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TAMPA, Fla. -- all along, everybody connected with the Dallas Cowboys said they believed Dak Prescott would certainly be Dak Prescott in the 2021 season opener.

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It transforms out they were right, however that was not enough to conquer Tom Brady and the defending Super bowl champion Tampa bay Buccaneers. The Cowboys shed 31-29 ~ above a 36-yard ar goal by Ryan Succop v two seconds to pat Thursday night.

Considering it was Prescott"s first live action in 11 months coming turn off a dislocation and also compound fracture of his best ankle and also a maintain camp in which the was restricted by a strained latissimus muscle in his ideal shoulder, his play was astonishing if not highly surprising.

A 31-yard completion on third-and-11 come CeeDee Lamb top top the beat after the two-minute warning placed the Cowboys in position for Greg Zuerlein"s go-ahead 48-yard field goal through 1:24 come play. Yet Brady answer Prescott"s greatness v greatness that his own.

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Prescott finished with 403 yards, matching his career high in completions (42) and attempts (58) to go with three touchdown passes and also one interception. It to be the eighth game of at the very least 400 yards passing in his career and fourth in his previous six starts.

"I don"t feel choose I say things simply to say them, therefore that"s just a credit to all the occupational I put in," Prescott said. "I think once you invest that lot work in rehab and also prehab and also just everything that has gone into the last 11 months for me to obtain on the field, ns mean, I"m not surprised about the means that ns went the end there and fought. Ran the sphere a pair times and also did all the points that I"d typically do 11 month ago. No, i feel prefer I"m a better player 보다 I was as soon as I left the field and also I called y"all the was the expectation I had for myself, and also I"ll proceed to shot to get far better game in and game out."

Once the game started, Prescott looked the means he did when healthy in 2020.

His very first pass went because that 28 yards come Amari Cooper. He take it a fight on the second series in i beg your pardon he completed all seven of his passes and also threw a 22-yard touchdown happen to Lamb top top a dual move. He took an even bigger hit beforehand in the third quarter by Ndamukong Suh and also got earlier up. He to be sacked only when on a night when the Cowboys go not have actually their finest offensive lineman, best guard Zack Martin, that is top top the reserve/COVID-19 list.

Prescott experienced a cut on his left hand that necessary to be bandaged during the game but did no require any kind of stitches.

"They did part medic stuff through some adhesive or something," he said.

Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott attempted a personal-record 32 overcome in the an initial half the Thursday"s loss come the Buccaneers.Julio Aguilar/Getty ImagesPrescott test a personal-record 32 overcome in the an initial half. Only one quarterback threw an ext passes before halftime last season: the Kansas City Chiefs" Patrick Mahomes, who had actually 33 against the Buccaneers in mainly 12. Through the end of the third quarter, Prescott had actually 47 happen attempts, the most by any kind of quarterback through 3 quarters in a game since Aaron Rodgers in week 7 against the Chicago bear in 2016, when Mike McCarthy to be the eco-friendly Bay Packers" coach.

"I don"t plan on throwing that that many times, and, no, I never questioned my health or gift able to throw it 50 times or exactly how I"d feel the end there," Prescott said.

Prescott had actually his an initial opening-day interception in six gamings when a deep litter to Lamb deflected off the receiver"s hands right into Carlton Davis" hands, yet he had actually the Cowboys in place to pull turn off the upset. The hit Lamb for a 31-yard get into Tampa bay territory and also connected because that 10 yards with Cooper to collection up Zuerlein"s go-ahead field goal with 1:24 come play.

"I mean, this is that he is," McCarthy said. "I mean, I never thought that couldn"t have this kind of night. You"ve got to remember, he"s 24-7 football. That puts a remarkable amount of initiative into this."

In plenty of ways Prescott"s night mirrored his 2020. He placed up large numbers, yet the Cowboys still lost anyway with the defense unable to safeguard the lead against Brady"s heroics. In the first four full games that year, that attempted at the very least 39 passes. In main 2-4, the threw because that 450, 472 and 502 yards with eight touchdowns and also three interceptions, prior to his season finished Oct. 11 against the new York Giants. He was on pace to litter for much more than 6,000 yards as soon as he got hurt.

Prescott underwent 2 surgeries, withstood hours that rehab, signed a $160 million contract in March and dealt with constant questions about his shoulder ~ pulling himself out of a July 28 practice.

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He answered every concern Thursday, also if he and the Cowboys never had actually any.

"I took pleasure in every minute of that game," Prescott said. "Honestly, this totality trip, there"s to be multiple moments that I"ve bring away in and just missed the bus ride, let go the warm-ups, missed the fans, missed so much about this video game that brings me so lot joy. Being under in a game two points and also knowing you"re walk to have an chance to go ago out there and play. Just that resiliency -- missed that. Missed that emotion that sparks up in me and the fire the it had. Over there wasn"t a component of this game or minute I took for granted."