Wrapup: Cowboys 34, Bucs 21
September, 13, 2009
By Matt Mosley | ESPN.com
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
From what I was able to see from a TV at Giants Stadium, the Cowboys' offense had a pretty memorable day in a 34-21 win over Tampa Bay. Tony Romo threw for 353 yards and three touchdowns, and he did a really nice job of spreading the ball around. Roy Williams has joked that this is a below-average receiving corps, but he responded with three catches for 86 yards, including a 66-yard touchdown where he caught the ball down the seam and ran away from defenders.
Patrick Crayton led the way with four catches for 135 yards. It was a strong statement from a group of wide receivers that arrived with plenty of doubt this season. The Cowboys did what they had to do in putting an inferior team away in the second half. Marion Barber had 14 carries for 79 yards and a touchdown and did a good job of using his power to finish off the Bucs.
The thing that has to concern Wade Phillips the most with the Giants coming to town next Sunday is Tampa Bay's 174 rushing yards. Cadillac Williams and Derrick Ward gashed the Cowboys in the first half. Phillips said he was calling a lot of blitzes, and that led to some wide gaps in the defense. They better not do that against the Giants, a team that features Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw.
There's also the issue of the Cowboys not registering a sack for the first time in the Wade Phillips Era. DeMarcus Ware put plenty of pressure on Byron Leftwich, though, and the Cowboys had several knockdowns. Tony Romo will have some tests on his right ankle tomorrow at Valley Ranch, but he said he'll be fine. He played through the injury in the second half. All in all, it was a pretty strong start for the Cowboys. You can't let a bad team hang around -- and the Cowboys disposed of the Bucs in the second half. Now, they better figure out how to stop the run.