There was a time in the not-so-distant past when the Bucs would have lost this season opener—for many reasons.
Without Tom Brady, Tampa Bay would have probably had good ol’ Jameis back there throwing 4 interceptions. Without Gronk, I doubt the Bucs get a pair of touchdowns and 90 yards receiving from the tight end position.
And without my favorite player in NFL history Ryan Succop, the Bucs probably don’t get that game-winning field goal in front of a cringe-worthy, DeSantis-approved packed house at Raymond James Stadium.
I mean, how many times have we seen the Bucs lose because of a missed field goal, either at the end of games or at the beginning (I mean, TB12 witnessed it himself playing for the Patriots against Tampa in 2017).
So let yourself forget about Chris Godwin’s fumble near the end zone that made this game such a nail-biter. Wash away the memory of Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones’ lack of ball security. And for goodness’ sake, let’s not even talk about the no-call on that Chris Godwin “light push-off” in the fourth quarter.
Should this have been OPI?— PFF (@PFF) September 10, 2021
Let’s just celebrate the fact that the Bucs took a game that they could have easily lost, and won.
And that’s all thanks to Ryan Succop.
OK, and a little thanks for Tom Brady. The GOAT had a solid game, taking advantage of an awful Cowboys defense by throwing for 379 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Tom got a lot of help from his friends Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Brown, who both had absolutely fantastic games catching the football. AB led the Bucs in receiving yards with 121 on 5 catches, one of them going for 6 points.
But the Bucs’ defense… yeesh.
I mean, it’s more of the same from last year. The unit held Ezekiel Elliott to 33 yards rushing, as expected from the best rush defense in the NFL, but Dak Prescott had himself a huge comeback game coming off a really tough stretch of injuries.
Prescott threw for 403 yards and 3 touchdowns, targeting Amari Cooper for over half of those yards as Cooper had a pair of TDs on 139 yards receiving and 13 receptions. Cowboys wideout CeeDee Lamb “only” had 104 yards and a touchdown catch, coming up with some big plays in the fourth quarter on that clutch drive by the Cowboys to take the lead at 29-28.
But then TB12 did what TB12 does, leading a drive down the field on an 11-play, 57-yard drive that ended with that wonderful man, Ryan Succop, doing, well, what Ryan Succop does.
Sinking clutch kicks.
The Bucs win. Fire those cannons, and buy yourself a Ryan Succop jersey.
I know I will.
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