Cowboys Show Some Grit In Beating Bucs

Ok, so this is nothing earth-shattering. The offensive line has some scrappers and they fought back. You're right, they get paid to do that.

But sometimes, that's how you have to win games.

We all could see what a struggle it was offensively. Sure Brad Johnson protects the football, or he did at least in this game, but you always give up something with that.

Every time I'm asked about Tony Romo and throwing interceptions, I always add that you have to play the game if you want to win. Translation, if you like your quarterback having the ability to make plays with his arm, well, you're going to give up a few, too.

And the same goes the opposite way. If you make sure your quarterback plays ultraconservative and close to the vest, then you're not going to make any big plays for either team.

The troubling thing in this game for Johnson though, was the inaccuracy, even with some of the shorter underneath routes.

His 19-of-33 performance for 122 yards and a touchdown is not going to force fantasy team owners to jump on the waiver wire. But he was solid. While he didn't have a flashy plays, he made sure the Bucs got nothing cheap.

And that's coming against a team that was tied for sixth in the NFL with a 4 turnover margin.

But the Cowboys fought back.

And it was never clearer than the end of the game, just scanning the Cowboys' secondary. It looked almost like the second-team defense during a training camp practice.

Safety Ken Hamlin might have had to take roll out there in the fourth quarter. Here are the Bucs, trying to drive down for the winning score, and who do the Cowboys have to stop them?

Well, that would be rookie Mike Jenkins. Another rookie Orlando Scandrick, and then Alan Ball, who actually has less game experience than those two rookies, although he was a seventh-round pick last year.

Yep, the Cowboys had all this depth in the secondary to start the season. But the eighth game of the season, and probably the most critical game to this point, the Cowboys see Terence Newman in street clothes, Adam Jones suspended and now Anthony Henry has a quad contusion that might just keep him out longer than the last two quarters of play.

But the Cowboys figured out a way.

"You look back there and see a bunch of young guys in the secondary, you might get worried a little bit," linebacker Bradie James said. "But they stepped it up. That's what we had to have. They didn't give up anything. We had to have it and they made the plays."

And to them, it didn't seem like there was any doubt.

Standing just a few yards from the action there at the end, I took a look across the line of scrimmage to see where Joey Galloway was lining up. On this play, Galloway split out to the left and that's where I noticed Ball, nodding his head profusely, almost as if he was saying "No problem . . . I got this."

And guess what? He did. The Cowboys played a soft coverage, allowing everything to stay underneath. And when Jeff Garcia checked down, the Cowboys made the tackle.

We all knew this team was banged up. They've got an all-star cast on the sidelines with guys like Romo, Newman, Felix Jones and even Kyle Kosier. And before Sunday was over, the Cowboys added Henry and Jason Witten to that lineup as well.

But it didn't matter. The Cowboys found a way. Is that progress? Yeah, it is.

It doesn't mean the team has turned the corner and has miraculously solved all of its problems. But as they prepare for this fight called the second half of the season, the Cowboys at least showed a little of fight of their own.

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