Week 12 Game Recap: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10, Dallas Cowboys 38
What you need to know
Cadillac Williams was the thrust of the Tampa Bay offensive game plan early. The Buccaneers ran the ball 14 of their first 20 plays, and Williams was able to gain 67 yards before the half. That game plan changed quickly as Dallas kept extending their lead, forcing Tampa Bay to become one dimensional and attempt a comeback via the passing game.
QB Bruce Gradkowski started well, connecting with WR Joey Galloway twice on the opening drive for 66 yards, including a 53 yard pass. Gradkowski did little the rest of the way, however, finishing with only 120 yards passing.
RB Mike Alstott scored the lone touchdown for Tampa Bay on a one yard run, but was forced to leave the game in the second quarter with a back injury.
QB Tony Romo had his own Thanksgiving feast in Week 12 as he carved up the Tampa Bay defense for the best game of his short career. Romo threw for over 300 yards and five touchdowns, two each to RB Marion Barber and WR Terry Glenn.
Barber continues to gobble up touchdowns for the Cowboys, as he leads Dallas with 11 scores. His two touchdown catches were his first receiving touchdowns, but he also added 83 yards and was the leading rusher for Dallas against Tampa Bay. Starting RB Julius Jones was once again ineffective, collecting only 40 yards on the ground.
WR Terrell Owens led all Cowboys with 12 targets and eight catches as he finished with over 100 yards, only the second time he has broken the century mark as a Cowboy. Owens scored on Romo’s final touchdown pass of the game and was very productive despite three drops.
WR Terry Glenn looked completely healthy once again as he added the deep threat, catching the longest touchdown of the day on a 30 yard catch in the second quarter. WR Patrick Crayton was also in on the fun for Dallas, catching all four of his targets for 68 yards, including two plays over 20 yards.
PK Mike Vanderjagt made his one field goal attempt on a short 22 yarder, but he continues to exhibit signs of a lack of confidence that could be troublesome for Dallas later in the season.
What you ought to know
Gradkowski started the game well, connecting with WR Joey Galloway twice on the opening drive for 66 yards, including a long strike of 53 yards to a wide open Galloway who had found a hole in the coverage. This was the highlight of Gradkowski’s afternoon, as he only added 57 more yards for the rest of the game.
Tampa Bay had decided to emphasize the run at the onset of the contest, throwing just six times in their first 20 plays. Gradkowski fit well into that plan, as he is not ready and should not be asked to be the focal point of an NFL game plan at this young stage of his career. Two of his first six attempts were a microcosm of just that, as his 53 yard pass to Galloway was to a wide open receiver, yet when he attempted to hit Galloway deep once again, it was under thrown, giving DB Roy Williams ample time to step in front of the pass for the interception.
Gradkowski’s second interception came on a deflection, so he cannot be faulted for that miscue. There was a pass, however, that should have been for a touchdown. Gradkowski attempted to get the ball in the hands of Galloway once again, who had beaten his defender (Dallas’ CB Anthony Henry) and was open in the left corner of the end zone. Gradkowski waited too long to deliver the ball, and Henry had time to catch back up to Galloway and knock the ball away. Had Gradkowski anticipated the throw a half second earlier, they would have had the touchdown.
Williams had a solid first half, and he was the main thrust of the offense for Tampa Bay early in the game. With the Buccaneers calling 14 of their first 20 plays as runs, it was clear that Williams was the center of the game plan against Dallas. Williams did not disappoint, as he gathered 67 yards on 14 carries in the first half, including a 22 yard dash in the second quarter. Williams did have trouble moving the chains, as his long of 22 yards was his only carry that also picked up a first down.
With Tampa Bay falling behind quickly in the second half, Williams fell out of favor as the Buccaneers were forced to throw. He had just three carries in the third quarter and none in the final period.
Pittman was utilized as the second running back for Tampa Bay after Alstott left the game. He carried the ball just once for two yards in the second quarter, but he had four passes thrown in his direction, three in the second quarter. He caught a shovel pass for six yards and then later had 13 more yards receiving on a second quarter designed screen. His only chance at the ball after halftime was his one target in the third quarter. The ball hit Pittman in the hands, but he did not make the catch. To make matters worse, Pittman batted the ball up in the air, and it was high enough that Dallas LB Akin Ayodele made a diving interception on the play.
Pittman was also used to return kickoffs, accumulating 97 total yards on four returns.
|RB Mike Alstott, Rush: 2 - 4 - 1, Rec: 1 - 4 - 0 (1 targets)|
Alstott had two first quarter carries, the most significant being a goal line rush from the Dallas one yard line for Tampa Bay’s only touchdown. Later in the second quarter, Alstott caught a dump off pass from a scrambling QB Bruce Gradkowski on third and short to pick up four yards and a first down. Unfortunately for the Buccaneers, Alstott injured his back on the catch and had to leave the game. He left the field under his own power but did not play the rest of the game.
Graham caught a short pass for four yards in the fourth quarter, and was later targeted once again in the final period but the ball was batted down by the Dallas defensive line.
Galloway was the leading receiver for Tampa Bay, picking up 71 yards on three catches. He was also the most targeted receiver with seven targets, but most of his production came in the first quarter. Galloway started strong with a 53 yard catch in the opening period, a play where Dallas coverage broke down and left Galloway wide open about 35 yards downfield. Galloway also added another 13 yard catch for an additional first down on the same drive where he made a nice catch on the outside by leaping and reaching over his defender for the catch.
After the first quarter, however, Galloway had difficulties being productive. He was the intended recipient of another deep ball in the first quarter, but DB Roy Williams stepped in front of an under thrown ball for an interception about 35 yards from the original line of scrimmage. Galloway had two more targets in the second quarter, including one where he momentarily came open in the end zone, but Gradkowski did not get rid of the ball fast enough to hit Galloway at that moment. The pass was thrown about a second too late, which gave Dallas’ CB Anthony Henry time to catch up to Galloway and knock the pass away. The second target was thrown behind Galloway on a ten yard crossing route.
Two passes were in Galloway’s direction in the second half. He was covered well on the first, a pass about 20 yards deep, but the good coverage kept Galloway away from the catch. Galloway was able to make a short catch of five yards on his final target in the fourth quarter, but it was most definitely a whimper of a finish after starting the game with a bang.
Clayton had only two targets against Dallas, both for short yardage. He picked up a nine yard catch in the first quarter, and then was relatively absent until the fourth period, where he gained ten yards and a first down on the only other pass that came in his direction.
Hilliard caught one pass for three yards in the third quarter. It was his only target for Tampa Bay.
Becht had two targets, catching the first one for four yards in the second quarter. The completion was lost due to a penalty. His second target came in the third quarter, where QB Bruce Gradkowski’s pass was knocked away by the Dallas defensive line.
Bryant was successful on both his kicks, a first quarter extra point and a second quarter field goal of 46 yards.
The Cowboys rushed for 137 yards in Week 12, but most of their production came through the passing game. RB Julius Jones was rather ineffective, but RB Marion Barber racked up 83 yards on just 16 carries, averaging over four yards per attempt.
QB Tony Romo had a career afternoon on national television, embarrassing Tampa Bay for over 300 yards and five touchdowns. The Buccaneers could not force any turnovers or rattle Romo, who proceeded to carve up the defense all game. RB Marion Barber and WR Terry Glenn each scored twice through the air, and every aspect of the Dallas passing game seemed unstoppable against the porous Tampa Bay secondary.
|QB Tony Romo, Pass: 22 - 29 - 306 - 5 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - -4 - 0|
Romo had a career game, which doesn’t sound remarkable considering he has been a starter for all of about a month, but this one was different. This career game could easily have been any NFL quarterback’s career game – 306 yards and FIVE touchdown passes. The NFL record for a game is six, so Romo’s career best goes way up on the chart.
Romo completed over 75% of his passes including four for 20 yards or more, finishing the game with a nearly perfect 148.9 QB rating. His completion percentage is also remarkable considering his receivers dropped four catchable passes. Romo was confident and relaxed all afternoon under relatively no pressure (sacked just once), playing a nearly flawless game before the home crowd. Four of his five touchdown passes were from close range, including two very short tosses to RB Marion Barber and a third to WR Terry Glenn. The other touchdowns were solid QB plays, however, with a 30 yard score going to Glenn and the fifth TD going to WR Terrell Owens on a seven yard slant.
Romo left little doubt that he is capable of leading an NFL team and that HC Bill Parcells chose the right man to give the Cowboys their best chance to not only make the playoffs but also compete for a chance to get to Miami in February.
Barber continues to come off the bench for Dallas and be extremely productive. He did not touch the ball until the second quarter, but he still managed to gain more rushing yards than his counterpart, Julius Jones, by halftime. Barber entered the locker room with 21 yards on just four carries, six more yards than Jones who had five chances. Barber’s biggest contribution was on a one yard toss from QB Tony Romo for a touchdown.
Barber’s production rose in the second half as he again added a second touchdown on a short pass of two yards form Romo. He added 12 more carries for 62 yards after halftime before giving way to RB Lousaka Polite to run out the clock.
Jones is still listed as the Cowboys’ starting running back, but his production does not affirm that status. Jones had all of the carries for the first quarter for Dallas, but did very little with his five attempts. After adding a three yard run on his only carry of the second quarter, Jones had just 15 yards on six carries at the half.
Jones improved slightly after halftime, highlighted by a 14 yard run in the third quarter. His overall numbers were still low, as he finished with just 40 yards rushing on only 11 attempts. RB Marion Barber continues to limit both his touches and more importantly his touchdown chances.
Polite had seven carries for 18 yards in the fourth quarter. He was used to run out the clock in garbage time.
Owens had a good game despite dropping three passes, which marred the start of his day. Owens had three short catches for a combined 38 yards and three first downs in the first quarter, then had the wind knocked out of him on an attempted leaping catch in the end zone in the second period. Owens returned shortly thereafter to catch a 15 yard pass for another first down before halftime.
Owens was a perfect four for four in the second half, catching three short passes including a seven yard strike for a touchdown in the third quarter. Owens’ final catch of 26 yards in the final period was his long for the day.
Glenn looks to be completely over his health issues, as he was targeted deep more than once in Week 12. Glenn started slowly, as both of his initial targets fell incomplete. He was well covered on a deep pass early, then later dropped a short pass that was well thrown by QB Tony Romo. Glenn made up for it on his next chance, catching a 30 yard pass for a touchdown on a breakdown by the Tampa Bay secondary. Glenn added a second touchdown on a two yard catch before halftime.
Glenn caught both of his second half targets, both in the third quarter. He grabbed a 12 yard catch on the outside for a first down then followed that up with his longest play of the game, a 45 yard catch on a well thrown toss from Romo.
Crayton continues to get work in the Dallas passing game. He caught all four of his targets, all coming in the first half. Crayton opened with a 21 yard catch for a first down in the opening period, and then added three catches before the half. His longest catch of the day was for 33 yards late in the second quarter that he took to the Tampa Bay one yard line, falling just short of a score.
Hurd had one target on a quick pass in the fourth quarter that was thrown behind him and fell incomplete. It was his only target for the game.
Witten caught 100% of his targets, reeling in three catches on Thanksgiving against Tampa Bay. Witten caught a short eight yard curl in the first quarter, followed by a nine yard catch in the second period where he lined up behind the offensive line as a fullback and ran across the field for the catch and a first down. Witten ended his day by grabbing a 13 yard quick slant in the third period, also good enough for a first down.
Fasano caught a short nine yard dump off pass from QB Tony Romo in the third quarter. It was his only target for the game.
Vanderjagt continues to struggle for Dallas despite his official perfect stat line. He made all five of his extra points, but barely squeaked in his short field goal attempt of 22 yards in the fourth quarter. There was zero pressure, physically and mentally, on Vanderjagt to make the kick, yet he struggled. Vanderjagt’s lack of confidence regarding field goals may prove costly later in the season for the Cowboys.
RB Cadillac Williams had 67 yards in the first half, but was limited to just 11 more after halftime. With Tampa Bay down by multiple scores, they were forced to abandon a run game that had only mustered five first downs. Tampa Bay accumulated 101 rushing yards, boosted the most by a second quarter run of 22 by Cadillac Williams.
After giving up 66 yards on the opening drive, the Cowboys clamped down on both QB Bruce Gradkowski and primary target WR Joey Galloway for the rest of the game. Tampa Bay finished with 120 gross yards passing, as Dallas also added two interceptions (DB Roy Williams and LB Akin Ayodele) and one sack (DL Chris Hovan).