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Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Vote: Five plays that shaped Cowboys' win

By Jean-Jacques Taylor

IRVING, Texas -- There were 121 plays -- 66 on offense and 55 on defense -- in the Cowboys' 16-10 win over Tampa Bay. Here are five that shaped the game:

Play: Orie Lemon recovers fumble
Situation: Fourth and 7
Score: Tied, 7-7
Time: 6:28 second quarter
Taylor's Take: The Bucs' Dekoda Watson is probably still trying to figure out how he didn’t block this punt after a mental error let him go unblocked. The ball went under his body and he knocked down Chris Jones in the process. Tampa Bay's Jordan Shipley muffed the punt and Dallas recovered. Seven plays later, the Cowboys took their first lead on a Dan Bailey field goal. If the punt gets blocked, the Bucs probably lead by a touchdown.

Play: Sean Lee interception
Situation: Third and 14
Score: Tampa Bay, 7-0
Time: 3:32 first quarter
Taylor's Take: Josh Freeman, who has no idea how to throw a touch pass, drilled D.J. Ware in the chest with a pass from close range. It ricocheted in the air and Lee snagged it with two hands as a pair of Tampa Bay players tried to rip it from his grasp. The interception set up the Cowboys’ tying touchdown.

Play: DeMarcus Ware sack
Situation: Third and 4
Score: Dallas, 13-7
Time: 6:02 Fourth quarter
Taylor's Take: This was still a one-possession game, which must have been an uncomfortable position for Jason Garrett. With the Bucs in a passing situation, Ware got a great jump at the snap, beat Donald Penn around the edge and slapped the ball out of Freeman’s hand instead of going for the sack. The Bucs recovered but the drive was ruined and they had to punt from their end zone, setting up Dez Bryant’s 44-yard punt return.

Play: Tony Romo incompletion
Situation: Second and 16
Score: Tied, 7-7
Time: 10:56 second quarter
Taylor's Take: Another lucky break for the Cowboys kept the Bucs from positioning themselves to score an easy touchdown. Facing pressure and throwing from his end zone, Romo directed a pass to Kevin Ogletree, who never turned to look for the ball. If cornerback Eric Wright had turned and looked for the ball, there’s a good chance he would’ve intercepted it and returned it inside the Dallas 10.

Play: Josh Freeman intentional grounding
Situation: First and 10
Score: Dallas, 10-7
Time: 2:03 Third quarter
Taylor's Take: After Tony Romo’s second fumble of the quarter set Tampa Bay up in prime scoring position, Lee made yet another big play. Charging hard up the middle on a blitz, he forced Freeman to throw the ball away to avoid getting sacked. Facing a second-and-20 essentially ended the drive for the Bucs, who struggled to move the ball all game.