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Quarterback Tom Brady led the Bucs back from a 29-28 deficit to help Tampa Bay stun Dallas, 31-29, thanks to a 36-yard game-winning field goal from Ryan Succop. Brady and the offense racked up 431 yards and 31 points, but struggled with four turnovers. Several Bucs offensive players shined on Thursday Night Football, while Tampa Bay’s defense got shredded by Dak Prescott, who threw for 403 yards and three touchdowns.

Here are this week’s most impressive Buccaneers as Tampa Bay opened the season with a comeback win against Dallas.

QB Tom Brady

Bucs QB Tom Brady and WR Antonio Brown

Bucs QB Tom Brady and WR Antonio Brown – Photo by: USA Today

Brady started the game 6-of-8 for 86 yards and a touchdown. All of that yardage came on the second drive of the game, which was capped off by a 5-yard TD pass from Brady to wide receiver Chris Godwin. Brady found Godwin twice for gains of 19 and 17 yards and then hit tight end Rob Gronkowski for a 2-yard TD as the Bucs retook the lead, 14-7 in the second quarter. Brady would connect with Antonio Brown for a 47-yard touchdown in the second quarter, but had two interceptions. The first of which wasn’t his fault as it bounced off Leonard Fournette’s hands. The second came on a Hail Mary attempt. Brady found Gronkowski for an 11-yard score in the third quarter – his fourth of the night. Brady saved his best for last, leading Tampa Bay on an 11-play, 57-yard game-winning drive, which was capped off with Ryan Succop’s 36-yard field goal with two seconds left.

TE Rob Gronkowski

Gronkowski had a pair of touchdowns on Thursday night. His first one was a 2-yard touchdown to help the Bucs build a 14-7 lead in the first half. Gronkowski’s second score came on an 11-yard TD against DeMarcus Lawrence to give Tampa Bay a 28-19 lead in the third. Gronkowski had a 20-yard grab on that scoring drive. He finished with eight catches for 90 yards, including a key 20-yard catch-and-run on Tampa Bay’s final scoring drive.

K Ryan Succop

On a night when Dallas kicker Greg Zuerlein missed two costly field goals and an extra point, Succop was perfect for Tampa Bay. Succop nailed all four of his extra points and hammered his lone field goal attempt – a 36-yarder – to win the game with two seconds left.

WR Chris Godwin

Godwin’s first two catches of the night were clutch, picking up a first down with an 8-yard gain down to the 5-yard line. Then on the next play, Godwin went in motion and put a great outside-in move on Cowboys nickel cornerback Jourdan Lewis, who got caught flat-footed in coverage, for a 5-yard touchdown across the middle. In the second quarter, Godwin had back-to-back catches of 19 and 17 yards to move the Bucs into the Cowboys’ red zone. It wasn’t a perfect night as Godwin fumbled at the Dallas 2-yard line with less than five minutes left. That turnover led to a Cowboys field goal, but Godwin came back with a clutch 24-yard reception that helped set up Succop’s game-winner.

WR Antonio Brown

Brown started off the game hot with back-to-back catches for 28 yards and 16 yards against cornerback Anthony Brown on the second drive. In the second quarter, Brown smoked Brown and had a 47-yard touchdown. He had four catches for 118 yards and a score by halftime. He added one more catch for three yards in the second quarter.

OLB Shaquil Barrett

Bucs OLB Shaq Barrett and Cowboys QB Dak Prescott

Bucs OLB Shaq Barrett and Cowboys QB Dak Prescott – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

The Bucs struggled to get to Dak Prescott, especially in the first half. But Barrett flipped from the left side to the right side and dropped Prescott for a 12-yard sack against left tackle Tyron Smith. That sack helped move the Cowboys out of field goal range right before halftime.

P Bradley Pinion

Pinion’s first punt of the year was better than any of his punts a year ago. He drilled a 65-yarder in the first quarter down to the Cowboys’ 2-yard line. Pinion’s next punt traveled 42 yards down to the Dallas 8-yard line. A block in the back penalty set the Cowboys up at the 5-yard line where they went three-and-out on that series. Pinion’s next punt came in the fourth quarter, a 41-yarder down to the Dallas 6. He averaged 49.3 yards per punt with a 45.8-yard net. All six of Pinion’s kickoffs were touchbacks. It was a truly outstanding night for Pinion.

CB Carlton Davis III

On a night when Sean Murphy-Bunting was out early due to what could be a serious arm injury, and Jamel Dean struggled in coverage and with penalties, Davis was clearly Tampa Bay’s best defensive back. Davis was solid in coverage and came up with a clutch interception off a deflected pass that set up a touchdown in the third quarter. He finished the game with three pass breakups, two tackles and that key interception, which was the lone Bucs takeaway.

ILB Lavonte David

David had four tackles at halftime, but came on in the second half with seven more. He finished the game with a team-high 11 stops and a pass deflection.

ILB Devin White

White didn’t make any splash plays in the first half, but was a steady tackler with eight stops through two quarters. He finished with two tackles in the second half and 10 in the game.

NT Vita Vea

Vea didn’t record a single tackle, but he did finish the game with six QB pressures, collapsing the pocket in the second half – especially in the fourth quarter. Vea also lined up at fullback in the second half and paved the way for Leonard Fournette to pick up a first down on third-and-one with a key lead block.

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About the Author: Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: sr@pewterreport.com
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BeesKnees
9 days ago

Vita should be on this list. Honestly, Tryon as well

Last edited 9 days ago by BeesKnees
Captain Sly
Reply to  BeesKnees
9 days ago

Vita Vea is on the list. Maybe Scott slipped him in after your comments. Haha

aredsoxfan1
9 days ago

Ugly game for the Bucs with all the penalties, drops and turnovers but good sign that they could still win the game. I’ll take it.

Buc-Up
9 days ago

Godwin should not be on this list. He dropped that bomb and a few others in addition to that fumble that almost cost us the game!

76Buc
9 days ago

What’s ya smoking bro. Vita was on the list. He was a beast.

Naplesfan
Reply to  76Buc
9 days ago

It was loads of fun watching Vita Vea push the O line back towards the quarterback in the second half. Not sure why that also didn’t take place in the first half, as usually defenders get tired and weaker in the second half of rushing the passer. Maybe he just needed a warmup. But you’re right, he was a monster.

jiggyjoe
9 days ago

I think that the kick returner did a good job too. They need to find a place for him.

toofamiliar17
Reply to  jiggyjoe
9 days ago

No doubt, Mickens looked great in the return game. Punts too.

rocky
9 days ago

Has anyone been on both the impressive and disappointing lists in the same week??? Because godwin should be on both. He had a good game overall and caped it off with a touchdown. He also fumbled, dropped a beautifully throw deep pass right into his lap and got away with an offensive PI. Good and bad.

Captain Sly
Reply to  rocky
9 days ago

Funny because now Godwin is on both disappointing and impressive lists. PR is listening!

Captain Sly
9 days ago

This game was eerily similar to the Bears game last year in which we lost. I like to give credit where credit is due and so let’s show some love to Byron Leftwich for his game plan. Don’t get to say that much. Maybe he’s growing on me

Naplesfan
9 days ago

AB was fun to watch, and clearly outplayed all the receivers on both teams, not only leading in receptions, and getting a touchdown, but also no mistakes – drops or fumbles. Ditto with Gronk.

NaplesFan2.0
Reply to  Naplesfan
9 days ago

You know who you dont see there? Leonard Fournette.

scubog
9 days ago

I was impressed with the offensive line, who collectively kept Tom Brady upright. If not for the costly turnovers that aided the Cowboys stellar effort and the Cowboy’s offensive ball-controlling game plan, this might have been an offensive explosion. I thought the special teams in general had a good showing.

drdneast
9 days ago

I know the offical stat says four TO’s, but really it was only three. Still overcoming three TOs to only garnering one and still winning the game is quite a feat and it couldn;t have been done without TB12. Believe it or not I woul haave liked to have seen the Bucs run the ball more often last night. We need that balance so Tom can continue to go play action.

BucLife
9 days ago

Brady’s performance was super impressive. The amount of dimes he threw was elite and I don’t think I recall him missing a single throw or even the best read. I don’t think this game could have been quarterbacked any better.

76bucsfan46
9 days ago

We’re is Mickins on this list, that was super impressive the way he ran tonight.

chefboho
Reply to  76bucsfan46
9 days ago

Agreed. That was the best performance by a kick/punt returner that I remember seeing. He was putting the team in a good spot all night

RW
RW
9 days ago

Brady by far was the best offensive player followed closely by Gronk.

toofamiliar17
Reply to  RW
9 days ago

So by far the best, but also followed closely by someone else? lol

jongruden
9 days ago

Pinion was great and Succup came through when it mattered even Mickens had a nice return and our coverage unit did well too so props to the special teams unit

arizonajoe
9 days ago

Scott, I have to disagree with Devon White. He missed a handful of key tackles. Maybe I am expecting perfection, but those missed tackles kept Cowboy drives alive. Love Devon, but I don’t think he thought this was a good game for himself.

Horse
9 days ago

I thought the OL did good enough.

arizonajoe
Reply to  Horse
9 days ago

Heck yeah Horse, the holding call on Wirfs was weak, even though it was declined. They kept 12 clean and opened holes for the running game.

AlstottSmash
9 days ago

CG on both lists, probably doesn’t happen too often.

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