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Johnson was so-so, but defense helps Cowboys beat Bucs

Brad Johnson's aim was off and the boo birds were roaring at Texas Stadium. Somehow, the Dallas Cowboys pulled out of their midseason slump anyway.

Johnson made up for several missed chances at touchdowns by throwing one to newcomer Roy Williams at the end of a drive sustained by four defensive penalties, and the much-maligned Dallas defense made it hold up for a 13-9 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.

The Cowboys (5-3) gained only 173 yards, but with coach Wade Phillips taking a "more active" role in his defense, they put the clamps on Jeff Garcia and the Bucs (5-3). Tampa Bay got two first-quarter field goals and another in the third quarter, but that was it.

The Buccaneers were driving for a possible winning touchdown until a fourth-down pass to Jerramy Stevens fell incomplete under heavy pressure with 13 seconds left. As Dallas players bounced around in celebration, Tampa Bay tackle Jeremy Trueblood threw his helmet in frustration.

Johnson, starting for the second straight week because Tony Romo has a broken pinkie on his throwing hand, was 19-of-33 for only 122 yards. His longest pass went for just 14 yards, and it was on a dump-off to running back Marion Barber. Johnson also was sacked three times.

The Cowboys were sent back to the bench with loud boos after several first-quarter drives ended in punts and again in the fourth quarter. But fans wound up going home happy as Dallas ended a two-game losing streak and won for only the second time in five games.