Cowboys serve notice in win over Tampa Bay that this Dallas squad is built different

TAMPA, Fla. — Decades of frustration were swept away with a vengeance. The Cowboys long, national nightmare — at least one of them — is over. What took place on

this crisp, winter evening at Raymond James Stadium didn’t atone for the previous 30 years of road playoff futility. But the Cowboys’ 31-14 dismantling of Tampa Bay served notice

that this group is different from those that preceded it. The strides being made under head coach Mike McCarthy are tangible. A franchise that made the playoffs in

back-to-back seasons for the first time in 15 years has now picked up its first postseason road victory since the 1992 NFC Championship Game. The 17-point margin was the most

decisive playoff victory for Dallas anywhere since it beat Philadelphia, 34-14, back in January of 2010. Now, it’s onto the bay on an opposite coast. The team travels west

this weekend for a Sunday afternoon game against a San Francisco team that knocked Dallas out of the playoffs one year ago. The Cowboys did to the Buccaneers what the 49ers

did to them one year ago. Dallas was the aggressor from start to finish, physically overpowering Tampa Bay and making Tom Brady look anything but the GOAT. Dak Prescott

engineered touchdown drives on four consecutive possessions for 80, 80, 91 and 86 yards to break the Tampa Bay’s spirit. The defense dominated the way it did early in the season

with an unrelenting pass rush and an end zone interception by safety Jayron Kearse that kept the Bucs from answering an early Cowboys score. “To a man, everyone had great

confidence in what we did,’’ said McCarthy, who picked up his first playoff victory with the Cowboys. “I thought the offense and defense played at a very high level.