Week 15 saw the Buccaneers travel to Dallas to play in a Saturday night affair. The game was critical for this team that was fighting for the playoffs spot. Many fans have high hopes for their team and want the chance to buy playoffs tickets. Unfortunately, the same could not be said of Tampa Bay.
The Cowboys-Buccaneers game represented the proverbial two ships passing in the night. Dallas came in fighting for their playoff life after just having lost to their rival the New York Giants on a last second field goal attempt. They needed the win to put tremendous pressure on the Giants. In contrast, the Buccaneers appeared to have quit on Head Coach Rahim Morris for losing seven straight, the last three in blowouts. Given this set up, it was little surprise this game was over early.
Coming off a crushing defeat, they could not have planned a better opening quarter to the game. The Bucs opened the game with one first down, only to lose the ball when quarterback Josh Freeman was stripped by Anthony Spencer. The Cowboy took over the ball on their 44 and marched down the field to score on an 8 yard touchdown pass from Tony Romo to Miles Austin. The Bucs responded with a tepid three and out. A punt gave Dallas the ball on their own 31 yard line. A 10 play drive resulted in a touchdown pass from Romo to Dez Bryant covering another 8 yards. By the end of the quarter, the Bucs were down 14-0 at home, had one first down and were hearing a smattering of boos from their fans.
The second quarter saw the Cowboys assert themselves and the Bucs wilt badly. The Buccaneers were unable to mount enough offense to get even a single first down. While the Cowboys were forced to punt once, they ended the quarter with two long drives that resulted in Tony Romo passing for a touchdown to Laurent Robinson and running for one on his own as well. At half time, the Blue Stars were up 28-0 and the Bucs had produced one first down. The game was effectively over and the Tampa Bay fans let their team know how they felt.
The Cowboys have long had a habit of not finishing off opponents when they are down. It looked for a bit like the third quarter might continue this trend. A Tony Romo fumble on the opening drive of the quarter was recovered by the Bucs Dekota Watson who returned it seven yards for a touchdown. Any hope of a comeback by the Bucs fizzled as they responded with a long 7 minute drive that produced a field goal to increase their lead to 31-7. To their credit, the Bucs offense finally started to produce and went on a drive to score just before the end of the quarter. A 13 yard touchdown pass from Josh Freeman to Dezman Brisco followed by a successful throw to Kellen Winslow on the two point conversion made the score 31-15 heading into the final quarter.
Unfortunately, the Bucs couldn’t keep the momentum up in the fourth quarter. They kept the Cowboys off the scoreboard, but not before they burned off big chunks of time driving up and down the field. Neither team ultimately scored and the game finished 31-15, a score that frankly flattered the Buccaneers.
Not only did they take care of their business, but they received good news over the weekend when the New York Giants were upset by the Washington Redskins. The Giants loss put them in first place and in control of their destiny. The next two games will decide their season. Fans can only hope that their team can pull through so that they have the option to buy Cowboys tickets to a playoff game.
As for the Buccaneers, the team is a disaster. Head Coach Morris is set to be fired and knows it. He held nothing back in his post-game press conference when he ripped his players for not showing up and playing with effort. One should expect the Bucs to overhauled in a big way in the offseason with the coaches and many players being shown the door.