CLEVELAND – The Cowboys gave up an early field goal, but after that, cruised to a rather easy win here Cleveland.
On Friday, the staff writers gave their gut feeling for Sunday's game. Check out the instant reactions from the staff of DallasCowboys.com.
David Helman:The crazy thing is that I picked the Cowboys to win by 17 points, and I still gave Cleveland too much credit. I thought the Browns would keep it competitive for two or three quarters – but that didn't turn out to be the case. The Cowboys owned this game from the get-go, with the ground game barreling for 168 hard-fought yards and the defense surrendering a grand total of just 222. What I liked about this game was that the Cowboys didn't even gash the Browns with big plays, they just methodically ground them down until the outcome was secure. Ezekiel Elliott's longest rush was only 15 yards, and Jason Witten's 35-yarder to open the second half was the only explosive gain by the passing attack. The Cowboys just kept pounding and pounding until the Browns broke – and that happened by the midway point of the third quarter. I know I said the defense would score a touchdown, but it's a fair consolation price to allow just 10 points while tallying four sacks. Like I said – I thought this would be easy, but kudos to the Cowboys for making it look even easier than I'd anticipated.
Nick Eatman: Ok, so I missed a lot of these individual picks, I did see a one-sided blowout by the Cowboys. Maybe this game wasn't impressive to some people who will say, "Yeah, it's the Browns." But the Cowboys did what they're supposed to do against bad teams. Good teams are supposed to whip up on the bad ones. Check. The Cowboys were dominant on all sides of the ball, especially on offense. Dak Prescott isn't playing like a rookie anymore. And that being said, Jason Witten isn't playing like a 14-year veteran either. Overall, this was a great victory to get to the half-way point. The Cowboys not only have the best record in the NFC but no team is playing any better.
Rob Phillips: I expected a tighter game than most predicted, and the Browns started hot with 70 yards on the first two plays. But a key factor, once again, was the offense controlling the line of scrimmage. The Cowboys topped 400 yards for a sixth straight game: 255 passing and 168 rushing. That's incredible balance. The defense showed yet again this winning streak is a true team effort; they allowed 160 yards on the final seven drives. Orlando Scandrick, Brandon Carr and Anthony Brown did an excellent job on their talented receivers. You can't point to one single reason for the Cowboys' seven wins, and that means they're a complete football team.
Bryan Broaddus: Thought this would have been an ugly game for both offenses but that wasn't the case especially for the Cowboys. I was worried what I did see from the defense right before the half but they were able to shut things down when they had to. I still believe that the Cowboys caught a break in playing Cody Kessler in this game. He let the pressure get to him especially in the 2nd half where Josh McCown would have likely handled things better. It was a nice win on the road against a team that could have given them more of a problem.
For the initial gut feeling predictions of the staff writers posted on Friday, click here.