These game notes are composed live and posted during the brief break between quarters. Please excuse typos or misspellings not corrected in the name of internet speed...
Having deferred to the second half, the Cowboys entered the third quarter with the ball and the momentum. The Browns defensive secondary had been badly outmatched in the first half, with Jason Witten abusing the Browns nickel backs and linebackers. Thanks to the thin Browns secondary, any time Romo wasn't pressured (which was often) a receiver would be open and available.
The Browns kept the Cowboys more-or-less under control in the third quarter, as the Cowboys continued to cruise against the Browns.
FIRST DRIVE (Cowboys): After starting at their twenty, Romo quickly hit Terrell Owens for 31 yards, which was called back due to an offensive pass interference penalty on Owens (which the Cowboys media and front office in the press box didn't agree with). With the big play called back, the Browns were able to force a punt.
Big Plays: None
THIRD DRIVE (Cowboys): The Browns nearly caught a break on a Pac-Man Jones fumble, but the Dallas returner managed to cover the ball. Once again, the Browns were unable to cover Witten, and Romo started going to Patrick Crayton as the Browns focused on Owens. Dallas marched effectively through the air, mixing runs by Barber and Felix Jones effectively as the team drove efficiently against the Browns defense. Cowboys 28, Browns 7
Big Plays: 19 yard pass to Witten on third-and-five. 25-yard pass to Patrick Crayton on second and ten from mid-field. Felix Jones right up the middle for eleven yards and a touchdown.
FOURTH DRIVE (Browns): Three and out. Two incompletions bookend a six-yard Anderson scramble.
Big Plays: None
FIFTH DRIVE (Cowboys): The Browns got another heavy dose of Witten, Crayton, and Owens as Romo moved the ball down the field. With the Cowboys throwing the ball at will, the Browns finally got a turnover: Eric Wright picked off a pass intended for Owens in the end zone, easily the best defensive play of the day.
Big Plays: Romo to Witten for thirteen on the first play of the drive. Felix Jones, replacing an injured Marion Barber, scampers for eighteen. Romo to Crayton for 17, and to Owens for 22. Wright intercepts Romo in the end zone and runs it back out to the 13.