Fall is here. The leaves are beginning to change color, the air is getting colder and football season is starting.
On Thursday, Sept. 9, the NFL season kicked off with the reigning Super Bowl champions, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, taking on the Dallas Cowboys. It was a long anticipated game that was exciting from start to finish.
One of the most noticeable differences between this year’s season opener in Tampa Bay and last year’s season opener in Kansas City was the amount of fans that were in the stadium. Seeing a packed stadium full of rowdy fans was a welcome sight and it made the atmosphere feel normal again.
The game was historic for the legendary Tom Brady. Brady, 44, was starting in his 300th NFL game in season 22 of his career, several months after winning his seventh Super Bowl. And he looked as sharp as ever.
The game began with a quick 3 and out for both the Bucs and the Cowboys. The first points of the game came with 5:23 left in the first quarter when Brady connected with Chris Godwin to make it 7-0 Bucs. The Cowboys led by quarterback Dak Prescott answered a few minutes later to tie the game up.
Prescott, who suffered a horrific ankle injury early last season, was playing in his first game since, and he looked exceptional. As the game continued on, it was obvious that Prescott was becoming more and more comfortable throwing the ball and maneuvering in the pocket.
Before the game began there were a lot of rumors about Prescott not being fully healthy. If that is true, then Cowboys fans should be excited for when Prescott is playing at 100%. He finished the game with three passing touchdowns, 403 passing yards and only one interception. His impressive performance, though, was not enough to overcome the Buccaneers high-powered offense.
Brady threw four touchdown passes, including two to his longtime teammate Rob Gronkowski. Both Brady and Gronkowski are considered “old” for the game of football and there’s absolutely no reason they should still be this good at their age, but time has continued to be generous to them so far.
The two offenses battled back and forth throughout the game, and it came down to the final seconds of the game to decide the winner. It was one of the most exciting season openers in a long time.
With 1:29 minutes left in the fourth quarter, Cowboy’s kicker Greg Zuerlein gave them the lead at 29-28. But the Cowboys must have forgotten who they were playing against. Brady, who came into this game with 48 career game-winning drives, got his 49th when he led his team down the field to score a field goal with seven seconds left.
The Cowboys had many opportunities to win this game, but they could not capitalize on the Buccaneers four turnovers. Both teams played sloppy at times, but both showed great promise for the remainder of the season. Fan bases of both teams should feel excited for the direction of their team.
After this game, the Buccaneers are Super Bowl favorites in the NFC. Despite the Buccaneers obvious struggles within their defense, they are the team to beat in their conference so far. The anticipation for their season is either making a deep playoff run or playing in the Super Bowl once again.
As for the Cowboys, their team looked better than expected on Thursday. It was hard to anticipate how well quarterback Dak Prescott would play, and he did exceptionally well. If he can continue this level of play for the remainder of the season, the Cowboys should be a playoff team.