The Cleveland Browns continued their hot start to the season by beating the Dallas Cowboys 49-38, in a shootout. It’s early, but by all accounts, and against all odds, Cleveland looks the part of a competent football team.
The Browns were led by their headliners Odell Beckham Jr. (3 scores), Myles Garrett (strip sack), and Baker Mayfield (2 touchdown passes). Beckham Jr. was especially impressive as he turned in a vintage performance reminiscent of his days on the New York Giants. His first touchdown of the day came on a 37-yard trick play which saw fellow wide receiver, Jarvis Landry, throw him a dart into the endzone. It happened to be the longest TD toss by a receiver since Beckham’s 49-yarder with the Giants in 2018 (ESPN).
Head Coach Kevin Stefanski said, “That was something I had on the tip of my tongue a few other games, and I just did not get it called. I told the guys we were not going to go through another game without that one getting called.”
It proved worthwhile as it gave the Browns the momentum early on and they were able to ride that out to a 41-14 lead. The Cowboys didn’t give up though. They had an admirable comeback attempt that saw them cut the Browns lead down to three until Beckham Jr. took a reverse 50 yards to the house, which essentially closed the door on any comeback hopes. The Browns offense has looked better than it ever has with this core group of players, and they seem to be finding a recipe to success that revolves around the running game, getting the ball into Beckham’s hands as much as possible, and relying on the defense, led by Garrett, to keep them in games. This style of football has led the Browns to their best start in 19 years. It hasn’t been all good, as their former No. 1 overall pick, Mayfield, is still struggling, but the run game and timely defense has been able to cover up his short comings. Overall, the Browns look like a team that can compete for a playoff spot, and that should make their fans happy, no matter how it looks.
The Cowboys, on the other hand, are trending in the wrong direction. Their offense has looked outstanding and quarterback Dak Prescott has been putting up league leading numbers, but the defense continues to let them down. Prescott finished this game with 502 passing yards, four touchdowns, and only one interception. They are squandering a career year from Prescott. He has 974 passing yards in his last two games, an NFL record.
“Not at all,” said Prescott, when asked if the record mattered to him. “I’d give all those yards back for a different record. I care about one stat and that’s to win, so when we don’t do that no other stats matter.”
For reference on just how bad this defense has been, the most points ever given up by a Cowboys’ defense is 436. This defense is currently on pace to give up 584 points. The performance on that side of the ball has been pitiful, and even in the weak NFC East, must be better if the Cowboys even want to be relevant this season.
The Browns host the Colts next week in a matchup of 3-1 teams while the Cowboys look to turn things around with the struggling New York Giants in town.
Photo Credit: Cleveland.com
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