12: 14 AM ET
Jenna LaineESPN Workers Author
- Lined the Buccaneers since 2009
- Joined ESPN in 2016
TAMPA, Fla. — The “Tommy and Gronky” reward with Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady and tight cease Grab Gronkowski picked up lawful where it left off, with two touchdowns — or “tuddies,” as they name them — matching their two “tuddies” from Trim Bowl LV in a riveting 31-29 decide over the Dallas Cowboys within the NFL Kickoff Game on Thursday night time.
Brady’s 11-yard, third-quarter strike to Gronkowski used to be the pair’s 100th landing connection together — the first time a quarterback and tight cease maintain curved up for 100 rankings, inserting them within the back of easiest Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison (114) for basically the most landing connections of all time.
“Tom made a huge name,” Gronkowski acknowledged. “I focal level on I was truly on a route, after which he checked me into blocking off, then checked me into blocking off and releasing. I was recognize, oh man, he lawful sees all of it on the sphere, it be spectacular. He’s been playing for recognize 80 years, so he’s viewed every defense and every participant.”
But no longer like within the Trim Bowl, where Tampa Bay’s defense orchestrated a shut to shutout of Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs, the Buccaneers wanted Brady and Gronkowski to non-public them. The 44-yr-frail, starting his 300th profession game, threw for 379 yards, 4 touchdowns and a pair of interceptions, with Gronkowski accounting for 90 receiving yards and Antonio Brown and Chris Godwin each eclipsing 100 yards.
Brady also orchestrated an 11-play, 57-yard force with lower than two minutes to stagger within the fourth quarter to salvage 22 situation up the winning field goal from 36 yards out by kicker Ryan Succop, marking the 40th fourth-quarter comeback of Brady’s profession.
“There used to be no question that we had been going to come to a decision the game. With him, it be who is going to make plays?” coach Bruce Arians acknowledged of Brady. “Guys up entrance did a hell of a job conserving, and guys went and got birth.”
“I was quite determined we had been going to maintain a gamble,” acknowledged Succop, who used to be activated from the reserve/COVID-19 checklist one week within the past. “Clearly he is mainly the most attention-grabbing quarterback of all time, basically the most attention-grabbing participant of all time. He’s so peaceful, so nonetheless. His poise — I focal level on it permeates each person, and each person goes out and plays better thanks to him.”
Shutting down Ezekiel Elliott and rendering the Cowboys one-dimensional — the Buccaneers’ defense’s goal all week — supposed quarterback Dak Prescott might perchance perchance perchance showcase easiest his trio of talented wide receivers in Michael Gallup, CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper whereas throwing for 403 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. Even within the absence of Cowboys heart Zack Martin thanks to COVID-19 and having no longer executed within the preseason whereas convalescing from ankle and shoulder injuries, Prescott carved up the Buccaneers’ defense, rendering many of their blitzes ineffective.
To make issues worse, the Buccaneers misplaced starting cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting within the first quarter to a dislocated elbow, and the Cowboys chose to constantly decide on third cornerback Jamel Dean. The Buccaneers had been also with out starting stable safety Jordan Whitehead, who used to be held out of the game with a hamstring wretchedness.
The Buccaneers made enough timely plays, despite the game nearly slipping away unhurried within the fourth quarter when Godwin spun his map toward the cease zone and coughed up the ball at the 2-yard line. That salvage 22 situation up a force by Dallas that ended with a 48-yard field goal by Greg Zuerlein to give the Cowboys a 29-28 lead with 1: 29 to stagger.
But Godwin redeemed himself with a compulsory 24-yard sideline take dangle of with 24 seconds left, developing Succop’s kick. Gronkowski contributed catches of 6 and 20 yards on the last force as smartly.
“I realized a in point of fact lengthy time within the past that you just accumulate no longer be taught one thing more from shedding than you attain from almost shedding,” Arians acknowledged. “We now maintain got plenty to be taught. Clearly, no longer gay with the open up of the game. Beloved the cease. Our guys are winners. They are going to total and they’re going to come to a decision, however we can play better and never assign ourselves in that wretchedness. Clearly, there might perchance be turnovers, penalties, issues we can enhance on, however our guys fought and received the game.”
Tampa Bay’s decide improved Trim Bowl champions to 38-16-1 all time in season openers.