first one. Got that W."
Got it but good, and really, about the only misfortune to fall upon the Cowboys was running back Marion Barber apparently sustaining some rib-cartilage damage when he got kneed at the bottom of a pile late in the third quarter (X-rays were negative) and Romo needing 13 stitches after the game to close a chin gash caused by better than 700 pounds of humanity (i.e. two guys) falling on him at one point.
Now we can issue somewhat of an asterisk, though. The Browns were missing three of their top four receivers, with Donte' Stallworth, who did not show up on an injury report all week, out with a hamstring problem, Joe Jurevicus already on PUP and then Joshua Cribbs out with an ankle injury. And they did lose pass rusher Antwan Peek this past week, were without starting safety Brodney Pool and one of their starting guards.
But that's the NFL. The Cowboys had their own problems coming into the game, and as Crayton said, "You plug in and play."
That the Cowboys did, immediately getting results from some off-season moves made to improve their depth. Without Newman, they turned to Pacman Jones to start at left corner, playing his first real NFL game in, as he said, "almost 600 days." They came in with fifth-round pick Orlando Scandrick to handle slot receivers when they went to their changed-up nickel and dime defenses and first-round pick Mike Jenkins on the dime to take over at right corner for Anthony Henry when he moved inside on Winslow.
And for those wondering why in the world the Cowboys would draft a niche back like Felix Jones with their first of two first-round picks, well go niche this: 9 carries for 62 yards and an 11-yard touchdown run on his first NFL carry, right up the gut, carrying Cleveland safety Sean Jones on his back the last few yards while steam-rolling safety Mike Adams at the goal line. And to think he had another 25-yard carry called back because of a hold. Then, as for all the hand-wringing over the second wide receiver spot, my stats say: Crayton - 6 catches, 82 yards.
So there, the first one is out of the way, dusting the Browns off to the side as nothing more than a mere nuisance, while knowing they must play better - and cleaner (11 penalties, 82 yards) if they are to better deal with the Philadelphia Eagles, next up a week from Monday night for the very last Texas Stadium home opener. And for that one, Jerry Jones says Newman will be ready to go, and maybe Miles Austin, too.
Knowing Barber, he'll probably wrap himself in a flak jacket and be ready to go, but know the Eagles now must spend time worrying about Felix Jones, and to think the Cowboys didn't even throw him the ball once. Wait until that happens.
"To be honest with you, we just went out and did what we were supposed to do," Cowboys defensive end Chris Canty said of this almost workmanlike busting of the Browns. "We're excited with the start of the season, but we realize it's a long road."
And with that, the Cowboys headed back home, job well done.