"To win this game, with the way our defense played, and grind it out," Romo said. "This is a very, very satisfying win, even though it will kind of get lost in the shuffle as you move into the season. ... These are the kind of wins you have to have."
Dallas scored twice before halftime when starting in Tampa Bay territory and overcame the miscues by Romo, two on reversed calls that became fumbles. The Cowboys allowed the Bucs (1-2) only 166 total yards -- 70 of those coming on their last drive before a failed onside kick attempt in the final 40 seconds.
On Sunday, players from both sides were shaking hands both times new Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano called timeouts. The sidelines were emptying with 4 seconds left when there was an offside penalty called, though that ended the game.
"We need to stop being known for the kneel-down play," Schiano said. "We need to be known for winning football games."
Romo was unscathed on the extra snaps after the timeouts. The Cowboys were obviously prepared for the kind of game-ending plays that Schiano said would remain in his playbook, and had worked when he coached at Rutgers.
But Dallas had 13 penalties for 105 yards, including four against right tackle Doug Free (three false starts and a holding call). There were also more dropped passes, including a likely touchdown off the fingers of Pro Bowl tight end Jason Witten running alone on the final play of the third quarter.
"The big thing is we won one, even though there were a lot of things that could cause you to lose one," owner Jerry Jones said. "Romo told me that was a Pittsburgh game out there, not looking pretty but finding a way to get a win. The defense bailed us out."
Dallas hadn't started a drive in the opponents' territory this season until Lee's two-handed interception off a deflected pass. That led to the tying touchdown by Murray, the first rushing score by a Cowboys running back in 10 games.
A muffed punt recovered by Orie Lemon at the Bucs 39, with a 15-yard personal foul penalty tacked on, set up Bailey's first field goal in the second quarter.
Schiano won two challenges on plays in the third quarter, though his team failed to take advantage after both resulted in fumbles by Romo, who completed 25 of 39 passes for 283 yards. They punted both times.
Romo was in the grasp of Gerald McCoy with his right arm extended, when he flicked the ball forward in what was initially ruled an incomplete pass. Officials watched the replay and determined the ball was loose when Romo tried to push it out, and called it a fumble recovered by Gary Gibson at the 19.
The Bucs got to the Cowboys 42 before punting, but quickly got another chance after another challenge.
Schiano threw his red challenge beanie again, and the play was then ruled a fumble recovered at the Dallas 31. An intentional grounding penalty and two incompletions led to another punt.
"Every week we're coming together, but there is one thing holding us back every week," Bennett said. "We just have to figure out how to play a complete game. That's going to come sooner than later. "
That led to Luck Stocker's 1-yard touchdown catch from Freeman, who hit only 10 of 28 passes for 110 yards.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press