TAMPA, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 09: Tom Brady #12 and Rob Gronkowski #87 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers celebrate a touchdown during the second quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at Raymond James Stadium on September 09, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

One minute, 24 seconds. More than enough time for Tom Brady to do what he’s done best for two decades.

Despite a valiant effort by Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys, Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers squeezed out a 31-29 win in the NFL’s 2021 regular season opener on Thursday night. Given 1:24 to drive down the field down a point, Brady went 5-of-7 for 57 yards to get the Bucs into field goal range. With nowhere to go on the next three plays, Brady made three throwaways to grind the clock down to seven seconds and give way to kicker Ryan Succop, who converted the 36-yard field goal and eventual game-winner.

Prescott had previously driven the Cowboys 60 yards to set up Greg Zuerlein’s go-ahead 48-yard field goal. Prescott finished 42-of-58 for 403 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception in his first game since suffering a season-ending ankle injury in Week 5 of the 2020 season.

Brady was 32-of-50 for 379 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions. Two of his scores went to old pal Rob Gronkowski, who caught all eight of his targets for 90 yards and the two scores.

Cowboys wideout Amari Cooper led all pass-catchers with 13 receptions and 139 yards and two touchdowns of his own in a monster effort. On the other side, Antonio Brown got off to an explosive start with five catches for 121 yards, including a 47-yard touchdown catch from Brady.

The next slate of NFL games kicks off at 1 p.m. Sunday. The New England Patriots, meanwhile, start their season at 4:25 p.m. against the Miami Dolphins.

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Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @mattydsays. You can also email him at mdolloff@985thesportshub.com.