GAME RECAP: Cowboys Again Lose Late Lead, Fall 10-6 To Bucs

Well, at least Tony Romo is back next week.

In one of the ugliest games you'll ever see, the Cowboys fell to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 10-6, and in the process extended their current losing streak to an unthinkable seven games, their longest since the 1989 season.

The defense, which played well for most of the game, couldn't get a stop when the team needed it most, allowing the Buccaneers to reach the end zone with just 59 seconds left. This continued a season-long trend of poor play in the fourth quarter. Earlier in the frame, the Buccaneers had marched from their own 8-yard line to the Dallas 23 before a poorly thrown pass by Jameis Winston was tipped and then picked off by Cowboys safety Jeff Heath, his second of the game.

Unfortunately, Heath would go from hero to goat in just a matter of minutes.

After a three-and-out and a short punt by Chris Jones, who still may have been the team's MVP on the day, Tampa Bay took over at its own 44-yard line and quickly worked its way to the Dallas doorstep.

Then on third-and-goal at the Cowboys' 4-yard line, Dallas appeared to have caught a break when Winston scrambled and attempted to dive into the end zone, only to fumble. But while the ball was recovered by the Cowboys, Heath was called for obvious defensive holding, the possession going back to the Buccaneers with a fresh set of downs.

Not that they needed them. On the very next snap Winston ran a bootleg around the right end for the game-winning score.

Of course, this mess wasn't all Heath's fault, as there were dropped balls, missed tackles and just generally bad play throughout the day. Case in point: On the Cowboys' final offensive play of the day when Matt Cassel tried to go deep to Dez Bryant in the end zone. But whether he lost sight of the pass or just gave up on it, Bryant didn't make a play on the ball, which allowed free safety Bradley McDougald to come down with the interception and seal the win.

It was Cassel's only blemish on the day, as Romo's replacement was efficient if nothing else, completing 63 percent of his passes for 186 yards. He spread the ball around as well with eight different targets recording catches, Bryant leading the way with five receptions for 45 yards.

Still, the ground game was virtually non-existent, totaling 42 yards, and the offense as a whole put up just 216 yards and reached the red zone only once, the result a 42-yard field goal by Dan Bailey, the first of his two on the day. Dallas has now settled for field goals more often than they have scored touchdowns when reaching the red zone this season.

On the other side of the ball, the Dallas defense was stout up until the disappointing fourth quarter. Tampa Bay was held to just 81 yards rushing and Winston completed only 56 percent of his passes with the two interceptions.

But again, when it came down to crunch time, when Dallas desperately needed a stop, they couldn't get the job done.

All eyes were will now turn to Romo, who is expected to be back behind center next Sunday at noon when the Cowboys travel to Miami to take on the Dolphins. He'll have the pressure of needing to basically win the rest of the games this season in order for the Cowboys to reach the playoffs.

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