Final

Browns 12

(1-1, 0-1 away)

Cowboys 19

(1-1, 1-0 home)

4:15 PM ET, September 19, 2004

 

1 2 3 4 T
CLE 0 9 0 312
DAL 7 3 7 219

Three late Testaverde interceptions don't hurt

IRVING, Texas (AP) -- As many times as the Dallas Cowboys hurt themselves with penalties, turnovers and missed opportunities, the Cleveland Browns somehow outdid them.

In a game that featured five interceptions in a span of six possessions -- most coming in the fourth quarter -- Dallas did enough things right to beat Cleveland 19-12 Sunday.

Allen's Analysis

Eric Allen

Browns-Cowboys: Is Vinny Testaverde hot, or are teams trying so hard to stop Dallas from running that they're making him look good?

No, Vinny is a very good passer, and he's proving it the first two weeks of the season. Before the season a lot of people wrote him off due to his age and poor play last season, but he can still make the throws and lead an offense. In addition to his abilities, the Cowboys are putting him in good situations with their offensive formations. They aren't leaving him back there to get killed and are giving him ample time to make the correct reads. On his end he isn't rushing things and hasn't shown a fear of getting rid of the ball instead of making a bad throw.

He's quickly returning to what he played like in 1998 when he was the Jets quarterback under his current coach Bill Parcells. He's a typical Parcells quarterback: He won't make mistakes that will hurt the team and will take what the defense gives him. If his strong play increases, don't be surprised if defenses start letting the running game free up a little bit to stop him.

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders. He's a regular contributor to Insider.

"It's not the kind of game I like to be involved with," Cowboys coach Bill Parcells said. "But, we got away with it."

Vinny Testaverde threw for 322 yards and a touchdown, but accepted much of the blame for not putting the game away. He missed open receivers, including several in the end zone, and put the Cowboys in trouble with three late interceptions.

Dallas (1-1) scored just two touchdowns and a field goal despite getting to at least the Cleveland 43-yard line on 10 of its 11 drives. The rest were squandered by Testaverde's pickoffs, a fumble by rookie Julius Jones, a missed field goal and two punts.

The combination of big yards -- 441, the most since 1999 -- and few points was similar to last week, when the Cowboys had 423 yards and 17 points. Difference was, Dallas lost last time.

"We did some soul-searching and made it happen," safety Roy Williams said. "I can breathe a little easier and go to sleep easier."

Cleveland (1-1) came in off an impressive victory over Baltimore in the opener and was looking to go 2-0 for the first time since 1993. The Browns had reason to be optimistic, too, as new quarterback Jeff Garcia played well against Dallas while with San Francisco and defensive coordinator Dave Campo was getting his first chance to avenge his firing as the Cowboys' head coach two years ago.

But Garcia went 8-for-27 for 71 yards with a rating of 0.0. The Browns had just 202 total yards, their only points coming on four field goals by Phil Dawson.

"It was one of those days where I could never find any sort of rhythm," Garcia said.

Still, Cleveland was in it to the end, even after giving up a safety with :08 left. The Browns recovered an onside kick and threw deep on the final play. It fell incomplete.

"We need to play better offense," said Browns coach Butch Davis, who was confident enough in his team's scoring ability that with 14:26 left he went for a field goal on fourth-and-4 from the Dallas 5 when a touchdown and 2-point conversion would've tied it.

"Somehow we have to figure out how to make first downs and turn these turnovers into points."

Of more concern for Cleveland is an apparent ankle injury to rookie tight end Kellen Winslow on the onside kick. X-ray results were not immediately available.

The Browns also lost the left side of their defensive line -- end Courtney Brown and tackle Gerard Warren -- to injuries and running back Lee Suggs was inactive again.

The best news for Dallas was seeing its defense make plays, something Parcells said not a single player did in allowing five TD passes to Minnesota last week.

They pressured Garcia from the start and linebacker Dat Nguyen made a nice play to get the unit's first turnover of the season.

But there were plenty of breakdowns, such as pass interference by Terence Newman, considered the best player in an otherwise weak secondary, and roughing the passer by Bradie James. Both turned punting situations into first downs.

Parcells is usually toughest on his teams after they win, especially ugly wins. While he told players not to treat this like a loss, he'll have plenty to growl about -- and an extra day to do it since the Cowboys next play on Monday night.

Testaverde blamed himself for making "rookie mistakes." They soured the fact he became the first 40-year-old to have consecutive 300-yard passing games and the second Cowboys passer to do it; the other was Don Meredith in November 1963, within days of Testaverde being born.

"The bottom line is winning games and playing smart," Testaverde said. "I did one out of the two."

Dallas' highlights included a flea-flicker to Keyshawn Johnson, which set up a 1-yard TD pass to third-string tight end Jeff Robinson, and a 33-yard run by Dexter Coakley on a fake punt that set up a field goal. That drive didn't continue because of an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Johnson.

Eddie George ran for 62 yards and a touchdown, and heard fans chant his name after a late 9-yard gain.

Game notes


Dawson upped his league-best streak of field goals to 16. ... Former Dallas end Ebenezer Ekuban caused and recovered Jones' fumble and had a sack. ... Robinson has three catches in his 18 games for Dallas. All have produced touchdowns.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Scoring Summary

FOURTH QUARTERCLEDAL
dalSF0:13Cleveland safety.
Drive info: 0 plays, -1 yds, 0:00
1219
THIRD QUARTERCLEDAL
dalTD3:35Eddie George, 3 yd run
Drive info: 5 plays, 54 yds, 3:28
916
dal3:35
Drive info: 5 plays, 54 yds, 3:28
917
FIRST QUARTERCLEDAL
dalTD8:02Touchdown
Drive info: 8 plays, 90 yds, 4:03
06
FOURTH QUARTERCLEDAL
cleFG14:28Phil Dawson 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 5 plays, 17 yds, 10:23
1217
FIRST QUARTERCLEDAL
dal8:02
Drive info: 8 plays, 90 yds, 4:03
07
SECOND QUARTERCLEDAL
cleFG0:03Phil Dawson 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 7 plays, 43 yds, 2:12
910
cleFG7:21Phil Dawson 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 10 plays, 61 yds, 4:11
67
cleFG15:00Phil Dawson 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 7 plays, 27 yds, 13:31
37
dalFG1:47Billy Cundiff 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 12 plays, 72 yds, 5:24
610