Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski carry Tampa Bay Buccaneers past Dallas Cowboys

TAMPA, Fla. — The “Tommy and Gronky” present with Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady and tight finish Rob Gronkowski picked up proper the place it left off a mere seven months and two days in the past: with two touchdowns, or “tuddies,” as they name them, matching their two “tuddies” from Tremendous Bowl LV, in a riveting 31-29 win over the Dallas Cowboys within the NFL Kickoff Sport Thursday night time.

Brady’s third-quarter 11-yard strike to Gronkowski was the pair’s one centesimal landing connection collectively — the primary time a quarterback and tight finish have connected for 100 scores, placing them behind solely Peyton Manning and Rodney Harrison (114) for many landing connections of all time.

However in contrast to within the Tremendous Bowl, the place the Buccaneers protection orchestrated a near-shutout of Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs, Tampa Bay wanted Brady and Gronkowski to hold them. The 44-year-old, beginning his three hundredth profession recreation, threw for 379 yards, 4 touchdowns and two interceptions, with Gronkowski accounting for 90 receiving yards and Antonio Brown and Chris Godwin each eclipsing 100 yards.

Brady additionally orchestrated an 11-play, 57-yard drive with 1:22 to go within the fourth quarter to arrange the game-winning area purpose.

Shutting down Ezekiel Elliott and rendering the Cowboys one-dimensional — the Bucs’ protection’s purpose all week — solely meant quarterback Dak Prescott may showcase his trio of gifted receivers in Michael Gallop, C.D. Lamb and Amari Cooper, throwing for 403 yards and three touchdowns. Even within the absence of Cowboys middle Zack Martin because of COVID-19, and with no preseason because of his restoration from ankle and shoulder accidents, Prescott carved up the Bucs’ protection, rendering a lot of their blitzes ineffective.

To make issues worse, the Bucs misplaced beginning cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting within the first quarter to an elbow harm and the Cowboys selected to repeatedly choose on third cornerback Jamel Dean. The Bucs have been additionally with out beginning sturdy security Jordan Whitehead, who was held out of the sport with a hamstring harm.

They made sufficient well timed performs, regardless of the sport almost slipping away fairly actually late within the fourth quarter when Godwin, spun his approach in direction of the top zone and coughed up the ball on the 2-yard line. That arrange a drive by Dallas that ended up with a 48-yard area purpose by Greg Zuerlein to provide the Cowboys a 29-28 lead with 1:29 to go.

Tampa Bay’s win improved Tremendous Bowl champions to 38-16-1 all-time in season openers. | Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski carry Tampa Bay Buccaneers previous Dallas Cowboys


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