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Browns vs. Cowboys Final Score: Cleveland hangs on in wild 49-38 game, led by 3 OBJ touchdowns

Cleveland is 3-1 for the first time since the 2001 season.

Cleveland Browns v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

What a wild game. In the end, it ended up being the shootout we all thought it would be. However, that taste of dominating and being up 41-14 in the 4th quarter, only to see the gap closed to 41-38 with time to go, leaves a bit of a sour taste in your mouth. Nonetheless, the Browns are 3-1 on the season for the first time since 2001. Let’s get to the recap of the game.

1st Quarter

On the first play of the game, Cowboys C Joe Looney left with an injury, and then on second down, DE Myles Garrett sacked QB Dak Prescott for a loss of 11 yards, helping lead to a punt. Then, Cleveland got off to an electric start on offense — after picking up two first downs to get past midfield, the Browns ran a reverse to WR Jarvis Landry, who then pulled up and lasered a 37-yard touchdown pass to WR Odell Beckham to give Cleveland an early 7-0 lead.

Dallas responded immediately, as they have all season, with Prescott and the passing game. First, it was via a few misdirection and screen plays. Then, near midfield, the Browns brought a blitz that did not get home at all, offering plenty of time to go and S Andrew Sendejo left to defend two receivers. WR CeeDee Lamb was the benefactor of a wide open 43-yad touchdown to tie the game at 7-7 with 10 minutes to go in the first quarter.

The Browns got to midfield on their next drive, but on a third down play, LT Jedrick Willis allowed LB Joe Thomas a free rush at QB Baker Mayfield, who had to throw the ball away to bring out the punt unit. Dallas moved quickly on their next drive, and on one play, got a lucky bounce when LB Sione Takitaki tipped a pass that fell into the arms of Lamb. Facing 4th-and-2 from the 20 yard line, Prescott hit WR Amari Cooper on a quick pass, and then Sendejo whiffed on the attempted hit, allowing Cooper to walk in for the score to give Dallas a 14-7 lead.

To end the first quarter, Chubb was rolled up on and limped off the field with what looked to be a calf injury. After Chubb’s injury, a facemask penalty against the defense, an 8-yard run by RB Kareem Hunt, and a 16-yard pass to Beckham set Cleveland up in the red zone.

2nd Quarter

After a third down conversion to Landry, the Browns had 1st-and-goal from the 4 yard line. Mayfield ran a playfake, and then Beckham beat his defender on a stutter step to the middle for his second touchdown catch of the game, knotting things up at 14-14.

On Dallas’ next offensive drive, Cleveland took back the advantage. On a first down pass play, Prescott held onto the ball a tad too long and didn’t feel Garrett racing around the edge to strip him of the football. DE Olivier Vernon fell on top of it, giving Cleveland the ball at the 34 yard line.

The Browns’ offense continue just carving up Dallas’ defense from there: an 11-yard completion to Beckham, and then 10- and 12-yard runs to Hunt down to the 1 yard line. Mayfield hurried it up on 1st-and-goal from the 1, bootlegged left, and wasted no time hitting TE Austin Hooper for the touchdown — his first as a Brown — to give Cleveland a 21-14 lead.

On the Cowboys’ first play of their next drive, RB Ezekiel Elliott popped off a big run to midfield. As he was being tackled, though, he rolled on top of the defender, and Sendejo pulled the ball out for a fumble, which DT Vincent Taylor recovered.

RB D’Ernest Johnson then began the next drive with a 28-yard run. On 3rd-and-10, Mayfield found Landry for an 11-yard catch and a first down. Then, it was RB Dontrell Hilliard’s turn, who came in for a 10-yard run down to the 2 yard line. On 1st-and-goal from the 2 yard line, Hunt came back in and punched it in to give Cleveland a 28-14 lead with 7:20 still left in the second quarter.

Cleveland’s defense came up with a stop on their next drive, again with several pressures from Garrett. After Dallas’ punt, Cleveland took over at the 10 yard line with 4 minutes to go in the half. Cleveland had some success running the ball into the two-minute warning, but afterward, they faced a 3rd-and-8. Once again, Mayfield found Landry for a first down on an out cut. Mayfield continued completing passes into field goal territory, although time was dwindling down with 0:30 left and just 1 timeout. The Browns got enough yardage to set up a 37-yard field goal for K Cody Parkey, which he connected on to put the Browns up 31-14.

3rd Quarter

Cleveland’s offensive dominance continued to begin the third quarter. Mayfield completed a combination of threaded passes, with receivers hanging on and then gaining yards after the catch. Down in the red zone, Hunt took the handoff off the left side and went 14 yards for a touchdown, giving the Browns a 38-14 lead.

Even the defense kept feeling it on the next drive! Rather than allowing a retaliation score, the Browns brought a nickel blitz on third down for a sack, forcing the three-and-out and a quick punt right back to the offense. For the first time in awhile, the momentum swung a little bit back in Dallas’ direction. Mayfield and the offense went three-and-out, and then Lamb returned the punt out to the 37 yard line to give the Cowboys decent starting field position. The momentum was short-lived. After getting into Cleveland territory, LB Jacob Phillips broke up a 4th-and-3 pass to force a turnover on downs — and importantly, eating up some clock.

Cleveland’s offense picked up a few first downs on their next drive, assisted by a bad penalty call on the Cowboys. Parkey came on to drill a 44-yard field goal to close out the quarter, extending Cleveland’s advantage to 41-14.

4th Quarter

The Browns played a bit of prevent defense to open the fourth quarter. Dallas took the underneath routes to move the chains quickly. A no-call on a touchdown run by the officials ended up taking another minute off the clock before RB Tony Pollard scored from 2 yards out. The two-point conversion was successful on a pass from Prescott to Elliott, making it a 41-22 game with 12:24 to go.

Cleveland only managed one first down on their next drive, but they still chipped three minutes off the clock before punting the ball back to Dallas with 9:14 to go. Unfortunately, Dallas struck quickly again, finishing the drive with a 26-yard touchdown pass to TE Donald Schultz and having a QB keeper on the two-point attempt, to close the gap to 41-30 with 6:31 to go.

Things got real dicey then. The Browns went three-and-out again, taking only 31 seconds off the clock, after Mayfield missed Beckham on a stop-and-go on third down. The Cowboys made quick work of moving down the field again, and with 3:42 to go, Prescott found Lamb for a 5-yard touchdown to make it a 41-36 game. Dallas lined up for another 2-point conversion, and the end around to Cooper was successful to make it 41-38. Unbelievable.

Dallas then faced a decision — kick the onside kick, or kick off, with 3:47 to go and one timeout? The Cowboys squibbed it to midfield, but the Browns recovered and took over at the 50 yard line. And then, like a gift from the gods, Beckham saved us:

What could have been a 15-yard loss ended up being a 50-yard touchdown run by Beckham to hopefully seal the game, making it a 47-38 game. Then, on the extra point try, Dallas jumped offsides and blocked the extra point. However, the mad scramble for the ball went all the way to the Browns’ end zone, where Cleveland recovered. It was ruled that the Browns got two points on the recovery, making it a 49-38 game with 3:25 to go.

Just as Dallas was driving to score again, CB Denzel Ward picked Prescott off just in front of the goal line. Cleveland ran out the clock from there.

Up Next

The Browns will play at home next Sunday, October 11th, in their Week 5 match-up against the Indianapolis Colts. The game will be at 4:25 PM ET.

Quick Hitter Stats

  • QB Baker Mayfield: 19-of-30 (63.3%) for 165 yards, 2 TD. 1 rush, 8 yards.
  • RB Nick Chubb: 6 carries, 43 yards (7.2 YPC). Left with a knee injury.
  • RB Kareem Hunt: 11 carries, 71 yards (6.5 YPC), 2 TD.
  • RB D’Ernest Johnson: 13 carries, 95 yards (7.3 YPC).
  • WR Odell Beckham: 5 catches, 81 yards (8 targets), 2 TD. 2 rushes, 73 yards, 1 TD.
  • WR Jarvis Landry: 5 catches, 48 yards (6 targets). 1-of-1 for 37 yards, 1 TD.
  • DE Myles Garrett: 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble.
  • The Cowboys had 566 yards to the Browns’ 508 yards.

Quick Hitter Notes

  • The game was fantastic at first — the offense led the charge, but the defense also turned up the intensity. The only negative was the fact that star RB Nick Chubb left in the first half with a knee injury, and his status is still to be determined.
  • The Browns led 41-14 heading into the fourth quarter. That’s a 27-point lead. I understand what Cleveland was doing, and most of the time, it makes sense — you play a little prevent defense, keep everything underneath you, and run the ball on offense to hope that clock continues to bleed. I don’t think it was a bad decision, per se — but at some point, you have to see the little things that Cleveland missed out on. Our defenders were missing tackles. Prescott has already gotten used to rallying the past two weeks in this same exact manner, and we gave it to him. Cleveland escaped with a win, and we should still feel really excited about the offense. The defense, however, still needs a lot of adjustments.
  • Credit to Beckham, who had his finest game as a Brown: three touchdowns, including the clutch run at the end.
  • Cleveland’s offensive line played extremely well in run blocking, as the team had 307 yards rushing on the ground. However, there were some issues with communication and missed blocks during the game that I expect Bill Callahan to address.
  • Big underrated kudos goes to Cody Parkey too — those “gimme” points proved to be essential in this game, and Parkey was responsible for 11 of them (5 extra points and 2 field goals). On top of that, Cleveland caught a break on a once-in-a-lifetime scenario, where they recovered a two-point conversion off of their own extra point try.


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