Coming off of the high of beating the defending champs in Week 2, Tampa Bay rode the big momentum wave into Big D, and held on to knock off the Cowboys 31-24. I first want to say that there was a little bit of lag in this game. It started out slow, then would go away for a few minutes, then would come back. It was very intermittant. It's a shame too, because this was a good, tough, hard fought game too. Maybe if it was a little smoother, the game could've been even better. Both defenses were outstanding in this game, especially in the first half. Dallas' first possession got going nicely with a couple of DeMarco Murray runs to the outside. But the drive would halt near midfield and the Cowboys were forced to punt. Tampa Bay's first possession was a heavy dose of rookie RB Doug Martin. Although most of his runs were pretty minimal, he did have some success going off tackle on stretch & toss plays. Tampa was able to drive it down and get into the redzone, but Dallas' defense tightened up and it appeared that Tampa would have to settle for a FG. But on 3rd & long from the 16, Josh Freeman hit Mike Williams on a quick WR Screen and he got 2 good key blocks out in front, and he went in untouched from 16 yds, on a play that would actually be ruled as a running play due to the backwards pass. 7-0 Bucs midway through the 1st. Not much happened in the rest of the 1st qtr. The Bucs started winning the field position battle towards the end of the 1st, due to some big sacks and punts, but they couldn't take advantage of it. Early in the 2nd quarter, Tampa punted on a 4th down play and Trindon Holliday muffed the kick after being rocked by Bucs CB Jonathan Wade. Tampa recovered near Dallas' 40 yd line. On the insuing play, Josh Freeman went for the big payday. He went playaction and was looking for Vincent Jackson on a bomb down the right sideline but he was well covered.. he checked off and spotted Dallas Clark cutting over the middle with Gerald Sensabaugh on him in 1-on-1 coverage. Clark appeared to have a step on him, but Sensabaugh recovered nicely right when Freeman released the ball and undercut the route for an easy INT. Freeman knew it was picked as soon as he let it go and walked off the field disgusted at himself. Wasted opportunity for the Bucs. Tony Romo would go right to work. Just 2 plays later, he caught Tampa in 1-on-1 coverage on Dez Bryant on the outside. Romo fired a laser to Bryant on a nice curl route, the Tampa defender got there just as the ball did, but Bryant caught it and shook the defender off all in one motion and he was long gone after that. 75 yds for the TD. Tie game 7-7. Dallas would go on and add a FG and Tampa would answer by getting a late first half TD to go up 14-10 at Half. Both defenses would come out strong in the 3rd quarter. Tampa would eventually score on a nice deep skinny post to Mike Williams in the endzone. He got behind the CB and cut in front of the saftey.. Freeman turned it loose and led Willams to a spot in the endzone. Sensabaugh put a big hit on him but he held on for the TD to take a critical 11 point lead as we approached the end of the 3rd. Dallas would strike back quickly early in the 4th. Following a sack on Romo on 2nd down, Tampa tried dialing up a double saftey blitz up the middle, but got burned. Romo hit Miles Austin who beat his defender and won a footrace to the endzone, somersaulting in with 3 defenders on his tail. Dallas would take the extra point instead of going for 2 to try & make it a 3 point game. 21-17 Bucs. The game was on. Tampa would put a decent drive together and settle for a FG to make it 24-17 w/ about 5 min to go. Dallas would have to punt on the following possession. With the clock becoming a factor, Tampa tried mixing in a couple of passes, just to keep the defense honest. Dallas done a nice job of tee'ing off on Martin and Blount in the second half. Freeman connected on a couple of short passes to keep the drive, and clock moving. They eventually punched it in with Martin to go up 31-17 with just over 2 min to go. Romo would hit Jason Witten down the seam for a big gain to start the next drive. Dallas quickly got the the ball and Romo found Witten again to get deep into Tampa territory. On the next play, Romo hits Miles Austin (I think it was Miles), at the goalline. It appeared that he was in, but the refs ruled him down inside the 1. Dallas calls their last TO with about 30 seconds to go. Next play, Romo tried to sneak it in, and again Dallas appeared to have the TD but the refs again said no. Clock running.. Dallas lines up to the ball and runs a dive to DeMarco Murray, who gets it in. 31-24 Bucs with :18 remaining. But the onside kick was unsuccessful, as Arrelious Benn would pick it up on 1 hop and secure it and the win. With the win, Tampa Bay goes to 3-0 and all 3 wins are over strong NFC opponents, giving them an early advantage in playoff tiebreakers if it comes down to it. They take on the Washington Redskins in Week 4, then have an early season bye in Week 5. A few notes on player performances: Neither QB was very accurate today. Freeman went 12/26, 172 yds, 2 TDs, 2INTs 61.6 rating. Romo's accuracy was about the same, but his numbers were better, mainly due to the 2 bombs. Romo went 13/26, 308, 2TDs, 0 INTs, 118.7 rating. I didn't think I ran the ball very well. It seemed that Dallas was stuffing me at the line on just about every play, especially in the 2nd half. I was pretty suprised when I saw Tampa's rushing stats.. Martin had 26 carries, 122 yds & 1 TD. 4.7 avg. Blount had 6 carries, 14 yds, 0TDs 2.7 avg. and Freeman had 1 scramble for 7 yds. I was surprised to see Martin go over 100 yds. It didn't seem like he was anywhere close to it. Demarco Murray had 15 carries, 41 yds, 1 TD, 2.7 avg. Tampa's defensive line was nasty today. Constant disruption in the backfield, and sacked Romo 6 times on the day. RynoAid is a very good player. He definitely knows what he's doing. This was a tough matchup for me and it was a defensive struggle for the most part. I thought these teams matched up very well and it was within a 1 possession game for most of the game. Again, I would've loved to see this game without the lag, because it handicapped both players a little bit. Good luck Ryno on the rest of the season, and maybe we can do this again in the playoffs.