The Bucs opened the NFL season in dramatic fashion with a last-second field goal to win against the Cowboys, 31-29. After the Cowboys took a 29-28 lead following a Chris Godwin fumble at the Dallas 2-yard line, Tom Brady led the Bucs down the field to set up a 36-yard game-winning field goal from Ryan Succop. Godwin made a clutch 24-yard catch to put the Bucs in Succop’s range.

Turnovers were a big part of the game with Tampa Bay giving it away four times on the night. The defense would struggle mightily against Dak Prescott and the Cowboys offense. Missed tackles and soft coverage allowed Prescott to pick apart the Bucs defense to the tune of 403 yards and 29 points. Wide receivers Amari Cooper and Ceedee Lamb would each go over 100 yards and score a touchdown. Cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting suffered a dislocated elbow and missed most of the game, which didn’t help the Bucs secondary.

Brady would throw for 379 yards and four touchdowns but also had two interceptions. Big games by Rob Gronkowski (8-90-2), Chris Godwin (9-105-1) and Antonio Brown (5-121-1) would help propel Tampa Bay to its first win of the season.

The Bucs would receive the ball to start the game, but wouldn’t get much going. After a quick three-and-out by the offense, a beautifully placed punt by Bradley Pinion pinned Dallas at the 2-yard line. Dallas got off to a hot start marching down the field but a false start by the entire offensive line stalled the drive in its track. It was then the Bucs time to go to work and that’s exactly what they did. Tom Brady led the offense 94 yards down the field on nine plays connecting on a 5-yard touchdown to Godwin. Big Plays of 20-plus yards to Brown and Gronkowski would help move the chains.

The Cowboys would answer right back on a 75-yard drive led by Prescott. Cee Dee Lamb would be the recipient on the 22-yard touchdown. Murphy-Bunting was injured on the play after colliding with safety Antoine Winfield Jr. He would be ruled out for the remainder of the game with an elbow injury.

After quick possessions that ended in punts for both teams, the Bucs would get back to work on offense. Driving 50 yards on 6 plays, Brady found old friend Rob Gronkowski for his first “Tuddie” of the season from two yards out. Brady would connect with Godwin ona 19-yard catch and a 17-yard catch and run to help set up the score.

On the ensuing drive the Cowboys would travel 62-yards into Bucs territory. After a near pick in the endzone by Carlton Davis on third-and-three, Dallas kicker Greg Zuerlein missed on a 31-yard field goal attempt. On the Bucs first play after the missed field goal, Ronald Jones II would fumble the ball with a Dallas recovery. Working with a short field the Cowboys would eventually capitalize with a 5-yard touchdown by Amari Cooper. A missed PAT by Zuerlein would leave the Bucs leading 14-13.

The next drive for the Bucs would end very much like the last. A screen pass set up for Leonard Fournette would go off his fingertips and end up in Cowboys corner Trevon Diggs hands for the interception. Dallas’ drive would almost end by a near interception of his own by Lavonte David.  It would force a successful field goal try from the Cowboys.

It wouldn’t take very long for the Bucs to answer back. A 41-yard kick return by Jaydon Mickens would set the team up with great field position. After a 10-yard reception by Godwin, Brady would heave the ball 47 yards for a Brown touchdown.

A sack by Shaq Barrett and a big pressure by him on the next play would set up an unsuccessful Dallas field goal attempt. Brady would try a hail mary throw from the 50-yard line with six seconds left in the second quarter. It would result in a 66-yard interception by Jourdan Lewis to end the first half.

The Bucs would take a 21-16 lead into halftime.

The Cowboys would open the second half with a 72-yard drive to the Tampa 2-yard line. The Bucs defense would come up with a big stop and hold Dallas to only three points on the drive. Following a three-and-out by the Bucs, Carlton Davis III would come up with a huge interception that bounced off the fingertips of Lamb. Brady would find Gronk for a 20-yard catch on the first play of the drive. He would find him again for the touchdown from 11-yards out.

The Cowboys would answer right back on a 10 play 75-yard drive resulting in an 21-yard Amari Cooper touchdown. The Cowboys would however lose Michael Gallup on the drive with an ankle injury. Back to Back punts by both teams would set the Bucs up with the ball on a pivotal drive. Leading 28-26, with 10:54 remaining in the fourth quarter the Bucs would chew up over five minutes on the drive before a fumble by Godwin would give the Cowboys the ball back on the Dallas 11-yard line.

Dallas would march down the field, converting on two big third downs, and take a 29-18 lead on a 48-yard field goal. With 1:24 remaining, Brady, the king of comebacks, would lead the Bucs on a 57-yard drive for a game winning 36-yard field goal by Succop with two seconds remaining.



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About the Author: J.C. Allen

J.C. Allen is one of’s newest beat writers. As a New England transplant, he has closely followed Tom Brady’s entire career and first fell in love with the game during the Patriots 1996 Super Bowl run. J.C. is in his second year covering the team after spending a year with Bucs Report as a writer, producer and show host. Some of his other interests include barbecuing, being outdoors, and spending time with family and friends. His favorite Buccaneer of all time is Simeon Rice and believes he deserves a spot in Canton. Follow J.C. Allen on Twitter @JCAllenNFL.
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1 month ago
Talk about a squeaker.  It takes no less than the GOAT, Gronk, and AB to keep the Bucs from imploding when things are going too well.  Oh, and a legit kicker finally.  #ItsABucsLife
Last edited 1 month ago by fl0nase
1 month ago

I only got to watch the 1st half. It really looked like our defense was not ready for primetime. We made Prescott look all world. But Luckily we pulled it out. Because losing the first game to an NFC East team that didn’t even have a winning season would be tragic.

Reply to  seat26
1 month ago

Prescott pretty much IS all world. Last season, in 5 games before he broke his ankle, Prescott was passing at a blistering pace of 6,700 yards per season, easily breaking the all time record.

A lot of people anticipated, as it turned out wrongly, that Prescott and the Cowboys offense would play easy and soft, relying heavily on their excellent rushing attack. Instead they made the game a pass-fest. The defense was not quite prepared for such a pass heavy game, but the rush defense again proved stultifying even on the rushes the Cowboys did attempt.

1 month ago

Gees, this team played the worst game it couldve possibly played, and still one. The special teams and brady won this game. Rojo fumbles and coach sits him for the game. Fournette has one boince right off his hands for a pick amd he stays. Not sure why such tough love for rojo. The offensive lined played fantastic. Brady had a pretty clean jersey. Running backs, not so much. Dumb penalties and a boat load of just silly turnovers along withsome dropped passes. But the goat was just the goat. This defense got lit up in the secondary, but thats… Read more »

Reply to  cgmaster27
1 month ago

Rojo fumbled it away, and did not run strongly before or after.

The tough love for Playoff Lenny is ridiculous. He was instrumental in our drives late in the first quarter that literally won the game. He had one pass that he failed to real in, but then Evans and Godwin each had multiple dropped balls in the game, plus a fumble by Godwin. What, no tough love for them?


Reply to  Naplesfan
1 month ago

Lenny had 2 drops, not 1. Hes also just not a good runner. Yes he had a good catch when tom was falling,thats about it. Rojo feeds off of carries, you cant do that when you’re not playing. Rojo is a better runner and thats not even debateable. Both evans “drops” hit the defenders in the hands so ill five hin that, but he looked disengaged last night. As for godwin, ofcourse hes not going to sit, but he almost cost us the game. I have no problem saying that.

Mark Alsott
Reply to  cgmaster27
1 month ago

You write like a 5th grader.

1 month ago

You’d think after last year that Bowels would learn to stop playing his corners 8-10 yards off the line. Dallas shredded us with those quick passes to the sides for a first down. Got to play no more than 5 yards off. Davis almost pick 6’s one of these types of passes when he broke on the pass. But he was off several yards to start. just a couple more yards up would have made the difference. I feel like I’m watching a Todd Grantham defense. Let your DB’s make the plays. Better to get burned big and quick than… Read more »

Reply to  BucHarbour
1 month ago

In my opinion Dallas devised a great offensive game plan to protect Dak by having him throw quick-hitting horizontal passes over and over to just keep waterboarding our defenders. I kept waiting for one of the CB’s to jump the rout and take it to the house. Davis did make the attempt once, but couldn’t make the pick. The stellar pass rush couldn’t get to # 4 fast enough. Then Dallas basically conceded to the Bucs vaunted run defense and only had a few here and there. I never expected Prescott to be as efficient and accurate as he was,… Read more »

1 month ago

Gotta say this is the worst game I think we’ll see from this team all year. To have 11 penalties, 4 turnovers, give up 29 and still win tells you that the only way this team will lose is if it beats itself. Heck the Cowboys even had more yards and crushed tamp on TOP. You’d look at the stats and wonder how Dallas lost this game. Brady is that answer. I know the secondary was getting torched but with bunting out, Whitehead not playing, and edwards cramping, they had to play off so as to not get beat. A… Read more »

1 month ago

I wondered why RoJo was benched but Fournette stayed after that ball bounced off his hands for int. Neither turnover is acceptable. I have always thought Prescott is over rated but have to admit played good game. I’d say great game but we did drop two int’s from him that likely would game not as close and our secondary helped make him look good. The penalties and turnovers will stop and not too concerned but I said this before season started this secondary is not fixed until I see it. Well I haven’t seen it. SMB sucked before went out.… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by fredster
1 month ago

Overall this was a really sloppy game. From penalties to mistakes and missed opportunities, it seemed we couldn’t get out of our own way. I’m hoping this was just a rust issue and I do believe that this will be corrected. The secondary is getting a lot of hate, but I think the lack of pressure up front was the biggest problem. Dallas does have a pretty strong Oline and Dak is pretty mobile though, so hopefully we won’t see much of this problem this year. The secondary played pretty well against probably the top receiving corps they’ll face all… Read more »