Cowboys Handle Cleveland

In a matchup of quarterbacks new to their teams, Vinny Testaverde came out on top. Testaverde threw for 322 yards and a touchdown and the Dallas Cowboys defense dominated en route to a 19-12 victory over the Cleveland Browns.

Dallas outgained Cleveland, 441-202, and held Jeff Garcia to just 71 yards passing.

"We were frustrated offensively all day and we knew that we needed to keep our defense off the field," Browns coach Butch Davis said.

Testaverde, who became the second quarterback in Cowboys history to have at least 300 passing yards in his first two games, completed 23-of-35 passes. He led Dallas on a 90-yard scoring drive on its opening possession, capped by a one-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Robinson.

The 40-year-old Testaverde was nearly perfect well into the third quarter and the Cowboys held a 17-9 advantage after Eddie George rushed it in from three yards out for his first score with Dallas.

George led the Cowboys with 62 yards on the ground.

The last quarter-plus was a different story for Testaverde, however, as he threw interceptions in Cleveland territory on three successive possessions.

Despite the strong start and winning a game in which he never trailed, Testaverde will remember his mistakes down the stretch that kept Dallas from pulling away.

"Obviously, I'm going to have to play better," Testaverde said. "I misread the free safety on the last pick. I made bad decisions and I put my team in jeopardy."

"I wouldn't say it was a poor performance," Cowboys coach Bill Parcells said. "You don't throw for that many yards to be poor. I thought a couple of judgments were not good. He took a couple of chances when the game was on the line."

The miscues, together with Phil Dawson's fourth field goal, allowed the Browns to remain within a score, but Garcia was unable to capitalize.

"All I can say is that it was a tough day and unfortunately we missed a lot of opportunities of getting the ball in the end zone," Garcia said. "We had three turnovers and that is just not going to get a win."

"I have to go back and figure out how we can effectively make touchdowns," Davis said. "We got all the way to the four-yard line and couldn't get the ball in the end zone."

The break never came and Garcia completed only 8-of-27 passes and threw two of his three interceptions in the fourth quarter, the last to cornerback Terence Newman with 5:31 left.

"We just didn't make the plays we needed to early in the game," said Cleveland safety Robert Griffin said. "They had a good three-step game going early. We knew where the ball was going to go, we just had to recognize the routes."

The Browns took a late safety but recovered the ensuing onside kick, setting up a last second heave by Garcia's backup, Luke McCown. The bomb was knocked down by Dallas wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson, who was inserted as an extra defensive back, as time expired.

The Cowboys defense was out to prove themselves this week after a disappointing loss to Minnesota last week.

"The defense came up with some turnovers today, which was what we've been lacking," Parcells said. "It certainly helped us. If we hadn't have gotten them, we probably would not have won the game."

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