It wasn’t pretty, but the Dallas Cowboys came away with a victory in their 2012 home opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday afternoon.
Aqib Talib intercepted Tony Romo on the Cowboys’ first possession to set the Buccaneers up at the Dallas 29, and set the tone for the day. A few plays later, quarterback Josh Freeman hit Luke Stocker on a one-yard touchdown pass to give Tampa Bay an early 7-0 lead.
The Dallas defense took the field again after a fruitless offensive possession and, shortly thereafter, Sean Lee recorded the Cowboys’ first interception of 2012. DeMarco Murray would capitalize on the favorable field position a few plays later as he tied things up with an 11 yard touchdown run, 7-7.
Dan Bailey added a field goal (following a Tampa Bay fumble) to make it 10-7 going into intermission.
The second half was pretty unremarkable, at least from a scoring standpoint. Dallas managed just two field goals despite having some prime opportunities to hit paydirt--this including a fourth quarter Dez Bryant punt return that gave the Cowboys the ball at the Tampa Bay 6-yard line. The Cowboys managed only a field goal on this possession, but in retrospect, it more or less closed the door on the Bucs' chances on Sunday.
Tampa Bay’s Connor Barth provided a fourth quarter field goal to bring the Bucs within six at 16-10, but after an unsuccessful onside kick attempt, Dallas ran out the clock to go to 2-1 on the year.
Overall, it was an ugly and highly defensive contest. Each of the first 17 points scored in this game came off of turnovers and the Dallas offensive line was bad once again, both in terms of collecting penalties and protecting their quarterback. The good news is that Romo comes away from this game healthy, after wearing a huge (and, for Dallas fans in particular, scary) hit from the Bucs’ Gerald McCoy.
At 2-1, Dallas will welcome the Bears to Cowboys Stadium next Monday night.
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