CLEVELAND – The Cowboys were supposed to win big, and they did. No real surprises from this game as the offense continue to shine behind Dak Prescott.
But like all games, there were a handful of plays that could go unnoticed, yet changed the outcome of the game. Let's take a closer look at five that affected this one.
Browns go to trickery early – On the second play from scrimmage, the Browns lined up in a unique formation that had their right tackle split wide and running back Isaiah Crowell as the left tackle. While it confused the Cowboys and resulted in a 44-yard pass to Crowell down the seam, it only led to a field goal as the Dallas defense stiffened. That play also sent a message of how desperate the Browns were, having to dig into their bag of tricks so early in the game, suggesting to both teams that deception would be the only way Cleveland could win this one.
Frederick's alert snap – Usually when the ball gets snapped behind the quarterback, it's a bad thing for the offense. This turned out to be a drive-alerting play for the Cowboys on their first possession. Facing third-and-9, center Travis Frederick noticed a Browns player jumped offside, so he alertly snapped the ball quickly to force a penalty. Even though the ball went behind Prescott, who wasn't ready for the snap. The play was ruled dead since the Browns were unabated to the quarterback. That made the next play third-and-4 and Prescott was able to scramble for 6 yards to extend the drive, which ended with a touchdown pass to Jason Witten.
Browns fail to convert third-and-short – On the first play of the second quarter, the Browns had a third-and-2 at the Cowboys' 24-yard line, but instead of a running play to get the first down, Cleveland went for a low-percentage fade route in the end zone to Terrelle Pryor, who was covered nicely by Brandon Carr. The pass went out of bounds and set up a field goal attempt by Cody Parkey. The kick banged off the upright, no good. The Cowboys took the ball and marched back down the field for a touchdown and a 14-3 lead.
Wide open TD to Beasley – Touchdowns typically don't make this list because they're usually not forgotten. But since the Cowboys did score five on this day, let's not forget the importance of the scoring strike to Cole Beasley before halftime. On third-and-goal from the 6-yard line, the Cowboys were able to convert when Prescott found his open receiver in the end zone. The Cowboys took a 21-3 lead, which was cut to 21-10 before the half. But failing to score there and settling for a field goal, would've been a big difference. Heading into the locker room down 17-10 might've given the Browns more hope.
Browns penalty extends drive – On the first drive of the second half, the Cowboys missed on third-and-9 but an offside penalty on Cleveland gave the offense another try on third-and-4. This time, the Browns were again flagged for offside but a reception to Jason Witten got the first down anyway. On the next play, the Cowboys pushed the lead to 28-10 on Ezekiel Elliott's second touchdown of the game.