The Cleveland Browns felt entering the 2008 season they would be able to build on the momentum of what was a good 2007. Consider that momentum gone. Sunday vs the high powered Dallas Cowboys, the Browns defense did their best imitation of swiss cheese, allowing Tony Romo and his troops all kinds of time to throw and room to run as the Cowboys rolled to a rather easy looking 28-10 win.
How lopsided was this one? Consider that Dallas put up a whopping 487 yards of offense, to just 205 for Cleveland. They held the ball for 37:29 to Cleveland’s 22:31, and that after the Browns had a close to 9 minute drive that at one point tied the game at 7. The Cowboys dominated from there, as they scored two quick TD’s to go up 21-7 at half, then iced the game with a Felix Jones TD run that made it 28-7 in the third quarter.
Romo was precise, and according to TE Jason Witten it was the best game he’s ever seen the QB play. He went 24-for-32 for 320 yards and one TD and one pick. At half he was 13-for-16, and seemed to be on the same page with his wide outs and Witten all day. The lacking Browns secondary helped matters for Romo, and there was little to no Browns pass rush to speak of.
As far as the rushing game went, the Cowboys also did that well, as Marion Barber and Felix Jones combined to gash the Cleveland defense all day. The Boys ran for 167 yards on 31 carries, a 5.4 yards per carry average and they were not stopped for a negative loss in the running game all day. Barber ran for 80 yards and two scores, and Jones 62 yards and a TD.
The letdown for the Browns was on every aspect of the game. Derek Anderson looked lost and hurried, as he was just 11-for-24 for 114 yards with a TD. Jamal Lewis ran for just 62 yards, and Braylon Edwards dropped a few passes, and at the end of the day had just two catches for 14 yards. The game was very much like last seasons opener in which the Browns were throttled by the team they play next week, the Steelers, losing 34-7.
The Cowboys want to prove they have what it takes to make it to the next level, and with a quality win in Cleveland, they clearly are on the right track. For the Browns, it’s another opening day letdown, one that comes with so much promise that now seems like a team that needs to get it together in a hurry.