LOSS - Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17 Dallas Cowboys 30
POST-SEASON: NFC Divisional Playoffs 1st Round Game
Injuries to Mike Washington, Cedric Brown, and Johnny Ray Smith required that three members of the secondary play outside of their regular position. Neal Colzie took over for Brown at free safety, while Mark Cotney took over Colzie's regular strong safety spot. Dwayne O'Steen, a starter from Oakland's Super Bowl XIV team, was signed during the week to add depth to the secondary.
Both quarterbacks played while injured. Dallas quarterback Danny White's thumb was so sore that he could not hold a piece of paper. His jaw was so sore that he was not able to eat before the game, and required novocaine shots to play. He would not have played if it had been a regular-season matchup, but passed for 312 yards and two touchdowns. The advisability of starting Doug Williams was later questioned, due to his sore hamstring and knee. Williams spent the entire game throwing away from his former Grambling teammate Everson Walls, throwing only four times for one completion to Walls' side of the field.
Against expectations, Tampa Bay's defense played well, despite spending over 40 minutes of the game on the field, and despite the injuries to the secondary and later to Hugh Green. Dallas entered the game as the best rushing team of all playoff contenders, with Tony Dorsett second only to Freeman McNeil in yardage.
After the Cowboys took a first quarter lead on two Rafael Septién field goals, the Buccaneers took the lead when the ball popped out of the hands of White and into those of Hugh Green. Green never broke stride, and returned the fumble 60 yards for a touchdown. The play happened so quickly that the Dallas offensive line continued to block, unaware that Green was downfield with the ball. Cotney then returned an interception 50 yards, leading to a 32-yard Bill Capece field goal. A 6-yard pass from White to Ron Springs gave the Cowboys a 13–10 halftime lead.
After a third-quarter Septien field goal, Williams threw a 49-yard touchdown pass to Gordon Jones to give the Buccaneers a 17–16 lead. Early in the fourth quarter, Charley Hannah was penalized for an illegal block, which negated an 11-yard James Wilder run. Hannah kicked the referee's flag in protest, resulting in a further call of unsportsmanlike conduct, a penalty of half the distance to the goal line. The two penalties combined to move the Buccaneers back from their 33 to their 11-yard line. McKay was outraged that the officials would call such a penalty in such an important game, sarcastically describing Hannah's actions as "horrible abuse. One of the worst things I've ever seen on a football field". On the following play, third-string safety Monty Hunter caught his first career interception, a pass intended for Jimmie Giles, and returned it for the go-ahead touchdown. Dallas followed with an 81-yard drive that ended in a 10-yard pass from White to Timmy Newsome.Buccaneers Linebackers coach Howard Tippett followed field judge Dick Dolack all the way back to the locker room after the game, shouting obscenities the entire way, and telling him, "You cost us this game".
- REFEREE: Dick Jorgenson
- UMPIRE: John Keck
- HEAD LINESMAN: Burl Toler
- LINE JUDGE: Dick McKenzie
- SIDE JUDGE: Gil Mace
- BACK JUDGE: Roy Clymer
- FIELD JUDGE: David Dolack
- ALTERNATE: Pat Knight
- COWBOYS: 05:08-1Q Septien FG33
- COWBOYS: 02:14-1Q Septien FG33
- BUCCANEERS: 09:59-2Q Green 60 fumble return (Capece kick)
- BUCCANEERS: 04:14-2Q Capece FG32
- COWBOYS: 00:33-2Q Springs 6 pass from White (Septien kick)
- COWBOYS: 06:49-3Q Septien FG19
- BUCCANEERS: 01:16-3Q Jones 49 pass from Williams (Capece kick)
- COWBOYS: 13:21-4Q Hunter 19 interception return (Septien kick)
- COWBOYS: 03:33-4Q Newsome 10 pass from White (Septien kick)
- WR: #84 G. Jones
- LT: #75 D. Reavis
- LG: #72 R. Snall
- C: #50 S. Wilson
- RG: #62 S. Farrell
- RT: #73 C. Hannah
- TE: #88 J. Giles
- WR: #89 K. House
- QB: #12 D. Williams
- RB: #32 J. Wilder
- RB: #28 M. Carver
- LE: #65 D. Stalls
- NT: #76 D. Logan
- RE: #63 L. Selmon
- LOLB: #59 A. Hawkins
- LILB: #56 C. Johnson
- RILB: #52 S. Brantley
- ROLB: #53 H. Green
- LCB: #41 N. Thomas
- RCB: #21 J. Holt
- SS: #33 M. Cotney
- FS: #20 N. Colzie
- 1 Morton, 3 Capece, 9 Swider, 24 Morris, 26 Owens, 35 Moser, 44 O'Steen, 45 Middleton, 54 Wood, 57 Leonard, 58 Davis, 66 Reese, 68 Yarno, 78 Cannon, 82 J Bell, 83 T Bell, 86 Obradovich, 87 Carter, 90 White
DID NOT PLAY
- 11 Golsteyn, 15 Quinn, 22 Smith, 34 Brown, 40 Washington, 61 Roberts, 74 Sanders, 81 Tyler
- BUCCANEERS: Wilder 14-93, Carver 7-12.
- COWBOYS: Dorsett 26-110, Donley 1-25, Springs 7-24, Newhouse 5-15, Pearson 1-4, DuPree 1-1, White 1-0.
- BUCCANEERS: Williams 28-8-113-3-1.
- COWBOYS: White 45-27-312-2-2.
- BUCCANEERS: House 4-52, Wilder 2-5, Jones 1-49, Giles 1-7.
- COWBOYS: Pearson 7-95, Johnson 4-76, Hill 4-45, Cosbie 3-32, Springs 3-16, Newsome 2-14, Dorsett 2-14, Newhouse 1-11, DuPree 1-9.
- BUCCANEERS: Cotney 1-50, Holt 1-0.
- COWBOYS: Hunter 1-19, Clinkscale 1-11, Thurman 1-0.
- BUCCANEERS: Owens 5-110.
- COWBOYS: Fellows 4-71.
- BUCCANEERS: T.Bell 1-8.
- COWBOYS: Fellows 5-57.
- BUCCANEERS: Logan 1.5-14.5, Brantley 1-6, Selmon 1-6, Green 1-6, Cannon 0.5-2.5.
- COWBOYS: none.