Don't Forget About These Five: Bucs Squandered Opportunities

ARLINGTON, Texas – This game lacked many highlights, but it was filled with plays that changed the momentum, field position and in some cases the outcome of Sunday's 16-10 win for the Cowboys.

Here's a handful of plays or events that altered the flow of the game.

Failed block punt/muffed return – Talk about a 60-yard field-position swing, not to mention possession of the ball. For just a moment in the second quarter, it appeared the Cowboys would have their second punt blocked in two weeks. But instead of getting the ball, Bucs linebacker Dakoda Watson missed and instead hit Chris Jones for a roughing the punter penalty, which would've given the Cowboys a first down anyway. But the ball was fumbled down the field and recovered by the Cowboys, who picked up a field goal moments later for a 10-7 lead.

Illegal shift on Bucs – It goes down as a 5-yard penalty but it wiped out a 9-yard gain that would've put the ball at the Cowboys' 42, following the failed onside kick attempt. The penalty on the Bucs for having two players moving, pushed it back to first and 15 and Tampa Bay never recovered, having to punt it away. That was a big defensive stand for the Cowboys who failed on an onside kick attempt after taking a 10-7 advantage.

Missed call by refs – The Cowboys caught a break when the officials blew dead a play that could've been a touchdown for Tampa Bay. Tony Romo was blasted by Michael Bennett on a sack and fumbled the ball. The Bucs picked it up and returned it for a touchdown, but the officials didn't even rule it a fumble and blew the play dead. The replay officials overturned the call, but could only give Tampa possession at the 31.

Intentional grounding on Freeman– The Bucs had just received the ball at the Cowboys' 31-yard line, trailing 10-7. But on first down, Freeman was flagged for an intentional grounding when he hurried a throw into the left flat with Sean Lee providing pressure. That loss of down and penalty made it second-and-20 and Tampa Bay couldn't even pick up another yard. Instead of being in field-goal range to potentially tie  the game, they had to punt.

Ware's second sack – More than just DeMarcus Ware hitting Josh Freeman in the back for yet another sack, it was the fumble and that rolled back to the Bucs' 1 that proved to be the key. No, the Cowboys didn't recover this one, but it helped push Tampa back to the point where it needed to boom the ball out of the end zone with no worries about coverage. Dez Bryant took advantage with a 44-yard return that led to a game-clinching field goal.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.
Advertising