TAMPA — Sorry, Jerry Jones, but some may argue it’s Tom Brady who truly owns the Cowboys.
Thursday’s 31-29 triumph improved the Bucs quarterback to 6-0 against the Cowboys as a starter. No quarterback has more regular-season wins against Dallas without a loss, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
Additionally, Brady leapfrogged Joe Montana for the best record against the Cowboys including playoffs. Montana was 5-0.
By George, he’s by George
With his initial pass Thursday night, Brady (44 years, 37 days) became the second-oldest player ever to do so in a season-opening game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
The oldest was George Blanda, who on his 45th birthday threw 11 passes in a Raiders loss to the Steelers in 1972. Brady had completed 13 (with three touchdowns) by halftime.
By the numbers
10 Career receiving touchdowns by Rob Gronkowski on opening weekend, the most for a tight end in Week 1 according to ESPN Stats & Info. Gronkowski had two scoring catches Thursday.
19 Combined 1,000-yard seasons posted by Bucs receivers entering Thursday’s opener, seven more than any current NFL roster (according to the Bucs). Mike Evans and Antonio Brown have seven each.
22 Games in which Gronkowski has caught more than one touchdown pass, the most of any tight end in the Super Bowl era. Gronkowski was tied with Antonio Gates.
86 Touchdown connections between Brady and Gronkowski, eclipsing Steve Young and Jerry Rice (85) for the third-most regular-season scoring connections in NFL history. Brady found Gronkowsi for a 2-yard touchdown in the second quarter and an 11-yarder in the third.
94 Times Brady has thrown at least three touchdowns in a game, surpassing Peyton Manning (93) for the second-most such games in NFL history.
100 Times Brady has thrown for 300 yards in his career. He and Drew Brees (123) are the only two quarterbacks to hit double digits in that category.
300 Career starts for Brady (including Thursday’s contest), an NFL record.
333 Days that Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott went without live game action (regular season or preseason) prior to his start Thursday. Prescott fractured and dislocated his right ankle in Week 5 last season.
Bernard mostly a bit player
While the tailback tandem of Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette struggled with ball security, heralded free-agent signee Giovani Bernard was struggling to even make a cameo.
On consecutive second-quarter possessions, Jones lost a fumble and Fournette let a short Brady throw bounce off his hands, resulting in 10 total Cowboys points. Bernard? He had no touches to that point though he was signed specifically for the pass-catching dimension (359 receptions in eight seasons with the Bengals) he offers in the backfield.
Bernard had one target until the Bucs’ final drive, when he had catches of 8 and 4 yards.
Dis of the night?
During the self-introductions by the Bucs defensive players at the outset of NBC’s broadcast, veteran Jason Pierre-Paul announced his school as Deerfield Beach — his high school.
Pierre-Paul played his lone Division I-A college season at USF.
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