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Cowboys Vs. Buccaneers 2012: Doug Free's Rough Day

Lucky to escape with a 16-10 win over Tampa Bay in an ugly game, the Dallas Cowboys could be subjected to plenty of work in the trenches this week after putting forth a completely embarrassing offensive line performance on Sunday. And while none of quarterback Tony Romo's trusted pass blockers were immune to the poor play, no lineman even came close to touching the miserable afternoon endured by 6'6, 325-pound tackle Doug Free.

The 28-year-old Free was whistled for four penalties alone during the game, in addition to being the sole lineman responsible for two key sacks of Romo in crucial situations. Along with being unable to stick with Chicago's speedy edge rushers and outside linebackers on blitzes for a vast portion of the afternoon, Free was also hardly a factor in the run game.

Still viewed by some as the best outside run blocker on the Cowboys' roster, Free and the rest of the offensive line could only help star tailback DeMarco Murray pile up 38 yards rushing on 18 attempts. Murray's paltry 2.1 yards per carry average represented easily the worst starting performance of his young career, and it's quite clear that Free's inability to keep defenders in check may have played a significant role.

Be sure to stay with this StoryStream for more Week 3 reaction, and head over to Blogging The Boys for more on the Cowboys. Also check out SB Nation's NFL hub for more news and analysis from around the league.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.