That’s how NBC billed the Sunday Night Football clash between the Buccaneers and the New England Patriots.
The game did not lack drama because of the back story and the way it unfolded.
Brady returns to his old stomping grounds wherein he led the Patriots to six Super Bowl wins in nine appearances.
Good to be back… pic.twitter.com/0euoXEdCv4
— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) October 3, 2021
It’s also where he became a three-time MVP, a three-time First-Team All-Pro, and a two-time Offensive Player of the Year.
The capacity crowd cheered for the 44-year-old quarterback before the game to show appreciation for the success he helped bring to New England.
But once the opening kickoff ended, Brady became a competitor in the Patriots fan’s eyes.
Without question, this game will be memorable for several reasons.
First, there’s that post-game hug shared by Brady and Bill Belichick, who have nothing but respect for his former disciple.
— NFL (@NFL) October 4, 2021
Second, the 14-time Pro Bowler became the NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards, and it’s fitting that former record holder Drew Brees was there to congratulate Brady.
Third, the duel between Brady and rookie Mac Jones was delightful to watch.
Perhaps the rain was God’s way of saying that spectators will witness a blessing of a game.
However, the unfavorable weather did affect Brady’s passing game.
The spin on the slippery ball was erratic that he made high throws to an open Antonio Brown.
Ok you can breathe now.
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) October 4, 2021
Losing Rob Gronkowski to a rib injury also affected Tampa Bay’s red zone strategy.
Inconsistencies in the passing game led the Buccaneers to carve the Patriots’ defense via the run.
Brady Found A Way To Win
Jones did not shy away from the challenge and played well for the most part.
The former Alabama standout did have some decisions that nearly resulted in interceptions, but he lived up to the challenge.
In contrast, the Buccaneers failed to reach the end zone in the first half and had two Ryan Succop field goals to avoid going scoreless in the first two quarters.
In the second half, Belichick continued to confuse Brady by giving him several looks on defense.
This strategy allowed Matthew Judon, Deatrich Wise, and the Patriots’ secondary to have their way against the Buccaneers.
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) October 4, 2021
But when the chips are down, Brady willed his team to victory even if it didn’t look perfect.
He had a six-yard scramble to keep one of their fourth-quarter drives going.
Those plays helped set up what turned out to be the game-winning 48-yard field goal from Succop.
The Patriots got the ball back with two minutes left in the game, but Nick Folk’s field goal try hit the left upright before going out.
Nick Folk’s 56-yard field goal attempt is NO GOOD!
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) October 4, 2021
Tampa Bay held a 19-17 lead and ran the clock to bring their record to 3-1.
Brady finally defeated all NFL teams and won 15 of his last 16 games against rookie quarterbacks.
In his New England return, he did not throw a touchdown pass and finished with 22 completions for 269 yards.
But he commanded his team to victory despite the challenges he faced in-game.
That grit when the going gets tough makes him the greatest competitor of all time.
Welcome back, @TomBrady.
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) October 4, 2021