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(Sunday, October 26th)
Final Score: Dallas 13, Tampa Bay 9
Irving, TX (Sports Network) - Roy Williams scored his first touchdown as a Cowboy, and the Dallas defense made a crucial stop in the last minute to give the Cowboys a 13-9 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Texas Stadium.
Tampa Bay forced a punt late in the fourth, starting on their own 26 with 4:15 to play. Ernest Graham converted a 4th-and-inches to get to the 39, and Jeff Garcia found Ike Hilliard on the next play for a 13-yard gain as the clock ran down to the two minute warning.
Three plays later on 3rd-and-3, Garcia hit Jerramy Stevens for a six-yard gain down to the Cowboys' 35. The Buccaneers faced a 4th-and-4 from the 29, and Garcia threw a perfect pass to Hilliard for six yards.
After a couple short gains, Tampa had 4th-and-5 from the 18. Garcia was hit as he threw, and the ball fell harmlessly to the ground, sealing the victory for the Cowboys.
"We were able to step up and make plays when we needed to," said Cowboys defensive end Marcus Spears. "(We) kept the other guys out of the end zone, and when you are able to do that in this league you give yourself a good chance to win."
Brad Johnson, who was starting for the injured Tony Romo for the second straight week, completed 19-of-33 passes for 122 yards and a touchdown for the Cowboys (5-3), who were coming off two straight losses, including a brutal 34-14 defeat at the hands of the St. Louis Rams. Marion Barber ran for 71 yards on 25 carries, and Terrell Owens led the Cowboys in receiving yards with 33 on five catches.
"It was a good team win for us," Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips said. "Our defense certainly stepped up today. Our offense had a tough time, but tough times sometimes happen."
The game was a defensive battle throughout, as Williams' score marked the only touchdown of the contest. The Buccaneers outgained the Cowboys by a 262-172 margin, and Dallas converted only 3-of-15 third downs, while the Bucs converted only 6-of-17 chances.
Garcia went 28-of-44 passing for 228 yards for the Buccaneers (5-3), who had won two straight games. Graham only managed 42 yards on the ground on 17 attempts, and Antonio Bryant caught seven passes for 46 yards. Matt Bryant tallied all nine Tampa points, making 3-of-4 field goal attempts.
"We've got to score a touchdown," Bucs head coach Jon Gruden said. "There was one score today and it was the deciding play in the game. I'm not that frustrated. I am disappointed that we lost, (but) at the same time we have had eight solid outings."
Down 6-3, Dallas put together a drive at the end of the first half. On 3rd- and-12 from the Tampa 49, Barber caught a one-yard pass but was taken down on a "horse-collar" tackle, which resulted in a personal foul penalty to keep the drive going. With one second left, from the two, Johnson threw a fade pass to Williams, who caught it for his first touchdown as a Cowboy to go into the locker room up 10-6.
"That's what I'm supposed to do," Williams said of the touchdown reception. "That's what I was brought in for. All I want to do is help this team win."
Following a punt, Nick Folk capped a six-play drive with a 45-yard field goal to extend the lead to seven with 5:18 left in the third.
On the next drive, Garcia found Alex Smith for 34 yards on 3rd-and-2, bringing the Bucs to the Dallas 21. Bryant hit his third field goal of the day to make it 13-9 going into the fourth quarter.
Bryant gave the Buccaneers and early lead, kicking a 36-yard field goal just four minutes into the game. Bryant added another 36-yarder late in the first quarter for a 6-0 advantage.
The Cowboys finally put together a 14-play drive in the second quarter, but the drive stalled, and Folk hit a 38-yard field goal with 9:38 left in the half.
Dallas leads the all-time series, 10-3, including winning the last two...Cowboys tight end Jason Witten left the game in the first quarter after suffering a rib contusion. He attempted to come back but sat out most of the second half...Dallas cornerback Anthony Henry left the game with a left quad contusion and did not return...Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware snapped a streak of 10 games in which he recorded at least one sack...Buccaneers defensive end Gaines Adams had two sacks.
10/26 18:10:47 ET
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