Ian Rapoport | Tags:
The Cowboys won ugly… unless you like defense. Then, it was pretty. Dallas took down the Bucs in a grind-it-out slugfest, leaving with a 16-10 victory at Cowboys Stadium. They did it while having 119 yards of offense after three quarters and just 38 rushing yards on the game.
Oh, and QB Tony Romo was brutalized all game, looking shaky in several instances. He took a couple hits that might lighten the wallets of some Tampa Bay defenders. All he did was shake off some missed opportunities and poor execution early to drive for two fourth-quarter field goals to ice it.
“This was a hard ballgame, and we made enough mistakes to lose,” owner Jerry Jones said. “But the defense bailed us out. They just had one of the best days. It’s a shame the (Bucs) got that last drive they got. To their credit they were still competing but our defense was just outstanding all day, arguably won the game for us.”
I’d argue that. Romo finished 25 of 39 for 283 yards and one interception, and he was sacked four times. The nasty Bucs front had 11 tackles for loss. But the Cowboys D turned it up, too. Pass-rusher DeMarcus Ware had two sacks, including a strip, and LB Sean Lee had an interception that led to the touchdown and the CBs allowed just 110 passing yards. For a team that spent a ton of resources on its D, they saw it pay off.
It just didn’t always look good, specifically with the penalties, 13 in all. Yikes. But still, a win.
“Obviously, we have to get better,” Romo said. “We did not do some things that we are accustomed to doing at a high level. And the penalties definitely hurt us, set us back. … But if you can figure out a way to win three or four when your offense does play like that, that’s a huge advantage above the other teams. The teams that do that, they’re playing at the end of the year. That’s what you’re trying to do.“
Best, most under-rated performance? Star cornerback Brandon Carr, who earned a $50-million pay day during the offseason, covered WR Vincent Jackson 1-on-1 for most of the game. Jackson had just one catch. But in nickel, he actually moved to safety, while CB Mike Jenkins covered Jackson. Yup, a totally new position. It worked perfectly.
“It has been probably, 10th, 11th grade where I last played safety, no more than 10 snaps,” Carr said. “I was a QB so they didn’t let me play defense until it was time for them to throw the ball. I studied hard, but differently. I just told them whatever it took to get the best 11 on the field, whatever it took to win the ballgame, I’m all for it, a team player.”