Tom Brady orchestrated a game-winning drive in the final two minutes Thursday night proving the more things change, the more they stay the same.
The 44-year-old quarterback and the Buccaneers’ offense certainly weren’t at their best, but did enough to win and claimed a 31-29 victory over the visiting Dallas Cowboys. The defending champions moved to 1-0 on the season as their pursuit of a perfect 17-0 remains alive.
Brady was 32-for-50 with four touchdowns, two of which went to tight end Rob Gronkowski. Brady’s first passing touchdown of the game went to Chris Godwin and his fourth went to Antonio Brown as he found six different receivers.
Brady was dropping balls into buckets to start the 2021 campaign. Arguably his most important throw of the day came on a beautiful back-shoulder toss to Godwin, which set up a game-winning 36 yard field goal from Ryan Succop after three incompletions.
Brady had other perfectly placed balls, including one to Gronkowski on the first scoring drive of the game. Gronkowski beat Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons and hauled in a reception in the middle of the field. Brady and Gronkowski teamed up for career touchdown No. 100 in the third quarter, an 11-yard touchdown which Brady seemed to read the whole way.
Brady’s connection with Brown looked as good as it has, as well. Brown caught five of the seven passes thrown his way for 121 yards and one touchdown. He beat Cowboys cornerback Anthony Brown on a beautiful double move down the sideline.
Brady’s stat line indicates how he threw two interceptions, but it’s fair to say the quarterback probably shouldn’t be held overly accountable on either of them. The first hit running back Leonard Fournette in the hands as Tampa Bay looked to run a screen pass. It fell into the hands of Cowboys second-year cornerback Trevon Diggs. Brady’s second and final interception of the game came as he threw to the end zone on a Hail Mary with seconds ticking down in the first half.