Game notes
From a personnel perspective, the Bucs delivered a surprise of sorts 90 minutes before kickoff, activating rookie tight ends Cade Otton and Ko Kieft while rendering former Pro Bowler Kyle Rudolph inactive. The reason was revealed shortly thereafter.

Otton had a team-high two special-teams tackles at halftime, while Kieft was employed as both an H-back and even a true fullback for Leonard Fournette, who had his best rushing performance as a Buccaneer (21 carries, 127 yards). Both were on the field concurrently on a handful of plays when the Bucs opted for max protection.

"I was happy they had smiles on their faces and they were ready to play," Todd Bowles said. "They contributed in special teams, they contributed on offense. Those guys worked hard all summer; they play smart, they play tough, and they’ve arrived early."

Rudolph, by contrast, plays no special teams. Other inactives: receiver Scotty Miller, reserve offensive tackle Fred Johnson, second-year quarterback Kyle Trask and third-year tailback Ke’Shawn Vaughn.

Elbow injury sidelines Smith
The refurbished Bucs offensive line, which featured three new starters Sunday night, sustained another blow when veteran left tackle Donovan Smith exited with an elbow injury with 7:50 to play in the first half and didn’t return.

Josh Wells replaced Smith. The eighth-year veteran allowed edge-rush extraordinaire Micah Parsons to blow by him for a third-down sack of Tom Brady at the Cowboys’ 11 shortly thereafter, resulting in a 29-yard Succop field goal.

Bowles had no immediate update after the game on Smith, who has started 111 of the Bucs’ 113 regular-season games since his arrival in 2015.

Joey Knight, The Tampa Bay Times, published 12 September 2022