Dallas 16, Tampa Bay 10: Winning While Regressing

Sean Lee was a hero yet again, picking off a pass on a deflection the first quarter. The play set up the Cowboys’ lone touchdown.

We’re using the following to define regression2. Relapse to a less perfect or developed state.

We use that word today because of this—

  • 13 penalties for 105 yards.
  • An interception in Dallas territory in the first quarter, which led to a Tampa Bay touchdown.
  • Two fumbles, one of which was very stupid and most likely cost the Cowboys some points.
  • The Cowboys should have had the game put away with a 16-7 lead, but Tampa managed to pull to within a possession.

Nevertheless, the Cowboys are 2-1 thanks largely to a solid defensive performance/inept Tampa Bay offense. Even with a late drive that went 70 yards, the Buccaneers only managed 166 total yards. The Cowboys, on the other hand, controlled time of possession and still managed to gain 297 yards despite a bunch of mistakes.

Jason Witten has been the heart and soul of this team for some time. At this point, he is a liability. He was targeted six times yet only managed two receptions for eight yards. On the final play of the third quarter, Witten had the ball in his hands and would have wound up inside the 10. Instead, he dropped the ball. Dallas later settled for a field goal. It was Witten’s third drop of the game.

Meanwhile, the current heart and soul of this team is Sean Lee. With the Cowboys down 7-0 in the first quarter, Lee came up with an interception in Tampa territory, setting up a DeMarco Murray touchdown that tied the game.

Dallas very nearly suffered the second blocked punt in two games when Dekoda Watson ran right up the middle at Chris Jones. However, Watson missed the punt and was called for roughing the kicker. Even worse for Tampa Bay, Jordan Shipley muffed the punt, and Dallas recovered. The Cowboys managed a field goal to take a 10-7 halftime lead.

For a short time, it looked like Dallas would take control. The offense moved to the Tampa Bay 17. However, on second down, Romo pulled a Romo and tried to shovel a ball to DeMarco Murray to avoid a sack. Instead, replays showed that Romo fumbled the ball, and the Cowboys lost their scoring chance.

On a play later in the second half, Romo fumbled again when he was hit hard on a sack. Tampa took possession at the Dallas 31, but the Buccaneer offense went backwards.

The defense continued to stuff Tampa in the second half, and when the Cowboys pushed the Bucs back to their own 1, Tampa had to punt. Dez Bryant took the punt return around midfield and returned it to the Tampa Bay 6 with less than five minutes left. The play set up a field goal that gave Dallas a nine-point lead.

Tampa managed to convert a 4th-and-11 play with less than two minutes left, and the Buccaneers were able to drive into field goal range. However, their onside kick attempt failed, and the Cowboys were able to kill the clock.

The Cowboys and Giants are both 2-1, while the Redskins fell to 1-2 after a loss to Cincinnati today.

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Article by Matt Cordon

Blogging impatiently about the Cowboys since 2006. Being a fan since 1977 hasn't required quite as much patience.

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