Wrap-up: Cowboys 16, Buccaneers 10

September, 23, 2012
9/23/12
4:27
PM ET

Thoughts on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers16-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday:

What it means: For the second straight week, the Bucs went on the road against a tough NFC East opponent. For the second straight week, the Bucs got the same result. They were very much in the game, but they weren’t good enough to win. There have been a fair amount of bright spots the past two weeks. But bright spots don’t get you wins. The Bucs are now 1-2.

What I liked: The defense. The Bucs played a very solid defensive game. I’ve been particularly impressed with the front four. Defensive end Michael Bennett and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy were very active. This unit should only continue to get better. But there was one troubling development. Second-year lineman Adrian Clayborn left the game with what appeared to be a knee injury. If Clayborn’s out for an extended period, the Bucs would be very thin at defensive end. There’s hope Da'Quan Bowers can return after tearing his Achilles tendon in the offseason. But Bowers is on the PUP and isn’t even eligible to return until after the sixth game.

What I didn’t like: The offense. It was downright dismal. The Bucs did punch in a quick touchdown after cornerback Aqib Talib intercepted a pass early in the first quarter. But Tampa Bay’s offense did virtually nothing the rest of the game. Quarterback Josh Freeman completed just 10 of 28 passes for 110 yards and was intercepted once. Put a lot of the blame on Freeman, but not all of it. There were a few drops and the receivers didn’t do a great job of getting open. That also prompted Freeman to hold onto the ball for too long and take some big hits.

Where was VJ? The Bucs spent a fortune to bring in Vincent Jackson. He didn’t make his first catch of the day until there was 1:50 left in the game.

Quote of the day: “I don’t get it." -- Fox analyst Troy Aikman, after the Bucs called a running play on third-and-9 late in the game.

What’s next: The Buccaneers host the Washington Redskins next Sunday.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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