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Cowboys-Buccaneers: Dallas Sinks Tampa Bay After Slow Start

Jason Henry@thenprojectCorrespondent ISeptember 14, 2009

TAMPA, FL - SEPTEMBER 13:  Running back Carnell Williams #24 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is tackled by linebacker Keith Brooking #51, safety Gerald Sensabaugh #43 and nose tackle Jay Ratliff #90 of the Dallas Cowboys during the game at Raymond James Stadium on September 13, 2009 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

The Cowboys started the game against Tampa sluggish, pedestrian, and uninspired. The first few drives only yielded field goals, and the defense had more than a few holes in it.

After the first quarter, the score was a shock to most, as the Bucs stuck with the ‘Boys only trailing 6-0.

The second quarter was even more ordinary, as both teams seemed to maneuver their way around the field about as well as a blind person. Tony Romo threw in front of, behind, and over receivers as they marched to an eventual 13-7 halftime lead after a 42-yard pitch and catch between Romo and Miles Austin ended in a touchdown.

Going into halftime, the team still seemed to be finding its way as the defensive secondary looked confused and out of sync.

But the second half was a different story.

Bum’s son must have fired the troops up in the locker room because the Cowboys emerged more focused in the third and fourth quarters.

Immediately out of the gate, the ‘Boys were swinging as Romo tossed a 66-yard touchdown pass to Roy Williams and the Cowboys went up 20-7.

It seemed as if Dallas was about to blow the doors off, but Byron Leftwich marched the Bucs back down the field, and newly acquired running back Derrick Ward scored on a one-yard touchdown run.

That was pretty much the last ray of hope for the pirates as the Cowboys took control from there and never looked back.

Touchdown for Patrick Crayton? Check.

Running score for Marion Barber? Check.

It’s on now; the Cowboys are riding on "28’s with the windows down on a 2010 all-blue Range Rover."

Romo finally pulled his head out of the clouds, and the defense patched the holes in the submarine.

All in all, it turned out to be a great day for the Cowboys. Romo ended up with 353 passing yards (a career high), three touchdowns, and no turnovers. Now if he could only go on a run of zero turnovers for more than one game.

Romo also completed 66 percent of his passes thrown over 10 yards and had a healthy 149 quarterback rating.

For Williams, he ended up with a solid outing. He caught three balls for 86 yards and one touchdown.

Terrell who?

The worrisome part of the game was the Dallas defense, actually. The Bucs ran for over 170 yards and scored two touchdowns, racking up 5.6 yards a carry. The Cowboys cannot play that way against the Giants and expect to win, not with Brandon Jacobs in the backfield.

The Cowboys' secondary gave up a few big plays down the middle, something Bum’s son will have to address this week in practice.

The Cowboys beat the Bucs 34-21 and head back home to face the Giants to open their new billion-dollar stadium.

Injury note: Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo says that he injured his right ankle during Sunday's game. The ankle will be re-examined on Tuesday. The Cowboys' new starting safety Gerald Sensabaugh was helped off the field after a big hit on Buccaneers wide receiver Michael Clayton. No word on if he’ll return next week.

-JH

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