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Bucs Beat

Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Bucs offense hits a low point vs. Cowboys



Quarterback Josh Freeman and the Bucs quicksand offense had very little chance of moving the ball against the Cowboys Saturday night.

After Freeman ran 25 yards for a first down on the opening series before fumbling the next play, Tampa Bay went three-and-out four straight times and trailed 28-0 in the first half.

The Bucs offensive line arguably played its worst game of the season against the Dallas Cowboys and defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.

Freeman was only 2-of-4 pasing and the Bucs produced only one first down until late in the third quarter.

"We only ran like 16 plays in the first half,'' Freeman said. "The initial drive started off, fumble, I thought we were going to get things rolling then. Then the next couple of drives were just tough. Tough to drop back, get guys open, make a play. Things just didn't come together on whatever those two plays, three plays on third down, resulting in three-and-outs. As a quarterback, you have to find a way to push through that, find a way to get the ball out and get something going.''

Bucs coach Raheem Morris said Freeman's fumble was a momentum crusher.   

"To have four, three and outs and you give them that first turnover, it's kind of one of those momentum killers,'' Morris said. "Thankfully, for us, the team didn't die on that like they did last week. They fought, they came back in the second half, they didn't surrender, but they've got to come out faster. Those things can't happen. You can't fumble the first drive and expect to win football games especially against good football teams. Those things can't happen to you.

"We had some manageable third downs there and on defense, we had some manageable third downs on defense as well.

"On offense, we've got to convert some of those. We've got to be able to block their pressure, we've got to be able to block their guys. They won some one-on-one matchups up front, had a chance to get to Free. He used his feet the first couple of times, got (one) first down, fumbled one of them and those things can't happen to you.''

Running back LeGarrette Blount, who can't play on third down and rarely targeted as a receiver, was easy to stop. He had 21 yards on nine carries. The offensive line couldn't block Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Ware and tackle Jeremy Trueblood had his worst game of the year, giving up two sacks and a pressure on third down.

"They beat us with the better man today,'' Morris said. "There was no blown assignments. It was just men beating guys and you've got to go out there and win.''


[Last modified: Sunday, December 18, 2011 1:13am]


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