By Ed Greene
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The Dallas Cowboys have been looking to get a win without starting QB Tony Romo. They came into Raymond James Stadium with hopes of staying alive in the NFC East. What they got instead was a Buccaneers unit that refused to lay down despite trailing the entirety of the game. Despite throwing two interceptions, QB Jameis Winston managed to keep his cool and score the winning TD, guiding the Bucs to a 10-6 victory on a windy Sunday afternoon. Truly a statement game that was needed in the progression of the young QB and the unit as a whole.
For the most part, the contest was mostly a tail of two kickers. Both Dan Bailey and Connor Barth were the only ones to get points on the board for their respective clubs, and both missing a field goal each. Bailey scored a FG in both the first and second quarters, while Barth got his lone score in the second. Weather did play a factor into the game, and you can’t place too much blame on the kickers for their misses. As I had predicted on this site, this was a close affair, and it came down to who wanted it more.
Winston was 22 for 39 and 264 yards with no TD’s and the aforementioned picks. This breaks his streak of games without any INT’s at four. While his numbers weren’t good, he still managed to be co-hero of the game, running in the games sole touchdown with :59 left in the game. Doug Martin and Charles Sims chipped in with 63 and 18 yards rushing, respectively. WR Mike Evans had another solid performance, with eight receptions and 126 yards. But Evans continues to struggle with dropped passes that potentially could’ve set up a score for the home team.
The defense was superb for both squads. S Jeff Heath was the standout for Dallas, getting the two INT’s from Winston, while the line got three sacks on the day. The Bucs had some bright spots as well, none brighter than the game-clinching INT by the other hero of the game S Bradley McDougald in the endzone. Matt Cassel ended up going 19 for 30, 186 yards and no score, and the deciding interception. Dez Bryant and Jason Witten both were held to 45 and 42 yards receiving. What was really good this week was the Buccaneers scaled back on the penalties, only accumulating seven for a total of 62 yards.
Up next for the Cowboys, they come back to Florida next Sunday to take on the Miami Dolpins, while the Bucs head to Philly to take on the Eagles and finish up their NFC East schedule. Truly a great win for Tampa Bay.
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