Browns - Cowboys Report Card

After a week of soul searching following the embarrassing effort in the season opener, the Cowboys defense responded with a praise-worthy performance in their pass defense.

PASSING OFFENSE
C -- Forget the yards. This unit is having problems finishing off drives. They continue to be their own worst enemy with untimely penalties (Flozell Adams, Keyshawn Johnson, Jason Witten). They also had too many turnovers. Vinny Testaverde offset another 300-yard passing day with three interceptions.

RUSHING OFFENSE
D -- Take away Dexter Coakley's 33-yard run on a fake punt and this total is 93 yards on 27 carries, including 63 on 18 by starter Eddie George. This area remains a work in progress. It is now setback by the loss of rookie Julius Jones for two months with a broken shoulder.

PASS DEFENSE
A -- After a week of soul searching following the embarrassing effort in the season opener, the Cowboys defense responded with a praise-worthy performance. Greg Ellis led a pass rush that harassed Jeff Garcia into a 0.0 quarterback rating. The much-maligned secondary not only kept the Browns out of the end zone but cornerbacks Terence Newman and Pete Hunter recorded their first interceptions of the season. Linebacker Dat Nguyen got the other Garcia pick.

RUSH DEFENSE
B -- Browns running back William Green rushed for just 52 yards on 19 carries. Quarterback Jeff Garcia averaged 8.5 on four scrambles but he was contained fairly well. Defensive tackles La'Roi Glover, Chad Eaton and Leo Carson get credit for clogging the middle and allowing the linebacker to make tackles. The Cowboys ability to stop the run kept the Browns in third and long situations. Cleveland was two of 11 on third down in the game.

SPECIAL TEAMS
B -- Billy Cundiff's poor kickoffs will one day present a problem. He also missed a 49-yard field goal. Punter Matt McBriar was solid with a 39.7 average, including a long of 53. He downed two inside the 20-yard line. This grade, however, is buoyed by Dexter Coakley's 33-yard run on a fake punt, resulting in a first down. Great call. Perfect execution.

OVERALL
B -- Bill Parcells said it best. The Cowboys can't go 0-16 after the blank victory against the Browns. But he also realizes they were lucky to come out with a win, considering the litany of miscues and turnovers. The Cowboys will indeed enjoy this victory. They have to because victories are hard to come by. And it feels a whole lot better going into next Monday's showdown against the Redskins with a 1-1 mark than being 0-2. However, they also know if they play again as they played on Sunday they will not win many more.

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