Sunday, November 18, 2012
Wrap-up: Cowboys 23, Browns 20, OT
By Jamison Hensley
Thoughts on the Cleveland Browns' 23-20 overtime loss at the Dallas Cowboys:
What it means: It's the same old story for the Browns, who continue to fail to finish off games. Cleveland couldn't hold a 13-0 halftime lead, or a 20-17 lead with 67 seconds remaining in regulation, extending its misery on the road. The Browns have now lost a franchise-record 12 straight games on the road, which is also the longest active streak in the NFL. The loss also drops the Browns to 2-8 and clinches their 12th non-winning season in 14 years since returning to the league.
Special teams lapse: The Cowboys' winning field goal was set up by a mistake by the Browns' punt team. Johnson Bademosi's missed tackle allowed Dwayne Harris to break a 20-yard return to the Cleveland 48-yard line. Six plays later, Dan Bailey hit a 38-yard field goal in overtime.
Secondary blowup: A Browns secondary that was playing without cornerback Joe Haden was exposed in the second half. Sheldon Brown was beaten by Dez Bryant on a 28-yard touchdown pass that gave the Cowboys their first lead (17-13) with 6:46 left in the game. A pass interference penalty on Buster Skrine, who replaced Haden, set up that score. Skrine was responsible for three of the seven penalties on the Cleveland defensive backfield. Brown's 35-yard pass interference penalty led to Dallas' game-tying field goal late in regulation. Skrine left the game late with a head injury.
Weeden delivers late in regulation: After throwing a poor pass that resulted in an incompletion on fourth-and-goal, Browns rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden bounced right back and hit tight end Ben Watson on a 17-yard touchdown pass on his very next throw. It put the Browns back ahead 20-17 with 1:07 left in the game, a lead that the Cleveland defense was unable to hold. Weeden struggled with his accuracy and finished 20-of-35 for 210 yards. He also had a fumble in the fourth quarter.
Mr. Perfect: Phil Dawson continues to have a Pro Bowl-type season. He converted from 51 and 47 yards to remain perfect on the season. Dawson has connected on his past 25 field goals.
End of red zone drought: The Browns jumped out to a 7-0 lead by ending a streak of five straight trips in the red zone without a first down. Watson pulled down a high pass from Weeden in the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown. It was set up by Chris Ogbonnaya's run that allowed the Browns to convert on third-and-1, a trouble spot all year.
Mixed results for defense: The Browns shut out the Cowboys for the game's first 40 minutes. Cleveland limited Dallas to 68 yards of total offense in the first half. It was the fewest first-half yards for the Cowboys since December 2007. After halftime, Tony Romo took advantage of the Browns' soft coverage, going 25-of-33 for 239 yards.
What's next: The Browns play host to the Steelers (6-3) on Sunday.