The Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicked off their NFL championship defence in thrilling fashion with a 31-29 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.

Tom Brady was superb in the opening game of his 21st season, passing for four touchdowns and 379 yards in another ageless performance for the 44-year-old.

However, he had plenty of competition in the form of Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott.

In his first game since suffering an ankle injury 11 months ago, the 28-year-old threw for 403 yards and three touchdowns as the two teams traded scoring drives throughout the entire 60 minutes.

The contest came down to the final two minutes, when Dallas kicker Greg Zuerlein – who earlier missed an extra point and a 31-yard attempt – nailed a 48-yard field goal to put the Cowboys up by one.

But the Cowboys defence, which had forced four turnovers, was unable to stop Brady when it mattered most.

The veteran quarterback led the Buccaneers on a 62-yard drive before Ryan Succop sealed the victory with a 36-yard field goal.