champion, was eclipsed by Dak Prescott when the Dallas Cowboys eliminated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from this season’s playoffs.
Brady, 45, had his first losing season in his 23-year career, but the Bucs still made the playoffs.
But Dallas scored its first road victory in the playoffs since 1993 as Prescott tossed for four touchdowns and sprinted for another as their luck ran out.
Dallas cruised to a 31-14 victory after holding an 18-0 advantage at the interval.
The five-time Super Bowl champions, who most recently hoisted the Vince Lombardi Trophy at the conclusion of the 1996 campaign, had dropped their previous eight road playoff games dating back to a victory over the San Francisco 49ers.
The divisional round will take place at Levi’s Stadium the following week. The 49ers defeated the Cowboys during the wildcard weekend of the previous season.
As it turned out, the Cowboys easily defeated Brady’s Buccaneers, while the Bengals, Giants, and Bills managed to hold on for playoff victories.
Important information on the NFL playoffs
Tampa Bay (8-9) won the NFC South division and secured home-field advantage for wildcard weekend despite having a poorer regular-season record than Dallas (12-5).
Dallas had no choice but to travel to Raymond James Stadium, the location of Brady’s seventh Super Bowl victory, a record, in his first year with the Buccaneers two years prior.
There was never a suggestion that Brady would add to his 48 play-off games, which is more than 23 of the 32 NFL teams have ever had in their entire histories.
On the first four plays of the game, neither team was able to gain a first down, but Prescott eventually found his groove, and tight end Dalton Schultz caught a high pass for a 22-yard touchdown.
On the Bucs’ subsequent drive, they gained 70 yards before Brady made an unusual error by attempting to throw the ball away while under pressure and being intercepted in the end zone.
In response, the Cowboys put together a 15-play drive that covered 80 yards in the end when Prescott faked a handoff and ran unimpeded into the end zone.
On Dallas’ subsequent possession, Prescott completed passes of 20 and 11 yards to Schultz and CeeDee Lamb, respectively, capping a 91-yard drive.
On the Cowboys’ opening drive following the break, Prescott found Michael Gallup in the back of the end zone, but Julio Jones was able to hold on to a Brady pass of 30 yards to put the Buccaneers on the board.
Prescott finished the game with 305 yards after completing 25 of his 33 ball attempts, including an 18-yard touchdown strike to Lamb in the fourth quarter.
Brady actually completed 35 of a staggering 66 passes for 351 yards, and the seasoned quarterback restored some dignity with a late touchdown pass to Cameron Brate.