"They were yelling, 'Man, get him!'" Dallas offensive tackle Leonard Davis said. "They were fussin' and cussin'. Another time I heard: 'Is somebody going to hit him!'"
No, 'somebody' never did.
» Total yards: 205
» Passing yards: 114
» Rushing yards: 91
» Total yards: 487
» Passing yards: 320
» Rushing yards: 167
Well, actually, the Cleveland defense did say hello to quarterback Tony Romo a couple of times. A tap here, an after-the-ball-was-released tap there. They said hello -- and shook his hand after the game. But that was it. Romo was not sacked in 32 pass attempts. He threw for 320 yards. He could have pulled up a chair in the pocket and performed his job just as easily. Toss in 167 Dallas rushing yards and a herky-jerky Browns' offense and it was easy to see why Dallas dumped Cleveland 28-10 on Sunday in a game that was not that close.
Cleveland was a mess, out of sync and further out of this game on each successive play.
Dallas looked like it had played at least half a season.
The differences in tempo, execution and results were striking.
Running back Jamal Lewis said: "We did not play together a lot in the preseason due to some injuries, and it showed. There was even a play called where I was not sure what I was supposed to do -- I told the guys, I missed that work, and they helped. Dallas is very talented, very good but not unbeatable. We are very talented. We are not that far off from pulling this together. This one just got away from us."
Quarterback Derek Anderson did not want to hear about the injuries and missed work. Even about the loss of receiver Donte' Stallworth to a hamstring injury during pre-game work.
"It's an excuse," Anderson said.
It's a reality that if none of those "excuses" are valid, then, the Browns are in trouble. They were kicked at home with venomous division rival Pittsburgh arriving next Sunday. And Cleveland has lost nine consecutive regular-season games to Pittsburgh.
Dallas and Cleveland are North and South, as opposites after one game as can be.
This game looked like practice for Dallas.
They lined up, ran a few plays, made a few scores, shut down the Browns, shut it down, hopped on a plane and dashed home.
Anderson completed only 50 percent of his passes and threw for only 114 yards. Braylon Edwards caught two passes, one for 14 yards, one for 2. Lewis ran for 62 yards but gained 24 on one run.
With Cleveland's best offensive weapons in check, the Dallas offense did the rest, amassing 487 total yards, winning in first downs by 30-11 and in possession time by nearly 15 minutes.
It was the Dallas offensive line that set the tone for the entire game.
It was a ruthless convoy on cleats.
Give it up to veteran offensive line coach Hudson Houck, who said this when asked to explain what happened out there, especially with his line: "We've got good players."
Yes they do.
Across the board. They looked faster and quicker and stronger than Cleveland, especially that Dallas offensive line. The Cowboys will look that way against most of their opponents this season.
It is the nucleus of the 13-3 team from a year ago that lost its first playoff game, that team with 13 Pro Bowl players that now looks like it has more than that. Much more.
The Cowboys sort of matter-of-factly talked about their effort afterward. I got the feeling that they have had tougher practices than this affair.
Terrell Owens said: "I think we got some things accomplished."
Romo said: "We practice at a high tempo."
When you have been the subject of an offseason, weekly documentary like the Cowboys have, when your fans travel and are nearly as loud in enemy stadiums as the home crowd, when you flopped in the playoffs like the Cowboys did last season, the mix of confidence yet humility and focus required to succeed is enormous.
Dallas seems to have it.
They ho-hummed this game afterward.
And nose tackle Tank Johnson brought it all home.
"We were not perfect out there," Johnson said. "Our team just played one game and won one game. I would not use the word dominate in any way. It's too early for that. We'll just take the results. It's Week 1."
Sorry, Tank. This was domination.
"We lost one game, one season-opening game," Browns linebacker D'Qwell Jackson said. "We didn't do our part by failing to get to the quarterback. Romo understands where the pressure is coming from. He adjusts. He's good at that. He finds the windows. This game was difficult to deal with. But we've got some good football ahead of us."
He said it like he meant it.