ARLINGTON, Texas – Kicking or punting to Josh Cribbs was not one of the things the Cowboys wanted to do a lot of Sunday.
They were forced into it in the fourth quarter, however, after the offense could not get off the goal line after the defense made a stop at the 1.
Forced to punt deep in his end zone, Brian Moorman sent a 49-yard punt down the middle of the field to Cribbs, who returned it 21 yards. John Phillips was penalized for a horse-collar tackle, adding another 15 yards to the Dallas 17, even though replays appeared to show he pulled Cribbs’ dreadlocks.
“Trust me, he was the most talked about guy on our football team this week,” coach Jason Garrett said of Cribbs. “He’s an outstanding football player and really shows up and has been a difference making player for a long, long time. We certainly did not want to do that.”
One play later, the Browns had the go-ahead touchdown on a Brandon Weeden throw to Ben Watson.
Garrett said he considered taking a safety instead of punting, which would have given Dallas a 17-15 advantage after Cleveland burned its three timeouts.
“We talked about it, but you want to force them to score a touchdown,” Garrett said. “That certainly crossed through our minds and we had that conversation, but at the end of the day we decided to keep it in a situation where they had to score a touchdown.”