Dallas Takes Their Medicine

The debut of Quincy Carter and the 2001 season tasted as sour as castor oil to a Dallas team that could have won the game. The 10-6 final score loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was the first in a line of bitter pills forced on the team by Jerry Jones.

An inspired defensive performance kept an anemic offense in the game, holding the Buccaneers to 71 yards rushing. But the wounded ducks and over throws by Carter along with a questionable game plan by Jack Reilly left this contest to be no more than a moral victory.

"We feel good (defense), the offense feels good. We will build upon this. We feel encouraged." Izell Reese said in a post-game interview, toeing the company line.

But the question is, how long will the team and especially the defense feel good about a poor showing by their rookie quarterback that scored no touchdowns. A 9/17 passing performance for 34 yards, two interceptions and one fumble can only be put into perspective by Aikman's rookie debut of 17/35 for 180 and one pick.

"We're not happy we lost," Dave Campo said. "The key is we didn't make our third down conversions. Quincy was just one of 11 guys out there today. We missed our opportunities by not converting on third down. We need to stick together and find the positives."

Two key plays, both by the Buccaneers led to the loss. The first coming on the first drive for Dallas. After a terrific runback of the kick-off by Reggie Swinton to the Tampa 17, Carter on 2nd and 13 rolls right, only to be flushed out by the defense. He avoided two tacklers at the line of scrimmage then wound his way through the secondary across the field to the Bucs 4 yard line. Two play later Emmitt Smith was strung out wide and tackled in the open field by defensive back Brian Kelly.

"Tampa Bay's defense made the play," Dallas fullback Robert Thomas said. "They made us do something we didn't want to do."

The second play found Dallas with Tampa in a third and thirteen on the Dallas 46 yard line. The Cowboys rushed only four, which gave Brad Johnson (26/35 for 194 yards and 1 int.) time to spot Jacquez Green at the 29-yard line. The cornerback, Izell Reese, didn't sink deep enough to challenge the pass, which allowed the offense to continue the drive. "We'd like to have that one back," Dave Campo said in the post-game interview.

However, the defensive play was stellar compared to the 124 total net yards from scrimmage by the offense. Ninety-six of which came on the ground.

In the pre-season the talk from the Cowboys was letting Quincy use his skills to cause problems for the other teams defense. Other than a superb run in the first quarter, Carter stood in the pocket all day. Jack Reilly respected the pursuit of the Buccaneers so much he limited Quincy by not using his legs to loosen up the defense.

Yet it was the miscalculation by Reilly to challenge the outside of the defense, playing into Tampa Bay's speed. Several plays calling for Emmitt taking the ball outside of the tackles ended in disaster. Emmitt's first half statistics were 8 carries for –6 yards.

But after the halftime the Cowboys ran the ball between Adams and Page, which found success. Emmitt had several nice runs over 8 yards following Larry Allen's crushing blocks. "In the second half we went right at them." Allen said. "It worked pretty good for us."

What was Reilly seeing in the first half that led him to believe he could gain the outside on a speed defense? Emmitt ended the day with 13 carries for 40 yards. A 46 yard second half, after the adjustment at the break indicates Reilly called a questionable game.

Dallas will suffer through many games like the one today. Quincy flashed what Jones saw in him on a terrific 16 yard run. He also threw passes that looked more like Pop Warner football instead of the Kurt Warner.

One game doesn't make or break Carter. He was in good spirits after the loss realizing he played poorly.

"I'm going through what all great quarterbacks went through as rookies. Joe Montana, John Elway, they all went through this. I have to be patient," said Carter.

It remains to be seen if Quincy can compete successfully on an NFL field, much less with the Hall-of-Famer's he mentioned.

So will the Dallas fans that will be holding their noses as Jerry Jones spoon-feeds us all our dose of rookie medicine.

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