Buccaneers break Cowboys’ hearts with last-second field goal, 31-29

Dallas Cowboys v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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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.

Tom Brady and Dak Prescott had a showdown for the ages, combining for 782 passing yards and seven passing touchdowns. The teams had a combined 882 yards.

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.

110 responses to “Buccaneers break Cowboys’ hearts with last-second field goal, 31-29

  1. Tom Brady intentionally grounded the ball. Just because a wide receiver runs the wrong route does not mean Brady can throw it away deep while he is in the pocket. That is the rule….

    Then the offensive pass interference happens on the next play to top it all off. I’m not sure what the ref was looking at.

    The Bucs were just gifted a win.

  2. Godwin clearly pushed off. Also how come Brady can throw 3 uncatchable balls while inside the tackle box? Shouldn’t that be intentional grounding

  3. No call push off on a crucial drive. The defending superbowl champions losing at home in the opener is bad for business apparently. Ok, got it!

  4. The Bucs dodged a bullet. Wishing them the best but repeating will not be easy. The Cowboys will be a force to be reckoned with, and so will a lot of other teams. Sunday should be fun. 

  5. The Bucs turn the ball over 4 times and still win…
    The Cowboys really on field goals and not TDs…

    The Cowboys still need a lot of work…
    At least the turnovers kept it close and made it interesting game..
    BUT clearly the better eteam won!

  6. Pretty good first game hate to admit it but Prescott looked better than I thought he would. Old Man Tom balling out despite the picks and Greg Zurlein missing multiple kicks were the story of this game. The face mask against the Bucs and the non pushoff on Godwin were suspect but the result was correct. Nice job Tommy Boy.

  7. You hate to talk about officiating in a game like this, but it has to be said.

    There was a blatant uncalled offensive pass interference on the game-winning drive.

    On at least two occasions, Tampa players took off their helmets on the field–one of which was after a critical third-down stop–which is supposed to be unsportsmanlike conduct and a fifteen yard penalty. Neither of them was called.

    On back-to-back plays, a Tampa WR got in the face of a defender and talked trash–which is not only supposed to be unsportsmanlike conduct, but was supposed to be a point of emphasis this year. Neither was called.

    Congrats to the Bucs on the win, but we can all see that the Brady Rules are still in effect.

  8. looked pretty clear Godwin committee PI to me by the letter of the law.

    I have no issue with the refs saying that’s not PI if they do it every time, but they don’t, and the rules for PI are pretty clear. I also find it hard to believe that play slides if it was a player on a non- marquee team doing it to a marquee team.

    I also hate the cowboys , and had zero rooting interest in the game, so I have no bias here.

    NFL just can’t get out of their own way with officiating.

  9. All the experts had the Cowboys getting blown out of this game, but having the lead with less than a minute to go means this team is better than people thought. I’ll take this game and move on to next week. The defense looks better, and Dak was great.

  10. I would say Jerry Jones didn’t look to happy with his team tonight. I think a mix of bad play calling on the coaching staff and lewis trying to run out of the end zone on the fumble was a bad mistake. Ball at the 25 would have given them more cushion instead of their backs against the goal line. Bad coaching again.

  11. Last drive non-called but clear OPI helped Brady and Co out a bit too might add. But they were 8.5 point favorites. A decent team (one not +8.5) might argue with “difficult to beat”.

  12. I love how it’s relayed as if the Cowboys didn’t have a lot to do with those turnovers and mistakes that they had. Truth be told, they should have had more, and the refs missed an obvious pushoff at the end. Dallas missed a lot of opportunities in this game, but they looked far improved. My joke in the off-season about this being one of their good years out of five might actually be true.

  13. If the cowboys and dak keep playing like that, then they have a fan in me. They played all out, and their young defensive playmakers showed a ton of promise. It was a great game to watch to open up the season.

  14. I think everyone knew how those last 90 seconds would go. The Cowboys look like they will be a tough out for everyone. Overall an excellent game to start the season!

  15. Cowboys lost because the ref was too chicken to call offensive pass interference that set up the winning field goal, but when your Tom Brady you get those non calls.

  16. Is this how it’s going to be all season? That was a disgraceful non-call. Only with Brady will this happen. Jeez Goodell, just give the Bucs the Lombardi now.

  17. I have to admit I was wrong about the cowboys. They looked very good tonight and should win their division.

  18. Not making an excuse but to call holding on tyron smith on dallas’s final drive and to not call offensive pass interference on Tampa Bay on there final drive shouldn’t happen let them play or call it equally.

  19. It’s only been 30 years of fail, Jones morons, but who’s counting. Can someone talk Jimmy out of retirement?

  20. Great start to the season (if you are the NFL) I had no skin in this game, but the OPI non-call that put the Bucs in FG position was BS. In fact many of the penalty calls were BS.
    But, that’s today’s NFL where the mantra is, “who we want to win will win, any questions?”

  21. I know this will enrage some people, but McCarthy should have never kicked that FG on 4th and 6 with 1:30 left. That was as good as handing the game to Brady and Tampa. He had an offense that had moved the ball all night and needed 6 yards to control the outcome of the game to the final second. The right move was to put the ball in Dak’s hands and take your best shot at winning. I know that almost no coach would do that, although Belichick went on 4th down deep in his own territory to try to avoid giving Peyton the ball. And Tomlin kicked a surprise onside kick with the lead and 3 minutes left to try not to give Rogers the ball. Those were gutsy and smart coaching moves by guys who feel empowered to play to win without a fear of immediate judgment and retribution from their boss. I highly doubt McCarthy feels that way in Dallas.

  22. Another case of the Rams getting it right: moving on from Greg the Leg and long snapper Jake McQuaide, the two goats (not GOATS) for this game. Add them to the list of great Rams that the team let walk into oblivion.

  23. You mean the Refs broke the Cowboys hearts right? I swear I wonder why I watch the NFL at all sometimes. There is no defense of that call.

  24. The cowboys should not have been in this game anyway. They got 2 really short fields one on a gift turnover and for whatever reason 14 tried to get one extra yard and fumbled away what would have been the put away score. Then the cowboys choked the final drive with bad penalties. Dak threw the ball near 60 times. You can’t win that way week in week out.

    The cowboys are a 7 win team at best. The sad part, and I say this as an Eagles fan, that might be enough to win the division.

  25. You have to wonder if Dak’s shoulder can withstand weekly stints of 50+ passes. But dang he looked good tonight.

  26. Brady is so automatic that even at age 44 no one in the media really marveled about the comeback he led. He somehow still has his physical skills and conditioning and could easily be most of those guys’ professor, if not their dad. I’m guessing he must feel nearly infallible when faced with driving the ball down the field at the end.

  27. Lets not talk about how both defenses royally sucked. We’ll save that for another day, I suppose.

  28. That was a great game last night. Obviously the Bucs and Brady are super elite. I was so impressed by the Cowboys performance last night and Dak was amazing. His arm actually looked stronger last night. Cowboys are back finally. What a great way to start off the NFL season

  29. Headline should read “Refs break Cowboys Heart “..because that was OPI …bad no call!!! Ref was right there!!!

  30. Damn that was a bad game by the BUCS all around. Yes they should score on Dallas they have a horrible defense. The BUCS defense got torched be thankful that was Dallas.

  31. That’s a Dan Quinn defense right there. That Cowboys fans were excited about his hiring was always hilarious. He is terrible at his job unless he has Kam Chancellor, Michael Bennett, R Sherman, Wright, etc all in their primes.

  32. Bucs lose if the refs call the obvious push off on Godwin on that last drive. But we’re used to this with Brady’s teams. Great game though. Good to see Dak play so well.

  33. Tampa Bay proved that they’ll be tough this year, but have a ton to work on. Those sloppy turnovers and penalties have to get cleaned up.

    Dallas proved that Dak is back and they ran roughshod on this Tampa Bay defense hat was so heralded. Micah Parsons is the real deal too.

    Watching vintage Brady/Gronk was fun but I don’t know if Gronks body will hold up with the work he put in last night. He was eased into it last year and was a force down the stretch. That’s what they’ll need in the playoffs from him, so hopefully they put him on a pitch count this season and don’t bang him up.

  34. Dallas showed a lot more fight than I expected. If they keep fighting like that it will probably win them the division.

  35. ryguy1269 says:
    September 10, 2021 at 7:59 am
    PUSH OFF!

    You know what else they could have called on that play , illegal contact.. The DB was holding the WR forearm.

    But lets CRY about the refs and NOT mention the 3 missed FG

  36. Tampa is good but that game was very winnable by Dallas. Missed extra point and fg, not converting, dropped passes, etc. and the missed offensive pi. Was a clear push off, arm extended to get separation. That has to be called.

  37. I understood people being against Daks holdout on his contract but never understood people who said he implied that he sucked. He’s legit and if he stays healthy the cowboys should win that division.

  38. The refs solidified that one for TB. The missed OPI and offside on the final TB drive were blatantly obvious. Greg the leg should also get some blame, but the Cowboys were hosed in what was otherwise was a fantastic game. Classic.

  39. If Dallas had any red zone offense to speak of this game wouldn’t have been close. Both defenses appear to suck. Dallas front can’t get to the qb and the BUCS better get there because they ain’t covering nobody.

  40. Brady still throws ropes.

    Dallas lose because they couldn’t turn four turnovers into meaningful points. Turnovers into points?, bad ref calls don’t mattew.

    Does Dallas have a pass rush or is TB OL suspect?

  41. wardo says:
    September 10, 2021 at 12:09 am
    Tom Brady intentionally grounded the ball. Just because a wide receiver runs the wrong route does not mean Brady can throw it away deep while he is in the pocket. That is the rule….

    WRONG

    Its not intentional grounding if a receiver is in the area. Just because YOU couldn’t see him on your TV doesnt mean he wasnt in the area

  42. Cowboy loses are even better when they lose it at the end; it was a beautiful thing to watch. Dak looked so happy with 1:24 to go and then a few minutes later and he did not look so happy. Thanks Tom!!!

  43. Have to love when the Cowboys get 5 phony pass interference calls their way that lead to 9 points yet they complain about the non call. Face the facts Cowboys fans you didn’t deserve to win at all.

  44. with 24 seconds left two intentional grounding calls missed and one OPI. Tell me the fix wasn’t in.

  45. I can see the Cowboys spent all off-season preparing for this one game against the defending champs. Sometimes you get that motivation gap. Like when every team played the 2007 Patriots after they started 5 – 0.

  46. And why not? The very last game played was the Super Bowl on this same field against this same team. I’d spend MY entire off-season preparing for this game and seeing how I compare against the Bucs and the team they decimated 31 – 9 (Chiefs)

  47. bgrab1 says:
    September 10, 2021 at 9:13 am
    with 24 seconds left two intentional grounding calls missed and one OPI. Tell me the fix wasn’t in.

    MY GOD! They weren’t missed because they were NOT intentional grounding both had a WR in the area. ITS ALLOWED even if the QB is in the pocket.

  48. There was a lot of holding from the Cowboys in the last minutes of the game that was not called either. Don’t blame the refs, they didn’t convert when they needed to. Had the offense done it’s job properly, you would have to lean on the refs again.

  49. I feel like I have watched that ending a million times before. Why don’t the cowboys take a chance and go for it on the last drive instead of making the right “football play” and kick the FG. You give the goat Brady plenty of time to win that game and did anyone think something else would happen? Maybe the right football play is trying to keep your drive alive and eat more clock so Brady can’t beat you in the end.

  50. bgrab1 says:
    September 10, 2021 at 9:13 am
    with 24 seconds left two intentional grounding calls missed and one OPI. Tell me the fix wasn’t in.

    The fix wasn’t in. Missed FG and extra point, Drops by Dallas receivers. No fix here.

  51. Between their kicker leaving 7 points on the field and CeeDee Lamb’s butter fingers killing drives and causing a turn-over, Dallas could have easily won that game going away.

  52. I did not know a “could be flag” on 2nd and 10 would mean an absolute loss for Tampa. If the call was made Brady still could have thrown his next completed pass to get in FG range. Nice to see people already crying this season. Let’s just be happy football is back. Fun game to watch.

  53. The Bucs receivers always get away with OPI. Gronk, Evans, and Godwin ALL push off to gain separation routinely.

  54. I think people need to look up the rule on grounding before deciding Brady throwing the ball out of bounds is grounding. Also, well Done Dak, another moral victory with big numbers. It’s like 2020 all over again.

  55. VisionTim says:
    September 10, 2021 at 9:26 am
    There was a lot of holding from the Cowboys in the last minutes of the game that was not called either. Don’t blame the refs, they didn’t convert when they needed to. Had the offense done it’s job properly, you would have to lean on the refs again.


    Don’t you know there is no such thing as personal accountability. its just easier to blame the refs.

  56. These are who the Cowboys are. They’re “almost” a contender, Dak is “almost” an elite QB, it’s “almost” right down the line. But for every outing like last night you’ll get a game where they somehow will lose to the Giants and when everything gets totaled up at the end of the year they’ll be around .500 but with another positives it’ll sure feel like they were better than that even though they weren’t.

  57. flash1224 says:
    September 10, 2021 at 8:54 a

    WRONG

    Its not intentional grounding if a receiver is in the area. Just because YOU couldn’t see him on your TV doesnt mean he wasnt in the area

    ————————

    Um, he threw the ball to an area of the field that did not have a receiver anywhere near it. The receiver stopped. That is intentional grounding.

    Raiders/Colts, 2016. Seth Roberts runs the wrong route. Carr overthrows him. Gets called for intentional grounding because there wasn’t a receiver in the area. Carr breaks leg on next play….

  58. Losing to Brady turns too many adults into crying 6 year olds who lay blame and excuse-make all around. 20 years of this has really affected their logic.

    Dallas benefitted from a ton of questionable calls, but you won’t hear any of that from those people. The game is 60 minutes.

    Maybe you all missed the part where Brady threw for 4 touchdowns and nearly 400 yards.

    Of course you won’t give credit there—it would hurt your fragile egos too much.

    I look forward to the future belly-aching as the W’s pile up on TB’s side this year. I’m sure there’ll be some unique excuses once again and they’ll be hilarious as usual.

  59. Well… the Bucs sure gave the Cowboy lots opportunity to break the Bucs’ heart. The Bucs should have won or lost this game with more points.

  60. If I was either team I would be worried about my defense isn’t it always said defense is ahead of the offense?

  61. I despise both these teams but I despise refs deciding the game more. PLEASE don’t let this be an indication of the season to come. Please.

  62. wardo says:
    September 10, 2021 at 10:20 am
    flash1224 says:
    September 10, 2021 at 8:54 a

    WRONG

    Its not intentional grounding if a receiver is in the area. Just because YOU couldn’t see him on your TV doesnt mean he wasnt in the area

    ————————

    Um, he threw the ball to an area of the field that did not have a receiver anywhere near it. The receiver stopped. That is intentional grounding.

    Raiders/Colts, 2016. Seth Roberts runs the wrong route. Carr overthrows him. Gets called for intentional grounding because there wasn’t a receiver in the area. Carr breaks leg on next play….

    um WRONG AGAIN!!!

    Check the rule for intentional grounding!!! The FIRST line of the rule read AND is the most IMPORTANT part of the rule…”It is a foul for intentional grounding if a passer, facing an imminent loss of yardage because of pressure from the defense”

    1st He WASNT “UNDER OR FACING an imminent loss of yardage because of pressure”

    The receiver simply ran the wrong rout and the ball was thrown to
    an area he was supposed to be it happens all the time and they never call it.

    Maybe in your example they felt Carr was under pressure when he threw the pass, i don’t know I didn’t see it but that’s the rule.

  63. ryguy1269 says:
    September 10, 2021 at 7:59 am
    PUSH OFF!

    You know what else they could have called on that play , illegal contact.. The DB was holding the WR forearm.

    But lets CRY about the refs and NOT mention the 3 missed FG
    ————

    You’re missing or ignoring the point. Any team could miss 3 FG or 6 FG and still be entitled to win, TB didn’t play an error free game either.
    All sports competitions whether amateur or professional are meant to be a contest solely between/among opponents, with no outside interference. That’s the premise of sports.

    What happened to the Saints against the Rams in the playoffs a few years ago is another prime example. Third 3rd party interference, (officiating and league management) continues to blemish the NFL.
    Without that interference the New Orlean Saints would likely have advanced and rightly so.

    There’s no excuse for incompetency.

  64. Great way to kick off the new season. Dak was terrific, Brady was Brady and a game that I thought might not be competitive came down to the final seconds. It’s fun to watch a game like this when you’re not a fan of either team. A few missed judgment calls is standard and there’s a lot of fans who will complain. I can’t figure out the helmet removal rule. I thought that was an automatic 15 yards. To ignore that was puzzling.

  65. The game was never really in doubt for me. Dallas offense couldn’t finish drives, Tampa could. Credit to that Tampa defense which although it doesn’t look as good as it did in the playoffs, it’s still very good.

  66. I’m sorry but if you’re going to blame the refs and non calls, then you should also be able to say that TB would’ve scored 3 more times if they did t turn it over. Cowboys would’ve been smoked.

    Once again Dak throwing the ball all over the place because they have zero running game. Zeke can be considered a bust at this point. If you’re paid that money you don’t use the opposing teams defensive ranking as an excuse to not run. 2 rushing titles then nothing.

    BUST. Nobody fears Zeke.

  67. The Cowboys would have beaten probably 28 of the other teams playing like they did last night. They had to play Brady and the Bucs, who are probably the best team in the league.

  68. If you bothered to look at the replay of the alleged OPI, the db had his hand all over Godwin and it could of been called DFI.

  69. Anyone who watched the tape of the Godwin/Lewis pass play at the end of the game closely will have to admit there was some embellishment on Lewis’s part! For him to fall like that he would have to be shoved hard!

  70. You’re missing or ignoring the point. Any team could miss 3 FG or 6 FG and still be entitled to win, TB didn’t play an error free game either.
    All sports competitions whether amateur or professional are meant to be a contest solely between/among opponents, with no outside interference. That’s the premise of sports.

    What happened to the Saints against the Rams in the playoffs a few years ago is another prime example. Third 3rd party interference, (officiating and league management) continues to blemish the NFL.
    Without that interference the New Orlean Saints would likely have advanced and rightly so.

    There’s no excuse for incompetency.

    Yes you are absolutely correct! But The saints call aside bad bad calls happen all the time and when you are watching on tv we have the benefit of seeing multiple slow mo replays. Officials see it one time in real speed mistakes will happen bad calls will happen they are human not robots. case in point in this same game they called a PI on Tampa DB and said he “grabbed the facemask” of the Dallas WR. The replay clearly showed he DID NOT.

    So to say they “lost the game” because of that is extreme especially since no one can say what would have happened on the next play IF they called OPI.

    Sorry it just seems like an easy excuse to blame the refs when the Cowboys had multiple chances to win the game.

  71. Here’s the deal. The only reason the question of offensive PI matters is because the Cowboys put their chance to win in the other team’s hands.

    The Cowboys were behind for the entire game until 90 seconds left. Zuerlein missed some kicks, but he was trying those kicks because the offense couldn’t get into the end zone on those drives, and stalled out on other promising drives and punted. A big reason they kept stalling on drives is because they had no running game – their mega-bucks RB was MIA. Prescott made a lot happen, which tends to happen when you throw 60 times, but didn’t make things happen at key points along the way.

    This is the difference between good and great teams. Cowboys fans are very familiar with this phenomenon.

  72. VisionTim says:
    September 10, 2021 at 9:26 am
    There was a lot of holding from the Cowboys in the last minutes of the game that was not called either. Don’t blame the refs, they didn’t convert when they needed to. Had the offense done it’s job properly, you would have to lean on the refs again.

    —————————-
    You mean like the two holding calls that were called on their final drive? Yeah…ok that’s what I thought. They had to overcome those calls so why is it any different for a penalty to be called against a skill player as opposed to an OL?

  73. jerrysglassescleaner says:
    September 10, 2021 at 12:10 am
    No call push off on a crucial drive. The defending superbowl champions losing at home in the opener is bad for business apparently. Ok, got it!
    —————————————————
    Retribution for the Drew Pearson push off against the Vikings.

  74. Without the fluky turnovers Dallas would have been blown out. Credit to their offense for keeping Tampa on their heels though. I was surprised they stayed in it for so long.

  75. Intentional grounding? Helmets removed is a penalty? Perhaps you should grasp the rules before commenting. There were receivers lined up on the on the end where the passes were thrown – being in the pocket still bears no relevance. As for the helmet removal if you will read the rule it is specifies this is for unsportsmanlike conduct when celebrating or taunting the other team/players – that clearly was not the case.

  76. I am not going to be a sore loser by calling every Brady win lucky. That’s foe whiners. Yes, him beating us in last year’s NFC championship game still burns but this is a new season and if the Packers want to win they need to play better and us fans need to stop making excuses for their failures.

  77. nygiantsownbrady says:
    September 10, 2021 at 12:09 am
    Offensive pass interferenc

    ==============================

    Defender was grasping before the contact and was on his heels in the opposite direction. Don’t let the facts stop ya.

  78. Chill_Mickelson says:
    September 10, 2021 at 1:49 pm
    nygiantsownbrady says:
    September 10, 2021 at 12:09 am
    Offensive pass interferenc

    ==============================

    Defender was grasping before the contact and was on his heels in the opposite direction. Don’t let the facts stop ya.

    —————-11

    After watching it 5-6 more times in slow motion, it was a great non-call and Lewis even made sure to flop for good measure after the falling down of his own doing. Anyone complaining about this play should have their eyes checked.

  79. Hard to win a close game when your Kicker leaves 7 points on the field.

    ————

    7 points??? I will concede the 1st missed FG and the missed PAT but you really gonna hold that 60 yard attempt against Zuerlein???

  80. Cowboys fans here are crying so much, the Cowboys just announced they have struck a deal to rename their facility “Kleenex Stadium”.

    All of you are complaining about the non-call on Godwin, but the Bucs had TWICE the penalty yards of the Cowboys. Without the turnovers, this game wouldn’t have even been close. I don’t think the Bucs can play much worse, and I don’t think the Cowboys can play much better, but enjoy your ‘moral victory’…

  81. All the moronic cowboy fans, including Skip, calling for super bowl now. I guess cowboys have a chance if every team forks over five turnovers.

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