Ryan Succop booted a 36-yard field goal with two seconds left, Tom Brady passed for 379 yards and four touchdowns and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers began defense of their Super Bowl crown with a 31-29 victory over the visiting Dallas Cowboys on Thursday night in the opening game of the NFL season.
The Cowboys rallied to take a 29-28 lead when Greg Zuerlein hammered a 48-yard field goal with 1:24 remaining before Brady drove the Buccaneers 57 yards on 11 plays to set up Succop’s decisive kick.
Brady, 44, completed 32 of 50 passes and was intercepted twice during his 300th career regular-season start.
Rob Gronkowski caught eight passes for 90 yards and two touchdown passes while Antonio Brown (five receptions, 121 yards) and Chris Godwin (nine for 105) also had scoring receptions for the Buccaneers (1-0).
Dak Prescott amassed 403 yards, three touchdowns and one interception on 42-of-58 passing for Dallas (0-1) in his first game since sustaining a severe right ankle injury nearly 11 months ago. Amari Cooper had a career-best 13 receptions for 139 yards and two touchdowns while CeeDee Lamb had seven catches for 104 yards and a score.
Tampa Bay led by two late in the game and looked en route to adding to the advantage, but Godwin was hit hard by Damontae Kazee and fumbled at the 2-yard line. Jourdan Lewis recovered and returned it to the Dallas 10 with 4:52 remaining.
The Cowboys responded with an 11-play, 60-yard drive to set up Zuerlein’s go-ahead kick. The key play was when Prescott connected with Lamb for 34 yards on third-and-11 to the Buccaneers’ 34.
But Brady guided the comeback on a night when the Buccaneers were outgained 451 yards to 431.
The Cowboys were without six-time Pro Bowl guard Zack Martin due to a positive test for COVID-19.
Zuerlein kicked a 21-yard field goal with 9:15 left in the third quarter to pull Dallas within 21-19.
Brady beat the blitz with an 11-yard scoring pass to Gronkowski to make it 28-19 with 6:23 left in the third, and Prescott answered with a 21-yard scoring pass to Cooper to bring the Cowboys within two.
In the first half, Brady threw touchdown passes to Godwin (5 yards), Gronkowski (2) and Brown (47) as the Buccaneers built a 21-16 lead. Prescott tossed scoring passes to Lamb (22 yards) and Cooper (5).
Brown’s touchdown catch gave Tampa Bay the five-point lead with 2:38 left in the half.
–Field Level Media