Make that nine straight victories for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Their undefeated run dates back to Week 14 of the 2020 NFL season, wherein they defeated the Minnesota Vikings at home, 26-14.
They entered the playoffs with an 11-5 record and won three postseason games on the road.
The Washington Football Team, New Orleans Saints, and Green Bay Packers were their victims before going home for Super Bowl LV.
It was an anticlimactic affair against the Kansas City Chiefs as the Buccaneers’ defense made life miserable for Patrick Mahomes.
In the end, Tampa Bay won its second Super Bowl in franchise history, 31-9.
Tom Brady and the other Buccaneers newcomers had to figure out Bruce Arians’ system on the fly, with no training camp or preseason last year.
— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) September 9, 2021
They did have private practices at undisclosed locations, but an organized camp is always better.
Now that they had time to review their plays, expect nothing but a better 2021 season.
But while they started the year on a positive note, their victory was far from perfect.
The Buccaneers committed 11 penalties for 106 yards, while the Dallas Cowboys only had eight for 55.
They also had turnovers that Dallas converted into scoring drives.
Chris Godwin had a fumble as he was about to score a touchdown.
It looked like Tampa Bay would lose their season opener.
But a drive led by the game’s greatest winner set up Ryan Succop‘s game-winning field goal.
— NFL (@NFL) September 10, 2021
Nevertheless, a win is a win, but the Buccaneers will focus on correcting their mistakes.
However, there are some positive points that they can build on from this game.
3. The Offensive Line Remains Solid
The Tampa Bay offensive line remains under-appreciated because of all the stars on their team.
However, they can’t win the Super Bowl without an impenetrable wall protecting Brady.
They may not be perfect this time after committing two of the 11 team penalties.
Kudos to the Bucs' offensive line tonight — Tom Brady threw 50 passes vs. Cowboys and had zero sacks, and Cowboys had zero tackles for loss in 64 offensive plays for Tampa Bay. A few penalties, but otherwise a strong season debut there.
— Greg Auman (@gregauman) September 10, 2021
But they did not give up a sack all game to give their quarterback ample time to find their receivers.
Two of Brady’s touchdown throws were for ten yards or more, including his 47-yard strike to Antonio Brown.
It’s difficult to execute such a throw without the offensive line providing a solid pocket.
2. Bradley Pinion For The Pro Bowl?
It’s too early to tell, but it’s tough to disregard the efforts of the Tampa Bay punter.
Pinion had four punt attempts throughout the game and averaged 49.3 yards per kick.
Three of his punts went inside the Cowboys’ 20-yard line, including one that went down on the two-yard marker.
Bradley Pinion making an early case for NFL MVP.
— Austin Pendergist (@apthirteen) September 10, 2021
>Giving Dallas poor field position made it more challenging for them to generate scoring drives.
It’s an unorthodox way of defending the ball, but one that goes in their favor.
1. Too Easy For Brady
If Brady could command an offense with mostly unknown wide receivers in New England, what more with certified Pro Bowlers in Tampa Bay?
He was picking his spots every time he threw the ball against the Dallas defense.
Rob Gronkowski created mismatches against slower linebackers and smaller cornerbacks.
Godwin found himself open numerous times to collect 101 yards and a touchdown.
Tom Brady showed no signs of slowing down in the Bucs season opener @brgridiron
▪️ 379 YDS
▪️ 4 TD
▪️ 2 INT
▪️ Game-winning drive
The legend continues pic.twitter.com/yDe9ahfgjc
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 10, 2021
But Brown turning back the hands of time was the most shocking result of all.
He needed just five receptions to gain 121 yards and a touchdown.
Dallas is lucky that Mike Evans struggled in this game.
Otherwise, it’s tough to cover an offense with too many potent options.