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I don’t know that I’ve seen a team play so poorly on offense and win this season in the NFL. Some teams have given up several turnovers and won games, but at least they were moving the ball an scored some touchdowns. Despite the defense holding Tampa to 166 total yards and forcing three turnover, the Cowboys offense managed just one touchdown and never put the game away as the Buccaneers did everything they could to give it away late in the Cowboys 16-10 victory.
The Cowboys biggest problem is their offensive line. Last week we wondered why Dallas didn’t stick with the running game. This week, there was no question why. Any positive signs the offensive line showed in the season opening win over the New York Giants are completely gone now. DeMarco Murray carried the ball for just 38 yards on 18 carries. While Romo finished with 283 yards on 25-39 passing, he didn’t throw a touchdown, lost two fumbles and was sacked four times.
Many of those hits were brutal as well. Bucs defenders were coming on free runs sometimes and Romo was often in distress. It kept Dallas from establishing a rhythm. Even when they were given great field position, they couldn’t punch in a touchdown. A key play in the 4th quarter was when Dez Bryant returned a punt to the six yard line. Instead of putting the game away with a touchdown, Dallas settled for a field goal.
And again, the reason this was such a disappointing victory is because the Tampa offense was so bad and, at times, incompetent. Head coach Greg Schiano caught a lot of flack for having the defensive line charge hard when the offenses that have beaten them kneeled down to run out the clock. His philosophy, of course, being that the team is never going to give up and play everything out until the final whistle. And yet, on Tampa’s last drive of the game, down two scores with less than three minutes left, Schiano called two running plays in the first three snaps that totaled -1 yard and kept the clock running.
So know that going forward, Dallas fans. That incompetent Bucs team went into Cowboys Stadium and nearly beat Dallas.
I’d also start worrying about Jason Witten. The Cowboys tight end was targeted six times and made just two catches. Witten is having trouble hanging on to the ball as the drops are coming way too often with him. You have to wonder if this is the result of him missing so much time or if he’s getting older. Either way, it’s going to be really hard for the offense to improve their production if they can’t count on Witten.
The only thing going right for Dallas is their defense. They’re getting pressure and forcing turnovers. You can’t ask for much more. The Bucs had a strong running game coming in and ran for just 75 yards. But the offense needs to take advantage of the opportunities the defense gives them. Otherwise, the Cowboys D is going to get worn down into a loss next Monday night the way the Seattle Seahawks beat them last week.