Every where you look in the Dallas media this week, it's talk about the Seattle Seahawks game. There's talk about what the team did well, what they did poorly, who played well, what they did wrong, what the coaches should've done, and on and on and on. Yes, the game was a disappointment and it's easy to focus on things that go wrong. But hopefully the team is having better focus than the media.
Last time we checked, it's almost week 3 in the NFL. For the Dallas Cowboys, that means it's time for the home opener and for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to come to town. Enough about Seattle, let's focus on something that the team still has a little control over.
Tony knows; It's time to focus on the Bucs (CHRIS PARK)
The Tampa Bay Bucs come in with an identical 1-1 record and a similar week two let down. It wasn't that the team failed to show up in week 2 like the Cowboys did; Instead, they chose not to show up in the 4th quarter and allowed 25 4th quarter points to the New York Giants in a game they lost by 7. In the first half, the Bucs forced 3 Eli Manning interceptions and jumped out to a 24-13 lead. After trading field goals in the 3rd quarter, the wheels fell off of the Bucs' wagon (or the sails came down from there ship? Whatever). Two long Eli Manning TDs and the final 2 yard scamper for a score by Andre Brown proved too much for the Bucs to overcome.
When analyzing the stats, it's tough to believe this is a game that came down to the final seconds. New York almost doubled (604 to 307) the amount of yards gained by Tampa Bay, and more than doubled them in passing yards (510 to 228). First-Round RB Doug Martin didn't have much success against the NYG front seven, rushing for only 66 yards on 20 carries. After getting knocked around by Marshawn Lynch, it will be important for the Cowboys' front to force Martin into a similar day.
Without analyzing the tape completely, it's tough to figure out the Tampa Bay secondary. That's what you get when a unit forces 3 turnovers and also allows 510 yards through the air. They seemed susceptible to the big play, with Eli Manning throwing TD passes of 23, 80, and 33 yards. We will also get to see our firstlook at a player that was linked to Dallas through the entire draft process, Mark Barron. The hard-hitting safety recorded 10 tackles and 2 passes-defensed in week 2.
Many people consider New York to be one of the worst rushing teams in the league, but they actually managed a decent day against the Tampa Bay front that includes multiple former first-round draft picks. After starter Ahmad Bradshaw limped off with an injured neck, rookie Andre Brown managed to put together a nice game of 13 carries for 71 yards and the game winning touchdown. Hopefully Demarco Murray can pickup where Brown left off and rattle off some big gains to loosen up this defense.
Overall, the Bucs are a hungry team with a young coach (Greg Schiano) looking to prove himself (for evidence look to the last play of last weeks game). At 1-1, it will be a vastly important game for both teams. Nobody wants to fall below .500 this early in the season. If Dallas can control the line of scrimmage and Romo can hit a couple of plays over the top, look for the offense to roll early and often. If Romo is not on the same page with his WRs like we saw in Seattle, watch out. We could be in for another long day.
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