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(Sunday, September 23rd)
Final Score: Dallas 16, Tampa Bay 10
Arlington, TX (Sports Network) - Dan Bailey made three field goals and the Dallas Cowboys beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 16-10, in a defensive battle.
Tony Romo completed 25-of-39 passes for 283 yards and an interception for the Cowboys (2-1), who bounced back from a 27-7 loss to Seattle last week.
DeMarco Murray carried the ball 18 times for 38 yards and a score. Miles Austin caught five passes for 107 yards.
Josh Freeman connected on just 10-of-28 passes for 110 yards, a touchdown and an interception for the Buccaneers (1-2), who have lost two in a row since starting the season with a win over the Panthers.
"We played a good Cowboys football team today," Freeman said.
Doug Martin carried the ball 19 times for 53 yards in defeat.
Each team capitalized off a turnover in the first quarter. Romo was picked off by Aqib Talib on the opening possession of the game. A defensive pass interference penalty quickly put Tampa Bay at the Dallas 12-yard line. After Martin got two yards on 4th-and-1, Freeman found Luke Stocker in the left side of the end zone.
But Freeman was picked off on the Buccaneers' next drive. Sean Lee recorded an interception off a D.J. Ware dropped pass on 3rd-and-14. The Cowboys took over at the 23-yard line of Tampa Bay. Murray caught a 14-yard pass before finding the end zone on an 11-yard run. The second-year running back out of Oklahoma used his blockers on the left side to make it 7-7 with 1:22 remaining.
Another Tampa Bay turnover late in the second stanza resulted in three more points for Dallas. Jordan Shipley fumbled a punt and the Cowboys recovered the ball. A roughing the kicker penalty was added on, putting the home team at the 24-yard line. Bailey made a 32-yard field goal to make it 10-7 with 2:51 to go.
The story of the third quarter was Tampa Bay's inability to take advantage of a pair of Dallas turnovers. On the Cowboys' first possession of the second half, Romo lost the football while being sacked. The original call on the field was an incomplete pass. But the Bucs had to punt.
Romo fumbled on another sack on Dallas' next possession. This time around, it was ruled that Romo was down before losing the ball. Upon further review, it was determined that Romo lost the ball before hitting the ground. But once again, Tampa Bay was forced to punt.
"I can't give our defense enough credit," Romo said. "That was as good a performance as I've ever been around."
Bailey capped a nine-play, 72-yard drive with a 26-yard field goal, giving the Cowboys a 13-7 edge with 11:10 remaining in the fourth.
The Bucs continued to do little on offense and were forced to punt with five minutes to go. Dez Bryant's 44-yard return set up Dallas at the 6-yard line. Bailey made a 22-yard field goal with 2:43 left to make it 16-7.
Tampa Bay was finally able to move the ball down the field. Freeman threw two incomplete passes from the Dallas 10-yard line, and Connor Barth made a 28- yard field goal.
Down by six with 40 seconds remaining, the Bucs tried an onside kick. But the Cowboys recovered to seal the win.
The Cowboys lead the all-time series by an 11-3 margin ... Stocker's TD catch was the first of his career ... Dallas safety Barry Church left the game with a leg injury ... Tampa Bay defensive end Adrian Clayborn left the contest with a knee injury ... Romo improved to 4-0 versus Tampa Bay.
09/23 20:18:03 ET