Browns still winless after Cowboys roll, 35-10
CLEVELAND — America’s Team is looking more and more like Dak Prescott’s.
The rookie quarterback threw three easy touchdown passes and kept any talk about Dallas playing Tony Romo unnecessary, leading the Cowboys to a 35-10 rout on Sunday over the winless Cleveland Browns.
Rookie Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 92 yards and scored twice, and durable veteran tight end Jason Witten had 134 yards receiving for the Cowboys, off to their best start since 2007.
Prescott has won seven straight starts since losing the season opener, and with the Cowboys (7-1) leading the NFC East and getting better, there’s no reason for the team to accelerate Romo’s return from a back injury.
Romo practiced earlier this week and is looking at a return at some point this season.
However, the way Prescott is playing, the 36-year-old Romo doesn’t look as if he’ll be back on the field anytime soon.
“We’ve got a great luxury and wonderful problem to have,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. “We’ve got some real talent at our quarterback position. I think Tony Romo is one of the best quarterbacks that has played this game.
“My real regret would be to have had him here and not win a Super Bowl with him. He’s that talented. And then I look at Dak and how he’s playing, his future. I just don’t have a problem with this situation.”
As the Cowboys wrestle with success, the Browns (0-9) are plunging to new depths.
They’ve dropped a franchise-record 12 straight going back to last season and lost 19 of 20 — also a team record. Cleveland, which also started 0-9 in 1975, is 3-27 in its past 30 and the Browns are the first team since the 1964 Denver Broncos to allow at least 25 points in their first nine games.
Cleveland is hoping to avoid joining the 2008 Detroit Lions as the only teams in league history to go 0-16.
First-year coach Hue Jackson, who has endured several seasons worth of injuries, said his team’s problems are too numerous to single out one.
“It is not just about the defense,” he said. “It is me. It starts with the coaching. It is a top-down deal. We are not playing well right now anyplace. It is not just defense. It is offensively and special teams. I am not just going to dump on one group. We have to play better as a team. We are not playing good enough, and that is what it is.”
“We’re not going 0-16,” linebacker Christian Kirksey said. “I don’t know if I’m supposed to say this, but we’re not going winless.”
The Browns gained just 28 total yards in the second half when they were overmatched on both sides of the ball by the Cowboys.
Prescott threw a 26-yard TD pass to Witten and a 6-yarder to Cole Beasley in the first half to help Dallas open a 21-3 lead.
And while Prescott’s pushing Romo deeper into the background, the fourth-round pick from Mississippi State is also drawing comparisons to another Cowboys rookie QB — Troy Aikman.
Prescott broke two of the Hall of Famer’s team rookie records in the blowout, surpassing him in TDs and completions. With eight games left, Prescott, who finished 21 of 27 for 247 yards, will surpass all of Aikman’s first-year marks and may start to chip away at some others as well.
Jones said Romo will do more this week at practice, but he doesn’t know if the quarterback will be active when the Cowboys visit the Pittsburgh Steelers next Sunday.
Prescott said there has been no awkwardness between the QBs and credited Romo with guiding him through the early part of his NFL career. If there’s any controversy, it’s taking place outside the confirms of the Cowboys locker room.
“Me and Tony have a great relationship,” he said. “I don’t think this team or anybody even worries about that. We come in stay focused and just try to win no matter who’s back there.”
Browns rookie quarterback Cody Kessler returned after missing one game with a concussion and passed for 203 yards. Kessler threw a 12-year-old TD pass to Terrelle Pryor and also took several hard shots as Dallas’ defense teed off on him with the big lead in the second half.
Kessler was limping after the game. He received an X-ray on his leg, but feels he’ll be able to play Thursday at Baltimore.
ERVING VS. IRVING
Five plays into the game, the Browns and Cowboys were brawling.
Cleveland starting center Cam Erving and Dallas defensive end David Irving scuffled following a play and both were ejected. It’s not clear what prompted the altercation, which included punches being thrown and ended with Erving pulling off Irving’s helmet.
The loss of Erving caused the latest shake up on Cleveland’s offensive line as John Greco moved from right guard to center, Alvin Bailey went from left guard to right and rookie Spencer Drango came in.