The defending Super Bowl champions opened the 2021 season by showing they are going to be tough to beat.
The Bucs had four turnovers and were minus-three in turnover ratio. They committed 11 penalties for 106 yards. They allowed 451 yards. They had the ball for 8 minutes, 54 seconds less than the Cowboys. They won anyway.
Ryan Succop, who just came off the COVID-19 reserve list, kicked a 36-yard field goal with two seconds left to give the Bucs a 31-29 victory in an instant classic.
Both quarterbacks led two-minute drives that ended in go-ahead field goals. It came down to who had the ball last, and that was Brady and the Bucs.
The Cowboys had a 10-play, 75-yard drive that began at their own 10. Greg Zuerlein, who missed an extra point, a 31-yard field goal and a 60-yard field goal in the first half, nailed a 48-yarder to give the Cowboys a 29-28 lead with 1:24 remaining.
It was too much time for Brady.
The Bucs went 57 yards in 11 plays, with Chris Godwin getting his redemption. Godwin, who dropped a potential touchdown on third down on one possession and fumbled into the end zone on another, caught a 24-yard pass (in which he may or may not have committed offensive pass interference) to the Dallas 18 with 18 seconds remaining. It set up Succop’s game-winner.
Brady completed 32 of 50 passes for 379 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions, one of which bounced off Leonard Fournette‘s hands and the other of which came on a Hail Mary. Antonio Brown caught five passes for 121 yards and a touchdown, while Godwin had nine receptions for 105 yards and a score and Rob Gronkowski added eight catches for 90 yards and two scores.
The Cowboys, who were heavy underdogs, showed promise with their performance providing hope to their long-suffering fans that they will contend this season.
Prescott, who had not played a game since Oct. 11, proved his surgically repaired ankle is fine. So is his shoulder strain, which kept him out of much of training camp and all of the preseason.
He tied his career-high with 58 attempts, completing 42 for 403 yards with three touchdowns and an interception that bounced off the hands of receiver CeeDee Lamb.
Amari Cooper caught 13 passes for 139 yards and two touchdowns, and Lamb caught seven receptions for 104 yards and a score.