The Dallas Cowboys traveled to Cleveland with one goal in mind, start their Super Bowl campaign off with a victory and put their stamp on the 2008 season. And that is exactly what the Boys did with an impressive 28-10 victory over the Cleveland Browns Sunday afternoon.
Tony Romo and company looked to be in midseason form with they way they assaulted the Browns defense. While Romo’s 300 yards passing was impressive, it was the play of the Cowboys massive offensive line that was the highlight of the evening. Romo had all the time he wanted in the pocket to make his reads and find the open receiver. Even when the Browns did blitz and get to him he managed to snap off a pass for a 30 yard game. The O-Line also created massive holes for both Marion Barber and Felix Jones to run through as each had 86 and 64 yards respectively. The Cowboys would score three of their touchdowns on the ground.
Another highlight to the game was the Cowboys also flew home relatively healthy with the exception of Barber, the team’s Pro Bowl back who sat out the final quarter-and-a-half with bruised ribs after rushing 16 times for 80 yards and two touchdowns. X-rays were negative and team trainers seemed optimistic that a follow-up MRI wouldn’t be necessary, though there’s a chance he has some cartilage damage. Felix Jones proved he was ready to step in Barber’s place and filled the void nicely. In addition Romo required 13 stitches to close a wound on his chin that was busted open when he received a helmet to helmet hit from a Browns D-End.
On the defensive side of the ball the Cowboys got off to a slow start allowing the Browns to march down field and score on their opening drive. However, that drive was sustained thanks to two major penalties on third down that allowed it to stay alive. The defense was able to bottle up an offense that ranked 8th in the league last season. Sadly penalties would be the theme of the day for Dallas. The committed 11 in total, and that would have to be considered the low point of the day. They will not be able to commit that many penalties next week against Philadelphia and expect to be able to cruise to a win.
All in all, Wade Phillips has to be proud of the way his team played in a season opener on the road in a hostile environment. Sunday’s game very easily could have been a trap game for the Cowboys with Philadelphia looming in the background and all of the Super Bowl or bust talk swirling around the franchise. Dallas did a good job to remain focused on the job at hand, beating the Cleveland Browns.
Next week the competition will step up a level, with all due respect to the Browns, but the Eagles looked amazing on Sunday coasting to a 38-3 win over the Rams. There is no question the Eagles are back and they are ready to soar. Bringing a healthy Newman back onto the field will be very important to the Cowboys success next week. In addition, have Marion Barber at their service would also be helpful. We will continue to follow and update you on his condition as the week progresses.