TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers didn’t flinch.
Down one point with 1:24 to go in the kickoff to the NFL season, the defending Super Bowl champions were confident their 44-year-old quarterback would find a way to win again Thursday night.
It’s simply what Brady, who threw for 379 yards and four touchdowns in a 31-29 win over the Dallas Cowboys, does.
“There was no doubt that we’re going to win the game with him,” coach Bruce Arians said. “It’s just who’s going to make plays.”
With seats in a NFL stadium filled to full capacity for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Ryan Succop won it with a 36-yard field goal with 2 seconds remaining. Brady set it up with a last-minute drive directed on the same field where the Bucs became the first team to play and win a Super Bowl in its home stadium seven months ago.
It was the 49th game-winning the three-time NFL MVP has led in the fourth-quarter or overtime during regular season. That’s third on the all-time list behind Peyton Manning (54) and Drew Brees (53), who are both retired.
“There’s obviously a lot to clean up,” Brady said after completing 32 of 50 passes with two interceptions.
The Bucs, hoping to become the first team to repeat as champions since Brady led the 2003 and 2004 New England Patriots to consecutive titles, turned the ball over four times.
“We won,” the quarterback said, “but we know it was far from perfect.”
For Brady, a seven-time champion, it was the 300th regular-season start in a sparkling 22-year career — a record for a quarterback. The 44-year-old also joined Drew Brees as the only players to throw for 300-plus yards in a game 100 times.
Chris Godwin, Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Brown caught first-half touchdown passes, and the Bucs (1-0) extended their winning streak to nine games dating to last December. Brady’s second TD pass of the night to Gronkowski put the defending champs up 28-19. Succop’s field goal came after Greg Zuerlein put the Cowboys ahead with a 48-yarder with 1:24 to go.
“As I told our guys, I learned a long time ago we don’t learn anything more from losing than you do from almost losing, We’ve got a lot to learn,” Bucs coach Bruce Arians said. “Obviously not pleased with the start of the game, Loved the finish. Our guys are winners, They’re going to finish.”
Dak Prescott threw for 403 yards and three TDs for Dallas in his first game since suffering a severe injury ankle that ended his 2020 season after just five games. The sixth-year pro didn’t play in the preseason after straining his right shoulder early in training camp, and limitations on his throwing weren’t lifted until about two weeks before the opener.
“I thought Dak played well,” Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said. “I really like the way our team played, the preparation coming into it. … We had tough looks, particularly some of the things they did defensively. I thought our guys did a good job adjusting, did a good job distributing the ball on the perimeter.”
The Cowboys have never beaten Brady, who improved to 6-0 against them, with five of the victories coming during his historic 20-year run with the New England Patriots.
But Prescott, with help from a revamped Dallas defense that forced a fumble and intercepted a pass that glanced off Leonard Fournette’s hands to set up a touchdown and field goal, pushed the defending champs to the limit before a mostly mask-less crowd of 65,566.
Ultimately, though, Brady made the Cowboys pay for kicking woes that contributed to Dallas only scoring 16 points in the opening half. In addition to missing a 31-yard field goal, Zuerlein had an extra point clank off the left upright in the second quarter.
Seven of the Cowboys’ first eight possessions either started or ended in Tampa Bay territory, yet Prescott still faced a nine-point deficit before Dallas pulled within 28-26 on Amari Cooper’s 21-yard scoring reception with less than a minute remaining in the third quarter.
Cooper finished with 13 catches for 139 yards, including a 5-yard TD catch in the second quarter. CeeDee Lamb had a 22-yard scoring reception for the Cowboys, who finished 6-10 with Prescott missing the final 11 games of last season.
Brady was intercepted twice, once on a desperation pass at the end of the first half. Ronald Jones and Chris Godwin also lost fumbles, with the latter’s mistake preventing the Bucs from putting away the game in the closing minutes.
Brown had five receptions for 121 yards, including a 43-yard TD before halftime. Godwin had nine catches for 105 yards, but fumbled at the Cowboys 1 to stop a potential clinching drive before Prescott drove Dallas to Zuerlein’s go-ahead field goal.
FANS ON HAND
Due to attendance restrictions imposed because of the pandemic, the largest crowd for any NFL game last season was 24,845 for the Super Bowl played at Raymond James Stadium in February.
Fans arrived early Thursday night for a brief pregame ceremony celebrating Tampa Bay’s second championship — first in nearly two decades. They roared when co-owner Bryan Glazer stepped to the microphone and reminded them that the Bucs are the only franchise that’s claimed a crown on its home turf.
“There was one thing missing,” Glazer said. “All of you.”
Earlier, the teams stood on their respective goal lines for the playing of Alicia Keys’ version of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the national Black anthem.
Cowboys: Played without RG Zack Martin, who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week.
Buccaneers: CB Sean Murphy-Bunting left with an elbow injury suffered trying to stop Lamb from scoring in the first quarter. The secondary was already playing without starting S Jordan Whitehead (hamstring).
Cowboys: at Los Angeles Chargers on Sept. 19.
Buccaneers: Remain home against NFC South rival Atlanta on Sept. 19
Lululemon named official Canadian outfitter for next four Olympics | Offside – Daily Hive
Lululemon will be officially heading to the Olympics.
The Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Committees announced Thursday a partnership with the Canadian clothing brand Lululemon, making it the country’s official outfitter of Team Canada for the next four Olympics.
“As a Canadian and lifelong fan of the Games, I could not be prouder for Lululemon to partner with the Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Paralympic Committee,” said Calvin McDonald, the CEO of Lululemon in a release. “Supporting these incredible athletes as they prepare to compete on the world’s largest sporting stage is a privilege. Through this partnership, all of us at Lululemon are honoured to play our part to inspire, unite and transform the world through sport and share in this excitement alongside all of Canada.”
A small selection of Lululemon Olympic apparel is available online and in-store already, with more to be revealed next month.
The partnership will start at the Beijing 2022 Games, continuing through 2024 in Paris, 2026 in Milan, and 2028 in Los Angeles.
This replaces the Hudson’s Bay partnership that first began in Torino 2006 and expired after Tokyo 2020.
While it’s Lululemon’s first official Olympic partnership, they actually launched a collection that appeared to be heavily inspired by Vancouver 2010.
— Zarah Al-Kudcy (@zalkudcy) July 28, 2016
San Jose Sharks open training camp without Evander Kane amid NHL investigation – ESPN
The Sharks took the ice for the first time this season Thursday, a day after Kane was cleared by the NHL of gambling allegations. But with the league still looking into allegations of physical and sexual abuse made by his estranged wife, Kane and the Sharks decided he will not take part in practice until further notice.
“It’s not ideal, but there is an ongoing investigation from the NHL,” general manager Doug Wilson said. “The focus has to be on our group here, the guys that are here today and the things that we can control, but also respect the process of dealing with some very serious allegations and some things that need to be addressed with the right process.”
The Kane saga has been hanging over the Sharks for weeks after Anna Kane alleged in an Instagram post this summer that Kane bet on NHL games and was “obviously throwing games to win money.”
That launched a probe by the league, and the NHL said Wednesday there was no evidence to back up those charges and that the investigation “raises doubts about the veracity of the allegations.”
But Anna Kane also made additional allegations this week of sexual and physical abuse in a restraining order application filed in Santa Clara County Family Court.
Kane’s attorney denied those charges, but the team said it came to an agreement with Kane that he won’t participate in camp until further notice while the league looks into the allegations.
None of the players made available to the media would comment on the specifics.
“No one knew about anything and no one still knows about anything,” defenseman Erik Karlsson said. “We’re here to focus on the things that we can control and everything other than that is out of our hands.”
There was also a report this offseason from The Athletic that there was a rift between Kane and his teammates, many of whom don’t want him back on the team.
Kane’s teammates said any issues would be dealt with privately in the dressing room and they were happy with the mindset of the group that was on hand for the start of camp.
“I thought today was a real good day,” captain Logan Couture said. “When you get to the rink, you show up, you play hockey, you work hard. You play for the guy next to you. Everyone that’s here is proud to be a San Jose Shark and we want to win for this organization.”
Kane’s absence will be felt on the ice as he was the team’s most consistent forward last season, when he led the Sharks with 22 goals and 49 points.
If Kane can’t play, San Jose will have a hard time reversing the dramatic fall the team has taken the past two seasons after making it to the Western Conference finals in 2019.
“We all just play,” defenseman Brent Burns said. “It’s no different than anything else. At the end of the day, we just make coffee in the morning, come to the rink, get ready to play and you do it. I don’t think it’s any different than guys getting hurt, not being there for lineup. We don’t worry about that stuff. We can’t. There’s too much other stuff.”
The Sharks finished last in the Western Conference in 2019-20 — firing coach Peter DeBoer in December — and they took only small steps forward last season when they finished near the bottom of the West Division with 49 points in the first full season under Boughner.
They made few big moves in the offseason outside of buying out ineffective goalie Martin Jones, acquiring Adin Hill from Arizona in a trade and signing James Reimer for a second stint with the organization. The Sharks’ .891 save percentage over the past three seasons is the lowest in the NHL.
They also added some depth forwards in Nick Bonino and Andrew Cogliano, but there will still be questions about whether there’s enough firepower on the top two lines, which will be an even greater concern if Kane doesn’t play.
Canadian Hubbard replaces injured McCaffrey as Panthers beat Texans – Sportsnet.ca
HOUSTON — Thanks to another efficient performance from Sam Darnold and continued dominant play by their defense, the Carolina Panthers are 3-0 for the first time since 2015, when they reached the Super Bowl.
That combination was certainly too much for the Houston Texans in Carolina’s 24-9 victory on Thursday night. But a hamstring injury to star running back Christian McCaffrey could cause serious adversity for Darnold and the Panthers’ offense going forward.
“Losing Christian is tough, but I thought we did a great job of bouncing back,” Darnold said. “We were able to put the first half behind us and do a good job in the second half.”
Canadian rookie Chuba Hubbard replaced McCaffrey. The native of Sherwood Park, Alta., finished with 11 carries for 52 yards and added three catches for 27 yards.
Darnold threw for 304 yards and ran for two touchdowns as the Panthers eased past the Texans despite losing McCaffrey early in the second quarter.
“In the second half we trusted Sam,” coach Matt Rhule said. “We were throwing more verticals and pushing the ball down the field.”
Carolina’s top-ranked defense put the squeeze on Houston rookie Davis Mills in his first career start, sacking him four times and holding him to 168 yards passing. Mills was pressed into action after Tyrod Taylor suffered a hamstring injury last Sunday and was placed on injured reserve.
The Panthers have allowed 573 yards and totaled 14 sacks in three games.
Darnold topped 300 yards passing for the second straight game as he continues to revitalize his career with the Panthers after being cast aside by the New York Jets.
McCaffrey came in leading the league in scrimmage yards, the same thing he did in the 2019 season. But he missed all but three games in 2020 with various injuries as the Panthers sputtered to 5-11 in Rhule’s first year.
Rhule said McCaffrey had a strained hamstring.
“I don’t know the severity level of it yet, to be quite honest with you,” Rhule said. “But I knew the minute it happened I said: `Hey, he’s out for the game.’ That’s all I knew. I saw him in there, and he’s moving around, but it’s a wait and see.”
Darnold rushed for Carolina’s first score in the first quarter and put the game away when he bulled in from 1 yard out to make it 24-9 with about four minutes left, losing his helmet in the process.
Mills threw for a touchdown and avoided big mistakes after he threw an interception in the second half of Sunday’s loss at Cleveland. But the Texans (1-2) couldn’t run the ball, finishing with 42 yards on the ground, and that forced Mills into tough down-and-distance situations as Houston punted six times.
“We just weren’t very good on offense tonight … because we weren’t able to run the ball,” Texans coach David Culley said.
Mills’ favorite target was Brandin Cooks, who had nine receptions for 112 yards.
“I thought he was great,” Cooks said of the rookie. “He handled himself well.”
Darnold’s 5-yard run put the Panthers ahead early and McCaffrey was injured on Carolina’s next drive. Hubbard was stopped for no gain on fourth-and-1 from the Houston 5 to end that possession.
Hubbard, a fourth-round pick from Oklahoma State, finished with 11 carries for 52 yards and three receptions for 27 yards.
Anthony Miller grabbed a 1-yard touchdown pass about 30 seconds before halftime, but Joey Slye missed the extra point. Miller made his debut with the Texans after he missed the first two games with a shoulder injury.
Tommy Tremble dashed untouched into the end zone from 7 yards out to put Carolina ahead 14-6 in the third quarter. The teams traded field goals before Darnold’s short rush on third-and-goal capped a 12-play drive that put it away.
Carolina rookie CB Jaycee Horn, the eighth overall pick in the draft, suffered broken bones in his right foot, Rhule said. … Panthers S Juston Burris pulled a groin muscle and Rhule said he would miss some time.
HE SAID IT
“We just didn’t execute. We missed tackles. They were just making plays they were supposed to make and we weren’t making plays we were supposed to make.” — Texans linebacker Christian Kirksey.
Carolina visits Dallas on Oct. 3.
Houston visits Buffalo on Oct. 3.
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