October 25, 2021

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Was there any doubt Tom Brady would direct the Buccaneers to the get? Of program not.

Brady, wanting fresher than at any time at 44 a long time previous, zipped the Bucs down the discipline, many thanks in part to two big passes to Rob Gronkowski for 26 yards. Brady correctly milked the clock down to two seconds remaining. And kicker Ryan Succop completed it off with a 36-lawn subject purpose.

The earn was Brady’s 49th career fourth-quarter comeback (including postseason), and the 63rd time he led a activity-winning travel. You merely can’t give Brady 1:24 left and be expecting to get.

Tom Brady celebrates as he arrives off the area Thursday evening.Mark LoMoglio/Connected Push

▪ What a evening for the Patriots — er, former Patriots, that is. Brady led the way with 379 yards and 4 landing passes. Two of them went to Rob Gronkowski, who experienced 8 catches for 90 yards and two touchdowns. And Antonio Brown, he of the short and controversial tenure in New England, had five catches for 121 yards, including a lovely 47-lawn landing capture late in the first fifty percent.

And when the recreation was on the line, who did Brady link with? Gronkowski, of course, with two straight completions for 26 yards to provide the Bucs into scoring array.

It is all sunshine and rainbows for the Patriots now, with Mac Jones delivering hope for the future and a new established of weapons supplying hope for the current. But it’s even now hard watching the Bucs and not experience a tinge of nostalgia for Brady and Gronk, and surprise why they could not end their occupations in Patriots uniforms.

▪ I guess Brady wasn’t as well phased by the new jersey amount rules, right after all. Brady has been vocally important of the new procedures that allow for defensive gamers to wear one-digit and other non-classic numbers, contacting it “really pointless” and lamenting that it is likely to make his preparation far more complicated. But Brady was surgical on Thursday night, finishing 32 of 50 passes for 379 yards and the four touchdown passes. Brady obtained absent with a dangerous pass halfway by means of the fourth quarter, but in any other case Brady was unflappable. Notably, he didn’t choose a sack on 50 fall-backs.

▪ Brady enhanced to 35-1 in his job (like playoffs) when throwing at least four touchdowns. Brady didn’t have any 4-TD games in 2019 for the Patriots, but experienced a few final 12 months and now has one particular in 2021.

Brady certainly was not facing the Metal Curtain on Thursday — the Cowboys completed past yr No. 28 in details allowed, and now are sensation out a new defensive coordinator in Dan Quinn. But all education camp very long, Brady and his coaches have talked about how additional forward they are on offense as opposed to a year back. They seemed in mid-season kind on Thursday.

Ryan Succop delivers Thursday's game winner.
Ryan Succop provides Thursday’s match winner.Mark LoMoglio/Connected Push

▪ Brady’s passer rating (97.) took a strike many thanks to two interceptions in the first 50 percent, neither of which ended up his fault — a dropped display pass by Leonard Fournette, and a Hail Mary at the conclusion of the half. But Brady enhanced to 26-29 job (.472) when throwing at minimum two interceptions. For context, NFL teams have a .259 get proportion considering that the 1970 merger when throwing at the very least two interceptions. Kirk Cousins is -20 in his vocation.

▪ The Bucs had been sloppy with ball protection, shedding two fumbles and owning an interception go appropriate by Fournette’s fingers. And the Bucs fully commited 11 penalties for 106 yards. If Bucs coach Bruce Arians was anxious about complacency, he has a great deal of points to chew his staff out in excess of adhering to that acquire.

▪ Gronkowski definitely appeared like he bought himself into condition for the duration of instruction camp. Final calendar year it took him just about half the season to change to the humidity and get his football legs again. But Gronk labored out with the Bucs all offseason, created his endurance a priority through training camp, and came out all set to roll in 7 days 1, catching two touchdowns and coming up large late in the fourth quarter.

Brady and Gronk have now related for 100 touchdowns in their careers, 2nd only behind Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison (114).

Rob Gronkowski celebrates a second-half touchdown in Thursday's win.
Rob Gronkowski celebrates a next-50 percent touchdown in Thursday’s gain.Mark LoMoglio/Linked Push

▪ The most significant revelation of the night time was Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, earning his to start with appearance considering that suffering a brutal ankle injuries final yr in 7 days 5. Prescott, didn’t perform in any of the preseason online games due to the fact of a sore shoulder, but the Cowboys place the game in his arms on Thursday. He tied a profession-significant with 58 passes, completing 42 of them (72 p.c) for 403 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Prescott even now looked like he was laboring a bit and could not thoroughly press the ball downfield, but his rhythm and accuracy additional than designed up for it. Now in his sixth year, Prescott is just entering his primary and has the seem of a major-5 quarterback.

▪ The Bucs brought back again all people from a protection that completed prime-10 in yards and factors permitted past yr. But defensive coordinator Todd Bowles has a lot of function forward of him after Thursday’s opener. Prescott and the Cowboys held the ball for 34:27, carved up the Bucs for 443 yards and swiftly moved down the industry for the profitable field target late in the game.

▪ NFL football in 2021: The teams blended for 28 hand-offs and 113 passing performs. You have to be equipped to toss from the pocket in today’s NFL, which clarifies why the Patriots selected Mac Jones above Cam Newton.

▪ Not particularly a banner night for Cowboys mentor Mike McCarthy. He manufactured a questionable conclusion at the stop of the second quarter to endeavor a 60-garden field target with having difficulties kicker Greg Zuerlein, as an alternative of punting away deep. Zuerlein of study course missed the kick, supplying Brady obtained one very last likelihood to rating with 15 seconds remaining in the 50 percent (he could not capitalize). McCarthy also manufactured a fraidy-cat decision in the third quarter to kick a 21-garden discipline aim rather of heading for it on fourth-and-purpose from the 3. For each NFL Subsequent Gen Stats, that selection cost the Cowboys about 5 % of acquire chance.


Ben Volin can be achieved at [email protected] Adhere to him on Twitter @BenVolin.