It’s not pretty, but Bucs edge Cowboys on last-second field goal

By Rick Stroud

TAMPA, Fla. — Repeating as Super Bowl champs is hard to do. So as a reminder, the Tampa Bay Bucs rolled out both of the franchise’s Lombardi trophies during a lavish pre-game celebration. There were speeches and pyrotechnics.

By the time the smoke cleared in Thursday’s season opener against the Dallas Cowboys, a little shine may have been taken off the Bucs if not their precious prizes.

Looking to put the game away and clinging to a two-point lead, Bucs receiver Chris Godwin fumbled the ball after catching a pass from Tom Brady that was forced and recovered by Cowboys safety Damontae Kazee with 4:52 remaining in the game.

It was the fourth turnover of the the game for the Bucs and it led to Greg Zuerlein’s 48-yard field goal with 1:24 remaining and a 29-28 lead for the Cowboys.

But Godwin had redemption. His 24-yard pass reception from Brady set up Ryan Succop’s 36-yard field goal with two seconds remaining in the Bucs’ 31-29 win.

The game was a remarkable comeback story for Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, who was coming off a horrific ankle injury from Week 5 last season and passed for 403 yards and three touchdowns.

But after Zuerlein’s field goal, the Bucs and Brady got the ball back with 1:25 remaining, enough time to write a happy ending.

The Bucs also were able to re-create some eerily similar highlights to their last championship.

There was Brady throwing two touchdowns to tight end Rob Gronkowski, an end-zone connection that has happened 100 times in their careers.

And when they needed it most, the Bucs defense created a turnover that may have saved the game, if not their status as the best team in the NFL.

Cornerback Carlton Davis intercepted a third-quarter pass from Prescott to set up Brady’s second touchdown pass to Gronkowski.

By the end of the game, the stars were the similar to the heroes of Super Bowl 55.

Brady threw four touchdown passes, including a 47-yarder to 33-year-old Antonio Brown, who had 118 yards receiving.

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