By: Mark Lane

Buccaneers at Cowboys


The Cowboys are 8-6 for the seventh time in club history. Only the 1998 team made the playoffs and did so by winning the division.

Since 1990, when playoff formats were last tinkered with, 52/107 teams that started 8-6 made the playoffs with 17/52 having won the division.

The Buccaneers are 5-9 for the sixth time in club history. 3/5 of those seasons were followed up with a playoff-qualifying season.

The Cowboys are 11-1 against the Buccaneers at home. Here is the breakdown by stadium:
Texas Stadium: 9-1
AT&T Stadium: 2-0

The Buccaneers are 14-31 against the NFC East on the road.

The Buccaneers are 1/4 teams 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.

The Cowboys are 2-1 against the Buccaneers in December.

The Cowboys are 119-101-1 all-time in December with a 59-43 record at home.

The Buccaneers are 63-106 all-time in December with a 21-58 record on the road.

Since 1970, the Cowboys are 157-119 all-time in early games with a 76-40 record at home.

The Buccaneers are 182-278-1 in early games all-time with a 71-157 record on the road.

The Buccaneers are 39-107 all-time in the Central Time Zone with a 25-84 record in early games.


Prescott has executed four game-winning drives this season, tied for third-most.

Prescott is tied with Drew Brees for the second-most red zone rushing touchdowns by a quarterback with five.

Prescott is tied with Derek Carr and Russell Wilson for the 10th-most third down conversions through the air with 48.

Prescott has the 12th-most third down conversions on the ground for a quarterback with eight.

Prescott takes 35.3 percent of the Cowboys’ rush attempts inside the 10-yard line.

Among quarterbacks who have started every game since Week 1, Prescott’s eight interceptions are tied with Carr and Philip Rivers for the fifth-fewest in the NFL.


Winston is tied with Cam Newton, Andrew Luck, and Jared Goff for the fourth-most interceptions with 13.

Winston is tied with Tom Brady for the 10th-highest yards per pass attempt at 7.8.

Winston is tied with Deshaun Watson for the seventh-highest yards per pass completion in the NFL at 12.3.

Winston’s 85.3 passer rating is the seventh-lowest in the NFL.

Winston joins Matthew Stafford, Nick Mullens, and Lamar Jackson as the only quarterbacks to have not engineered a fourth quarter comeback but executed a game-winning drive.

Winston and Josh Freeman are the only Tampa Bay quarterbacks to win at least eight games since 2010.

Winston is the fourth Florida State quarterback to have played for the Buccaneers. The other three were Gary Huff (1977-78), Casey Weldon (1993-96), and Brad Johnson (2001-04).

In 2015, Winston set the Buccaneers record for wins by a rookie quarterback with six.


According to Ezekiel Elliott’s mom, last week was the first time in Elliott’s career one of his teams was shutout, including his high school career.

Among running backs with at least 200 rush attempts, Elliott’s 4.7 yards per carry is the fourth-highest in the league.

Elliott leads the NFL with 1,349 rushing yards. However, he is tied for the 17th-fewest rushing touchdowns with six.

Elliott’s 96.4 rushing yards per game are not only the most in the NFL, but they are seven full yards higher than Todd Gurley’s 89.4.

Elliott has three rushing touchdowns inside the 10-yard line.

Elliott gains 5.05 yards per carry on first down, the fifth-most among running backs with at least 100 first-down carries.

Elliott has gained seven first downs rushing on first down, tied with Matt Breida and Alvin Kamara for the seventh-most in the NFL.

Elliott gains 5.09 yards per touch on second down.

Elliott’s 30 second-down targets are the sixth-most in the NFL among running backs.

Elliott has 99 third-down rushing yards, the 10th-most in the NFL. Six running backs are ahead of him: Deshaun Watson (156), Cam Newton (152), Lamar Jackson (142), Mitch Trubisky (140), Marcus Mariota (114), and Blake Bortles (111).


This is the 30th week of Garrett’s career that the Cowboys have been in undisputed first place in the NFC East.

Garrett is 22-16 against coaches who have yet to qualify for the playoffs with a 10-12 record at home.

Garrett is 2-1 against Tampa Bay. Here is how he compares to other Cowboys head coaches:

Tom Landry: 6-0
Jimmy Johnson: 2-0
Wade Phillips: 2-0
Jason Garrett: 2-1
Bill Parcells: 1-1
Dave Campo: 0-2

Garrett’s 19-16 December record contains the second-most such wins in club history:

Tom Landry: 63-43-1
Jason Garrett: 19-16
Jimmy Johnson: 13-7
Bill Parcells: 8-9
Barry Switzer: 7-8
Wade Phillips: 5-7
Dave Campo: 4-9
Chan Gailey: 3-5

Garrett has a 7-8 record at home in December. Here is how that compares to other Cowboys head coaches:

Tom Landry: 32-18
Jimmy Johnson: 7-2
Chan Gailey: 3-1
Dave Campo: 3-3
Jason Garrett: 7-8
Barry Switzer: 3-4
Bill Parcells: 3-4
Wade Phillips: 1-3

Garrett is 6-11 against the NFC South with a 4-4 record at home.

Garrett’s 3-4 record against the NFC South at home is his second-best against other divisions in the conference sans the NFC East:
NFC North: 6-4
NFC South: 4-4
NFC West: 3-5

The Cowboys are tied with the Falcons for the 10th-fewest in the NFL with 88.

Dallas’ 88 penalties are tied for the 24th-fewest in the NFL.

The Cowboys’ 44.2 red zone conversion rate is the second-lowest in the NFL. The only other bottom-10 team that has a chance to clinch their respective division are the Texans, who are tied for sixth at 50 percent.

Garrett was once a member of the Buccaneers in the 2004 preseason.

Garrett is currently 36-33 without Tony Romo under center.

Garrett is 17-19 at home without Romo under center.

Garrett is 21/41 on challenges for his career with a 2/5 record in 2018.


Koetter joins John McKay, Ray Perkins, Sam Wyche, Tony Dungy, and Jon Gruden as the only Buccaneers coaches to own a 5-9 record.

Koetter has started only two quarterbacks in his three seasons as head coach. The last Buccaneers coach to do that through their first two seasons was Dungy, and he only started Trent Dilfer.

Koetter is 4-8 in December with a 1-5 record on the road.

Koetter is 12-18 in early afternoon games with a 4-13 record on the road.

Koetter is 2-5 in the Central Time Zone.

Koetter is 12-20 against playoff-winning head coaches.

Koetter is the seventh Tampa Bay head coach to have come from an offensive coaching background.

As an offensive coordinator, Koetter faced the Cowboys twice with Jacksonville (2010) and Atlanta (2012). His teams put up an average of 27 points.

The Buccaneers are tied with Washington for the fourth-most penalties in the NFL with 105.

Tampa Bay’s 105 penalties through the first 14 games are the 10th-most in team history.

Tampa Bay has the 14th-best red zone conversion rate in the NFL at 59.6 percent.

Koetter has a 3/9 career challenge overturn rate with a 1/5 record in 2018.


FOX will air its ninth game in the series between these two teams. Here is the Cowboys’ record broken down by network:
CBS: 8-0
FOX: 4-4
NFLN: 1-0
NBC: 1-0

Dallas is 132-122 all-time on FOX, including postseason.

The Cowboys are 5-3 on FOX in 2018. A win would ensure they finish with a winning record on the NFC broadcaster for the 14th time since 1994.

This week’s broadcast team is Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, who will call their third game in the series, tying the team of Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, and Tony Siragusa for the most games in the series.

The last time the Buccaneers had FOX’s A-team was Sept. 23, 2012 when they played the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium and lost 16-10.

The Cowboys are 37-41 when Joe Buck does play-by-play for their games.

The Buccaneers are 9-9 when Buck calls their games, including playoffs.

Dallas is 43-47 when Troy Aikman does color commentary for their games.

Tampa Bay is 10-10 when Aikman does color commentary for their games, including playoffs.

This is the 13th early game in the series, the most in the series.


This week’s referee is Shawn Hochuli, son of former arch-referee Ed Hochuli. While this is the first time the Cowboys will have Shawn, Dallas had a 20-13 record with his father, including playoffs.

This is the first time since Nov. 2, 2014 when the Cowboys hosted the Arizona Cardinals that they have had a rookie referee. Dallas lost 28-17.

Hochuli is tied for the seventh-highest home team winning percentage in the NFL:
John Hussey: .846
Carl Cheffers: .769
Tony Corrente: .750
Walt Coleman: .714
Alex Kemp: .692
Clay Martin: .692
Craig Wrolstad: .615
John Parry: .615
Jerome Boger: .571
Pete Morelli: .538
Ron Torbert: .538
Bill Vinovich: .538
Brad Allen: .538
Walt Anderson: .538
Clete Blakeman: .385
Shawn Smith: .346

Hochuli is tied for the sixth-highest percentage of home teams having fewer penalties:
Craig Wrolstad: .923
Pete Morelli: .692
Tony Corrente: .643
Bill Vinovich: .615
Walt Coleman: .571
Brad Allen: .538
John Hussey: .538
Jerome Boger: .500
Shawn Smith: .462
Walt Anderson: .462
Clete Blakeman: .462
Alex Kemp: .385
John Parry: .385
Ron Torbert: .308
Clay Martin: .308
Carl Cheffers: .231

The Buccaneers have had Hochuli once already this season. On Oct. 21, the Cleveland Browns beat the Bucs 26-23 in overtime. Tampa Bay had fewer penalties: 8/65 to 14/114.

Hochuli’s games are right in the middle for sacks per game:
Cheffers: 6.6
Anderson: 5.7
Coleman: 5.6
Martin: 5.6
Allen: 5.5
Kemp: 5.5
Smith: 5.4
Hussey: 5.1
Vinovich: 5.1
Corrente: 4.9
Morelli: 4.9
Blakeman: 4.8
Torbert: 4.8
Wrolstad: 4.8
Parry: 3.9
Boger: 3.6

Hochuli’s crew calls the most offensive holding calls per game:
Cheffers: 3.4
Wrolstad: 3.3
Anderson: 3.2
Torbert: 3.0
Parry: 2.9
Boger: 2.9
Kemp: 2.7
Blakeman: 2.6
Morelli: 2.4
Smith: 2.3
Martin: 2.2
Corrente: 2.1
Allen: 2.0
Coleman: 1.9
Hussey: 1.6
Vinovich: 1.3

Hochuli is also right in the middle in terms of overturning calls after coaches’ challenges:
Allen: .800 (4/5)
Anderson: .692 (9/13)
Hussey: .556 (5/9)
Parry: .500 (4/8)
Cheffers: .500 (3/6)
Morelli: .500 (1/2)
Corrente: .455 (5/11)
Vinovich: .444 (4/9)
Hochuli: .400 (2/5)
Blakeman: .400 (2/5)
Torbert: .375 (3/8)
Wrolstad: .300 (3/10)
Martin: .286 (2/7)
Coleman: .286 (2/7)
Boger: .200 (2/10)
Smith: .167 (1/6)
Kemp: .167 (1/6)


Since the Cowboys’ last shutout on Nov. 16, 2003, the Buccaneers have been shutout four times (2005, 2006, 2009, 2012).

The Buccaneers have allowed opposing passers to compile a 111.1 passer rating, the absolute highest in the NFL.

Opposing passers have compiled a 96.3 passer rating, the 11th-highest in the NFL.

The Buccaneers defense allows 258.5 passing yards per game, the sixth-highest in the league.

The Dallas and Tampa Bay defenses are tied with the Titans for the seventh-fewest interceptions with eight.

The Buccaneers allow 4.8 yards per carry, tied with the Bengals, Dolphins, and Raiders for the seventh-most in the league.

Tampa Bay’s 17 rushing touchdowns allowed are tied with the Bengals and Chiefs for the third-most in the NFL.

Tampa Bay defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul has the 13th-most sacks in the NFL with 11.5.

Pierre-Paul is tied with Dallas defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, Denver linebacker Von Miller, and Houston edge rusher Jadeveon Clowney for the ninth-most tackles for loss at 14.

Buccaneers receiver Mike Evans has the second-most receiving yards in the NFL at 1,328.

Evans’ 17.9 yards per catch is the third-highest in the NFL. Only teammate DeSean Jackson (18.8) and Josh Gordon (18.0) have higher catch rates.

Evans’ five receiving touchdowns are the 32nd-most in the league.

Evans is tied with Rams receiver Robert Woods for the 15th-most targets in the NFL with 120.

Dallas cornerback Byron Jones is tied for the eighth-most pass deflections with 13.

The Buccaneers are right in the middle with Detroit for sacks allowed with 37.

The Buccaneers have the fourth-highest yards per play at 6.3. However, they have the 13th-lowest percentage of drives ending in scores at 35.8.

Tampa Bay has the fifth-lowest rushing yards per game at 97.7.

The Cowboys are 2-3 on Dec. 23. Here are the results:

1972 – @SF, 30-28 – W
1973 – RAM, 27-16 – W
1990 – @PHI, 3-17 – L
2001 – @CRD, 10-17 – L
2012 – NO, 31-34 – L-OT

The Buccaneers are 1-5 on Dec. 23. Here are the results:

1990 – @CHI, 14-27 – L
1995 – DET, 10-37 – L
2001 – NO, 48-21 – W
2002 – PIT, 7-17 – L
2007 – @SF, 19-21 – L
2012 – RAM, 13-28 – L

The Cowboys have two birthdays to celebrate on Dec. 23:

1976 – Kris Brown, K, 2010
1978 – Dwayne Missouri, DE, 2001