Cowboys take early 14-0 lead over Buccaneers

Tony Romo threw a pair of 8-yard touchdown passes to Miles Austin and Dez Bryant, giving the Dallas Cowboys a 14-0 lead through the first quarter Saturday night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Austin's TD midway quarter was set up by Tampa Bay's NFL-leading 32nd turnover, a fumble by Josh Freeman on the fifth play of the game.

The Tampa Bay quarterback scrambled 25 yards on third-and-5 to march the Bucs near midfield, but the opening drive of the night came to an abrupt halt on the next play when Freeman took off again for a 7-yard gain and was stripped of the ball at the Cowboys 44.

Linebacker Bradie James recovered and it took Romo seven plays to get Dallas in the end zone, with Romo taking advantage of excellent protection to move around in the pocket to give Austin a chance to get free on third-and-goal.

The Cowboys marched 69 yards in 10 plays on their next possession, with Romo finishing the drive by finding a wide-open Bryant in the back of the end zone.

Romo was 7 of 8 passing for 85 yards in the quarter. Felix Jones, back in the starting lineup after DeMarco Murray broke his right ankle during last week's 37-34 loss to the New York Giants, rushed for 23 yards on seven attempts.

Thanks to a large contingent of Cowboys fans, the Bucs played before a sellout crowd at home for just the second time in two seasons. Judging by all the blue and white jerseys scattered throughout the 65,000-seat stadium, at least half the house appeared to be rooting for Dallas.

The Cowboys entered with a two-game losing streak that cost them their lead in the NFC East, however they can still claim the division title and host a playoff game by beating the Bucs and following with wins the next two weeks over Philadelphia at home and the Giants on the road.

The Bucs have lost seven straight following a 4-2 start that included wins over NFC South rivals New Orleans and Atlanta. The skid has coach Raheem Morris on the hot seat just a year after the NFL's youngest head coach led his team to a surprising 10-6 finish that heightened expectations coming into this season.

Tampa Bay played Saturday night without starting receiver Arrelious Benn, who suffered a concussion during last week's loss at Jacksonville. He was replaced by Dezmon Briscoe, who began the night with just 23 receptions yet shared the team lead in touchdown catches with three.

footballNFLOakland Raiders & NFLsports

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Mayor London Breed said Tuesday that with other counties moving ahead with expanding vaccine eligibility “we want San Franciscans to have the same opportunity.” (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Everyone in SF ages 16 and up is now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine

San Francisco expanded eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday to everyone ages… Continue reading

Chase Center and the Golden State Warriors hosted a media Welcome Back conference to discuss the safety protocols and amenities when fans return for a basketball game on April 23rd at Chase Center on April 13, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photography by Chris Victorio | Special to the S.F. Examiner).
Golden State Warriors ready to welcome fans back to Chase Center

COVID-19 tests, app-based food ordering among new safety protocols announced this week

San Francisco Park Rangers have seen their budget and staffing levels increase significantly since 2014. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Citations for being in SF’s public parks after midnight soar

Data shows disproportionate impact on Black residents

Parents and students line up socially distanced before the first day of in-person learning at Bret Harte Elementary School on Monday, April 12, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
‘It’s a beautiful sight’: The first students return to the classroom

San Francisco’s youngest public school students stepped into classrooms for in-person learning… Continue reading

File
Latest Breed nominee for Police Commission moves forward

Immigration attorney Jim Byrne clears Board of Supervisors committee

Most Read