The principle of the NFL’s 272 fashioned-season video games this season – a novel file as the league expands to a 17-recreation agenda for every team – is in the books following the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 31-29 victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday evening’s 2021 kickoff recreation in Tampa.
Given the consequence, or no longer it’s gorgeous evident to all people who the indispensable winner and loser modified into once from Week 1’s opening matchup. However let’s no longer cease there, of us! It entirely takes a bit of of bit of extra digging to inform several other W’s and L’s from the indispensable NFL recreation that counts in bigger than seven months.
Tom Brady: What else is novel, beautiful? The guy with seven Plentiful Bowl rings orchestrated a recreation-a hit field-purpose pressure on the Bucs’ final possession, marching them 57 yards in 82 seconds, the foremost play a handsome 24-yard abet-shoulder completion to Chris Godwin on the Dallas 18-yard line. Brady is now 15-4 all-time in Week 1, the most wins in the direction of the NFL’s opening weekend in the direction of the Plentiful Bowl generation (since 1966). TB12 is moreover now 6-0 all-time against the Cowboys.
Dak Prescott: In his first recreation motion since he suffered a stomach-turning ankle injury on Oct. 11 – one who ended his 2020 season prematurely and required a couple of surgeries – he modified into once spectacular. Statistically, Prescott modified into once greater than Brady, throwing for 403 yards, three TDs and ending with a 101.4 passer ranking. It modified into once the eighth 400-yard passing recreation of Prescott’s six-yr profession, one fewer than all other Dallas quarterbacks … mixed. No longer the consequence Prescott and Co. hoped for, nonetheless plenty of motive for optimism given the total questions on his leg (and the throwing shoulder he injured in the direction of coaching camp) coming into this recreation.
Steal Gronkowski: The most though-provoking tight cease in NFL history – yeah, that’s beautiful – snagged a pair of TD passes, giving him 10 all-time in season openers, most in league history at his train. Gronk modified into once moreover spearing passes from Brady with one hand on his technique to eight receptions (for 90 yards) and in total looking like a 26-yr-aged model of himself.
Cowboys WRs: Dallas’ CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper staked an early claim that they’re now the league’s high receiving duo, combining for 20 receptions, 243 yards and three TDs on Thursday.
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Ryan Succop: Tampa Bay’s (absolutely vaccinated) kicker entirely no longer too lengthy prior to now returned from a bout with COVID-19 nonetheless nailed the recreation-a hit 36-yard field purpose with 2 seconds to spare.
Buccaneers’ playoff chances: Since 1978, when the NFL expanded its agenda to 16 video games, 53% of teams that gained their opener went on to qualify for the playoffs and 32% secured division titles. All eight of the division winners in 2020 gained their first recreation, as did 11 of the 14 teams that qualified for final season’s postseason field. And, for these of you who maintain urged the Bucs would possibly more than likely well drag 20-0 on their technique to a Plentiful Bowl repeat? Nicely … yeah, per chance.
Brady the pitchman: Bet he needed to fabricate more bread given the cheddar his wife generates. So now TB12 is promoting Subway’s bread … in spectacular vogue.
Brady the pitchman: As Thursday evening wore on, Brady moreover tried to sell me cryptocurrency – with again from his partner, Gisele Bündchen. I modified into once all in for a foot-lengthy sub … till this egregious overreach. Now I’m saving my onerous earned to get a pair of Air Jordans just like the blue and silver 1s novel Jumpman salvage Prescott rocked in Tampa.
Cowboys’ playoff chances: Since 1978, when the NFL expanded its agenda to 16 video games, entirely 24% of teams that started 0-1 injury up reaching postseason and beautiful 14% claimed divisional crowns. On the least Dallas performs in the NFC East, the worst division in the league a yr prior to now, a pattern that would possibly more than likely well very properly prolong to 2021. Aloof, entirely three teams stepped forward to the playoffs final season after losing in Week 1.
Dallas defense: Unusual D identical as the aged D? Welp … On the plus aspect, a unit being remade by novel coordinator Dan Quinn forced four turnovers, collectively with two interceptions of Brady. However the Cowboys couldn’t sack TB12, gave up an monstrous 6.7 yards per play and crumbled after being staked to a 29-28 lead with no longer up to 90 seconds to play. Dallas allowed a franchise-worst 473 aspects in 2020 – 29.6 per recreation – and begins the 2021 season by surrendering 31 more. In fairness, the Cowboys would possibly more than likely well no longer face another opponent as upright as Tampa Bay, nonetheless mute a disheartening open up given the opportunity to capture a hang this tall on the dual carriageway.
Working backs: Where maintain been they? The Cowboys and Bucs backs mixed to bustle for 93 yards on 27 carries, or 3.4 per try, with Tampa’s Ronald Jones II setting up a 2d-quarter Dallas TD with a fumble deep in the Buccaneers’ cease of the field. On the following play from scrimmage, teammate Leonard Fournette noticed the ball jump out off his fingers and into the hang of Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs. The absence of All-Pro Dallas G Zack Martin (COVID-19) in actual fact did no favors for Ezekiel Elliott (recreation-excessive 33 rushing yards) and Co.
Drew Brees: Be aware you are novel to this broadcast thing, No. 9, nonetheless we’re gonna want bigger than the Cowboys “have to ranking touchdowns” from NBC’s halftime evaluation desk. Saints captain > Captain Obvious.
Tyler Biadasz: Dallas’ novel initiating heart is no longer going to like reviewing his recreation tape against 347-pound Bucs DL Vita Vea. Offensive lineman are presupposed to dispense pancakes, no longer eat them. Desire some advice, Tyler? Sit down next to G Connor Williams in the movie room … he wasn’t great greater.
Public safety? Important as we would like to scrutinize elephantine venues, mute kinda jarring to scrutinize Raymond James Stadium packed with fans who got nothing bigger than a advice to place on masks – advice unnoticed en masse. The COVID-19 pandemic is a lot from over, and given how minute Florida has finished to dangle it – politically and in put collectively – you would possibly well more than likely have to wonder about the capacity for another senseless critical spreader.
Practice USA TODAY Sports actions’ Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis.