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Cowboys Prevail In Defensive Battle With Bucs, 13-9.

 It wasn’t an offensive display by either team Sunday afternoon in Dallas, but the Cowboys did manage to keep the Buccaneers offense out of the end zone all day including a defensive stop at their own 19-yard line with just :13 seconds remaining in the game.  The end result was a 13-9 victory to snap their first two-game losing streak since 1996. 

Tampa Bay showed why they have the top-rated run defense in the NFC holding the Cowboys’ rushing attack to just 70-yards and only 102-yards passing, but only managed 9-points after having great field position for the majority of the first half.  The Cowboys’ defense stepped up to keep Jeff Garcia and the rest of the Bucs out of the end zone on three successive short-field drives giving up just 6-points in the first quarter. 

The Cowboys’ offense was ineffective and failed to get a first down until the last play of the first quarter, but then reeled off ten points with new receiver Roy E. Williams getting his first touchdown catch with his new team just before the end of the half to make the score 10-6. 

The second half was just as much a defensive battle as the first with both teams only able to trade field goals in the third quarter and neither managing to score in the final quarter.  Dallas suffered several more injuries as well, with Pro Bowl TE Jason Witten missing most of the second half with a rib injury, starting CB Anthony Henry went out late in the third quarter with a quad injury and LB Bradie James injured just before the end of the game.  His injury didn’t appear to be serious, but any injuries at this point is beyond serious for the Cowboys at the mid-point of the season and a 5-3 record.

Dallas had fewer penalties in this one and zero turnovers, but did give up three sacks on QB Brad Johnson, who was less-than-efficient throwing the ball but avoided any fumbles or interceptions.  Tampa Bay fumbled the second-half kick off, but held Dallas without points thanks to a personal foul call on S Pat Watkins which backed the Cowboys up to mid-field. 

One highlight play from the game occurred early in the game after Dallas’ first punt when new P Sam Paulescu made a big hit on Tampa Bay’s Clifton Smith possibly preventing a touchdown. 

Tampa Bay actually committed the most penalties especially on the defensive side of the ball most of which came late in the second quarter on Dallas’ eventual touchdown drive.  They had two pass interference calls, a horse collar tackle and personal foul on the one drive alone.   The horse collar call coming after a third-down stop would have ended the Dallas drive, instead the Cowboys were able to convert on the 2-yard pass to Roy Williams for the ultimate game winning touchdown.

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