Dallas accumulated 13 penalties, including six false starts. Tony Romo was sacked four times, and Jason Witten dropped a number of passes.
Despite the miscues, the Cowboys still eked out a win. It was an ugly win, for sure, but after last week’s debacle against Seattle, this game was essentially a must-win for Dallas.
Here are my game balls for who stepped up in the victory.
The lone defensive bright spot for the Cowboys last year made his impact known, garnering the second forced turnover and the first interception for the Cowboys this year.
Head coach Jason Garrett must be more than happy about the defensive prowess that Lee showed in Sunday's win.
Since joining Dallas in 2010, Lee has seven interceptions and leads the league among linebackers. This was a defensive win for the Cowboys. Going forward, the team is going to rely heavily on Lee to emerge as a leader.
Coming into the home opener, Dez Bryant only had seven catches on the season.
On Sunday, he had six catches for 62 yards and returned a punt 44 yards.
After the offseason drama, it finally looks like Bryant is playing the way he wants. With the injury to Jason Witten looking like it’s severely impacted his effectiveness, Dallas is going to have to rely on Bryant and the rest of the receivers.
After an injury to Gerald Sensabaugh, Brandon Carr was asked to play safety this week, despite not having played the position since he was in high school.
Along with some stellar coverage from Mike Jenkins, Tampa Bay's wide receivers were pretty muted. Vincent Jackson caught just one pass from Josh Freeman, who finished the day with a 45.2 passer rating.
Head coach Jason Garrett did not indicate whether Carr would continue to shuffle back and forth between safety and cornerback, but after yesterday’s performance, that would seem to be a viable option.
This was a defensive win, no question about it.
Prior to the final drive, Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman threw for less than 40 yards.
The Bucs' running game never got off the ground either. Despite an absurd number of penalties, the Cowboys still managed to hold Tampa Bay to just 10 points.
After the embarrassment from last week’s game in Seattle, it’s just what the team needed.
After a disastrous game against Seattle that saw a fumble on the opening kickoff return, special teams under coach Joe DeCamillis returned to form Sunday.
In addition to Dez Bryant's 44-yard punt return, Dallas' Orie Lemon recovered Jordan Shipley's fumble. It was Lemon’s first game after being called up from the practice squad.
Both special teams plays resulted in field goals for the Cowboys.
We’re a little hesitant to hand him anything after all the hits he took, but we think Tony Romo can handle it.
Despite three turnovers, including one in the first minute of the game, Romo still led the team to grind it out against Tampa Bay.
After the game Romo was quick to praise the defense and special teams for bailing out the offense. It might have been an ugly win but it’s still a win.