Rapid Reaction: Cowboys 13, Bucs 9

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

IRVING, Texas -- It wasn't pretty. In fact, it was barely watchable. But the Cowboys ended a two-game losing skid with a 13-9 victory over Tampa Bay and improved to 5-3 for the season.

The Cowboys started the game with three consecutive three-and-outs, but Tampa Bay missed several opportunities to take control. Following a week in which coach Wade Phillips took over play-calling duties from defensive coordinator Brian Stewart, the Cowboys harrassed Jeff Garcia for much of the afternoon and didn't allow the Bucs to establish any semblance of a running game.

Still, Tampa Bay was driving to win the game late in the fourth quarter.

Because of an injury to starting right cornerback Anthony Henry, the Cowboys finished the game with two rookies and a second-year player at the cornerback spots. The Cowboys took advantage of four penalties against Tampa Bay on a drive late in the first half.

Roy Williams caught his first touchdown of the game with a second left in the first half. Brad Johnson held for the point after attempt and then jogged straight into the locker room. Johnson had another rough afternoon, but he had the good sense to get the ball in the hands of running back Marion Barber throughout the game.

Nick Folk's 45-yard field goal put the Cowboys up, 13-6, midway through the third quarter, and it's a lead they were able to protect.


Garcia was flushed out of the pocket on fourth-and-5 at the Cowboys' 20-yard line and his pass in the flat wasn't close to being completed. The Cowboys sideline erupted and several defenders raced over to congratulate Stewart.