Surging Cowboys lean on Dak, Elliott to shred Browns

The high-flying Dallas Cowboys (7-1) had their way with the winless Browns on Sunday, marching out to an early lead and never looking back in a 35-10 romp over Cleveland (0-9). Here's what we learned:

  1. Sunday was never in question for the surging and complete Cowboys. Dallas put together two clock-chewing, carefree touchdown marches over their first three drives to effectively end this tilt 20 minutes in. Rookie quarterback Dak Prescott (21 of 27 for 247 yards and three scores) delivered another pristine performance while first-year star running back Ezekiel Elliott did the rest, rampaging for 92 yards and a touchdown at 5.1 yards per attempt against Cleveland's tackle-averse defense. The Browns are far from an NFL measuring stick, but it was impressive to see Dallas carve up the enemy with ease while using every weapon in the toolbox. Underrated slot man Cole Beasley snagged a touchdown, Alfred Morris (17/56) effectively spelled Elliott and tight end Jason Witten was downright unstoppable. If anyone felt left out, it was Dez Bryant, the Pro Bowl wideout who was shut out in the first half and held to just one catch for 19 yards on the day.
  1. Recently acquired linebacker Jamie Collins endured a rude awakening in his Browns debut, getting caught in coverage against Witten, who burned the former Patriots playmaker for a 26-yard touchdown. The Browns have struggled against tight ends all season, and Witten continued the trend with 134 yards off eight catches -- topping the 100-yard barrier just 31 minutes into the game. As for Collins, he finished with eight tackles and a nice tackle for loss on a play that saw him dump Elliott to the turf.
  1. The Browns would need an angry, spiraling asteroid to take out three-quarters of America for a chance at the playoffs. With half the season remaining, the task in Cleveland is clear: Take a long and honest look at this extremely young roster, including rookie passer Cody Kessler. The third-rounder looked the way he has all season, unfurling his share of heady, low-risk throws for 203 yards at 7.5 yards per pass. It helped to have rookie Corey Coleman (3/41) back in the lineup, but Kessler continued to lean on wideout Terrelle Pryor (5/47/1) and tight end Gary Barnidge (3/23). With no ground game to speak of, the rookie signal-caller deserves a nod for moving this offense consistently on Sunday. The Browns, though, can't ignore Kessler's overt lack of a deep ball or an offensive line that operated as a wide-open barn door for the ninth straight week.
  1. Both Browns center Cam Erving and Dallas pass rusher David Irving were ejected from the contest for dual unnecessary roughness calls after fighting deep in Cowboys territory early in the first quarter. Irving's void as a rotational pass rusher was filled easily enough for Dallas, but losing Erving forced the Browns to shuffle their shorthanded offensive line for three-plus quarters.
  1. If David Johnson is widely seen as the best running back in football, Elliott needs to be in the conversation. While he doesn't equal Johnson as a pass-catcher, Elliott has grown weekly for a Cowboys offense primed for a playoff push. The former Ohio State star was a man against cowed children on Sunday. Elliott shouldn't have any trouble nabbing Offensive Rookie of the Year honors -- unless the plan is to have him share that award with Prescott. Browns fans can only wonder what might be in Cleveland -- with a chance to draft both players -- had taken a different route in the draft.
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