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Dallas Cowboys-Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Grading the Bucs' 26-20 loss to Dallas

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) and Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) meet at midfield after a football game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Sunday, Dec. 18, 2016.
Published Dec. 20, 2016

ARLINGTON, Tex. — Man, that's a big scoreboard. Sorry, we're supposed to be talking about the Bucs game and that valiant and entertaining yet ultimately disappointing 26-20 Tampa Bay loss to the Cowboys.

But, man, is that scoreboard big.

The crown jewel of the NFL's biggest and most expensive stadium is a scoreboard and video screen that turns the cavernous AT&T Stadium into a man cave for 93,000 fans.

When the game is going on, you don't know whether to watch the field or the scoreboard.

Whichever you watched Sunday, it show the same thing: a Bucs team that played fairly well after a shaky start. Here's a report card from Sunday's game.

Man, that's a big scoreboard

Did I mention how big that scoreboard is? Put it this way: If they ever make the Grand Canyon into a sports stadium, they can use this as the scoreboard. Man, is it big. Officially, it's 160 feet wide and 72 feet high. Unofficially: really stinkin' big. GRADE: A

Play of the game

Here's a play that, in a weird way, might have cost Tampa Bay a good chance to win. Fourth quarter and Tampa Bay had the ball at the Dallas 46. The Bucs had just recovered a fumble and trailed 23-20. On second and 11, QB Jameis Winston threw a screen to Charles Sims. It was a perfect call and it looked like it had potential for a huge gain. But tackle Gosder Cherilus didn't make a key block, and the pass produced only 6 yards. After an incompletion, the Bucs punted. And that was Tampa Bay's last best chance. All that might have separated the Bucs from an upset was one good block. GRADE: D-minus

Baby, it's cold outside

Good thing this was 2016 instead of 2006. If it had been 2006, the Cowboys would have played in a stadium with a hole in the roof. And that would have meant the Bucs would have played with temperatures dipping into the low 20s. Talk about crazy weather. The high Saturday in Dallas was 72. By game time Sunday night, it was 21. But, thankfully, the Cowboys now play indoors, where it's always comfortable T-shirt temperatures. GRADE: A

Prime time

When NBC moved Sunday's game to prime time, some Bucs fans might have been a bit worried. After all, there was a chance the Bucs could have been blown out and, surely, NBC would have serious doubts about scheduling the Bucs for any future Sunday Night Football games. But the Bucs handled themselves quite well, enough that NBC could not have been scared off from future Bucs games in prime time. GRADE: B-plus

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