Tom Brady delivers another game-winning drive for Tampa Bay
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
On the opening night of the 2021 NFL season, veteran quarterback Tom Brady was in a rather familiar position: Needing to deliver a game-winning drive for his football team.
With time winding down in a back-and-forth affair, Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took the field with under two minutes left and trailing the visiting Dallas Cowboys by a single point. The Buccaneers had a sole timeout at their disposal, but needed to get into field goal range to emerge victorious to start their 2021 season.
The veteran delivered.
The drive began simply enough, with Brady and the Buccaneers dialing up a screen pass to start the possession. Then Brady, after throwing a near-interception, hit his tight end Rob Gronkowski for a pair of big gains.
But the biggest play was this back-shoulder throw from Brady to Chris Godwin, who delivered a bit of redemption after a fumble down near the goal line earlier in the game;
Brady to Godwin into FG range.
— NFL (@NFL) September 10, 2021
(Many on Twitter were clamoring for a flag on Godwin for offensive pass interference, but the calls for the laundry went unanswered. Also, look at the anticipation on this throw from Brady, which is what put Godwin in position for the reception. Tremendous from the quarterback).
As you can see from this graphic from NFL’s Next Gen Stats, from when Brady releases the pass, Godwin will still cover another seven yards downfield to the point of the reception:
Tom Brady finds Chris Godwin for a 24-yard completion to set up a Ryan Succop game-winning 36-yard field goal.
Chris Godwin's target separation over course of the route:
— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) September 10, 2021
From there, it was up to kicker Ryan Succop, who drilled the 36-yard field goal to give the Buccaneers the lead.
The game-winning drive from Brady and Tampa Bay was just the final chapter in a stunning opening night of football. The Buccaneers won the contest, but the victory overshadowed the return of Dak Prescott, who shined for the Cowboys even in the loss. After all, it was Prescott who put the Cowboys in position to take the lead with a drive of his own at the end of the game.
But, as we have seen so many times before, Brady had the final laugh.