Tom Brady led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on a superb 11-play, 62-yard final drive, chewing up 82 seconds of the 84 remaining to hand the Super Bowl champions a narrow 31-29 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.
Ryan Succop’s 36-yard field goal was enough to give the Bucs the win on a night where their offense suffered a couple of mis-steps, and where the Dallas Cowboys showed that they could well be a force to be reckoned with the NFC East.
It was an outstanding game and one that fully deserved to open what promises to be an exciting NFL Regular Season.
— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) September 10, 2021
The game didn’t start quite as explosively though. Tampa went three-and-out on their first possession, before the Cowboys put together a drive of 59 yards before they too had to punt the ball away.
However, it didn’t take Tom Brady long to hit stride and on the next series, he hit Chris Godwin on a 5-yard touchdown pass, completing a hugely impressive 94 yard drive to put the Bucs ahead.
In response, Dallas put together their own 75-yard drive in reply, culminating in Dak Prescott hitting CeeDee Lamb for a 22-yard touchdown.
Dak Prescott connects with CeeDee Lamb for their first TD of the season 😤
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 10, 2021
Brady and Rob Gronkowski then combined for a second-quarter touchdown for the Bucs, before what proved to be a vital missed field goal from Dallas from 43-yards, with Greg Zuerlein missing the shot.
He also missed the extra point to tie the game after Dak Prescott recovered a fumble to hit Amani Cooper from 5 yards. The Cowboys would also miss a long second field goal late in the second quarter and those misses would prove to be the difference between the teams in the final reckoning, although Zuerlein did make one from 35 yards to put the Cowboys in front 16-14.
Before half time, Tom Brady connected on a 47 yard touchdown pass with Antonio Brown to put the Bucs back on top before the half.
Gronk At The Double
A Zuerlein field goal at the start of the third quarter narrowed the gap to 19-21 for the Cowboys, but after Dak Prescott was intercepted, Tom Brady hit Rob Gronkowski for his second touchdown of the game to put the Bucs ahead 28-19.
However, Prescott responded again, hitting Amari Cooper for 21 yards for a touchdown to bring the score back to 26-28 heading into the fourth.
A tight fourth quarter saw the Cowboys punt, before the Bucs ran six minutes off the clock however a pass play to Chris Godwin saw Godwin fumble the ball right at the goal line and the Cowboys recover.
Prescott then led his team on a 75 yard drive with Zuerlein seemingly redeeming himself hitting the 48 yard field goal to put the Cowboys up 29-28 with 84 seconds left in the game.
However, Brady led his team on an 11-play drive to set up Ryan Succop for the game winning score.
Although the Bucs won the game, the defending Super Bowl Champions struggled against Prescott’s passing all game. The Cowboys had more time of possession, more yards on offense, fewer turnovers and more first downs, but ultimately those missed field goals proved crucial.
Certainly it was an impressive Cowboys showing, even in defeat and will give the team confidence heading into the NFC East, a division they will feel they can be very strong in this season.
— Sunday Night Football on NBC (@SNFonNBC) September 10, 2021
For the Bucs, it is a win but one on which the team can work on some issues, notably reducing those turnovers as on another day, the Cowboys would have won this game.
It was a fantastic start to the season and means that we cannot wait for Sunday to come along!