NFL fans, rejoice — the 2021 season is officially here. The most popular league in the US launched with the defending Super Bowl Champions Tampa Bay Buccaneers hosting the Dallas Cowboys, and the champs pulled a last-minute win.
It was an ugly win for Tampa. While the defense won the Super Bowl, this time, they needed their seven-time champion, and record-holder QB, Tom Brady. Brady threw 379 yards with 4 TDs and two interceptions.
His 3rd quarter connection with Rob Gronkowski was the pair’s 100th score, the most between a QB and TE, and second all-time, behind Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison, with 114. It was Brady’s 40th fourth-quarter comeback of his career.
Brady also orchestrated a 57-yard, 11-play drive in the final two minutes to set up the winning field goal. Gronkowski finished with 90 receiving yards, and Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown got over 100 receiving yards.
But while those numbers look good on paper, there was another side of Tampa’s performance. The team recorded 11 penalties, 4 turnovers, 2 interceptions, at least 6 dropped passes, and converted less than half of their third downs.
In addition, the Cowboys, the world’s richest team, had more possession time, more passes, and more total yards, including Dak Prescott’s 403 passing yards. The Dallas QB did a great job at breaking the Tampa defense.
Credit should be given to the Buccaneers for shutting down Ezekiel Elliott, one of the Cowboys’ main targets and star players. That forced the Cowboys’ offense into a one-dimensional, passing game.
While Dallas saw themselves winning the game, leading 29-28 with 1:29 left on the clock, it was Tampa and 44-year-old Tom Brady who had the last laugh.
In his 22nd season, the veteran quarterback and future member of the Hall of Fame delivered another master performance to let everyone know that he’s not done and is here to win it all over again.