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Instant Review: Staff Gives Early Analysis Following Victory

Posted Nov 18, 2012

The Cowboys found a way to come back from a 13-point halftime deficit, they found a way to tie the game in the final minute, and then found a way to win overtime.

The Cowboys get to 5-5 on a 23-20 victory past the Browns. The DallasCowboys.com staff of Bryan Broaddus, Rowan Kavner and Nick Eatman give their initial thoughts on the win.

Rowan: The Cowboys haven’t blown a team out this season, and even a two-win Browns team couldn’t change that fact. Dallas trailed most of the day against Cleveland, and it wasn’t because of costly turnovers or penalties. They were simply outmatched in the first half. The offense finally got rolling in the second half thanks in large part to another solid performance from Dez Bryant, and the reliable leg of Dan Bailey sealed the overtime win. But the Cowboys can’t have the same early lapses if they want to make a run at the NFC East title.    

Bryan:  The week of study told me one thing that the Cowboys had a chance to play a complete game and get the victory. I was banking that the offense could protect Romo and the running game would be steady enough to move the ball with some success. I miss judged the amount of pressure the Browns were going to be able to get and I thought it would be a battle between these Cowboys receivers and Joe Haden.  Defensively I knew that the Cowboys would have trouble getting pressure on Weeden and if they were going to win they would have to stop Trent Richardson. Where Richardson hurt the Cowboys was out of the backfield as a pass receiver but in the end, the defense was able to make the stop when they needed to in overtime and put their offense in great shape to get the win. I honestly didn’t expect the game to be this close but it was a victory which is always the bottom line.

Nick: Sloppy wins are getting to the norm around here. But then again, if anything involving wins and victories should be accepted with open arms. No, the Cowboys play their best game by any means. In fact, after a half, it looked like their worst game of the season. Cleveland is 2-8 for a reason because it has problems closing out games. This one was no exception. Like we’ve all said for a while now – the offensive line is a huge problem. And it’s only worse now with Tyron Smith’s high-ankle sprain injury. The center position has been shaky with a third different starter in 10 games. But at the end of the day, the Cowboys were better than Cleveland, and were fortunate enough to show that on the final scoreboard. It’s a short week. No time to really look back to the Browns. And that’s got to be a good thing.

Gut Feelings, posted Saturday, Nov. 17:

Rowan:  DeMarco Murray’s still hurt, the center position is in a state of flux and the Cowboys lost a defensive end for the year, yet out of all the games the rest of the year, this is the one they should feel confident in winning. The Browns haven’t stopped the run or the pass all season and own the No. 29 offense in the league. If the Cowboys can slow down running back Trent Richardson, the Browns one real offensive weapon, they should be able to cruise. But they can’t expect to roll over the Browns if they can’t stop Cleveland’s backfield bruiser. 

Bryan: After the nice win against the Eagles last week, the Cowboys cannot afford a poor game against the Browns. It’s the beginning of a stretch of three straight home games for a squad that has yet to play their best football at home. Despite the Browns record, they still get your attention on film with some of the players that they are trying to build with. If the Cowboys sleepwalk in this game, there is a chance that they will end up on the short end of the score and all that momentum from last week will be lost. The Cowboys cannot let this game against the Browns get away from them. Other than the Seahawks game, this team has taken care of the opponents that they have needed to. The Cowboys have better skill players but If they allow the Browns to hang around, there will be problems. My gut feeling this week tells me that you will see that complete game that Jason Garrett strives for from all three of his units as the Cowboys start to put some wins together.

Nick: These are games the Cowboys typically win. Looking back to last year’s schedule, we all thought they might make a run in October and November when teams like the Bills, Rams, Seahawks, Dolphins and Redskins were on the tilt – and they won them all. So it’s possible the Cowboys can make the same type of run here against Cleveland, Washington and Philly again. The Browns haven’t been blown out much at all, but they have consistently been below average all year. Will they make it close? Probably, and the Cowboys will do their part in keeping it close, too. Overall, I see the Cowboys having too much defense with Rob Ryan calling it personal. And don’t be surprised if Lawrence Vickers finds the end zone against his former team, too.

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