Browns’ offense explodes in 49-38 win over Cowboys
Published 5:56 pm Sunday, October 4, 2020
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Baker Mayfield and Myles Garrett enjoyed their homecoming.
It was easy to forget the surroundings were familiar for Odell Beckham Jr., too.
Mayfield threw for two touchdowns, including one set up when Garrett had a strip sack in a third straight game, and Beckham scored three times and the Cleveland Browns held on to beat the Dallas Cowboys 49-38 on Sunday.
The Cleveland quarterback was playing at the home of the Cowboys for the first time since winning a Big 12 championship with Oklahoma there three years ago. Now the Austin native has the Browns at 3-1 for the first time since 2001.
“No, and I don’t really care,” Mayfield said when asked if he knew it had been 19 years since Cleveland won three of its first four games. “It’s 2020 and we’re moving on to the next one.”
Garrett played just a few miles from where he grew up and played high school football, on a field he visited several times at Texas A&M before becoming the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2017.
Beckham Jr.? He spent his first six seasons with the New York Giants, a once-a-year visitor for the Cowboys as NFC East rivals. So there were plenty of people, even with the pandemic-reduced crowd of 25,021, who had seen him celebrating in an AT&T Stadium end zone before.
Beckham capped his big day with a 50-yard scoring run on a reverse after the Cowboys had cut a 41-14 deficit to three late in the fourth quarter with three straight touchdowns and 2-point conversions.
“It’s funny, Kareem (Hunt) before the play was like, ‘We just need 5 yards,’” said Beckham, who had 81 yards receiving and two scores with 73 yards rushing on two reverses in his first three-score game in nearly five years.
“And Harrison Bryant, the rookie is giving me advice and coaching me up and telling me to stay inbounds. I said, ‘Thanks, rook.’ And I turned the corner and everybody was blocking and I just turned the jets on and found the end zone.”
Dak Prescott had his first 500-yard game, throwing for 502 yards and four touchdowns while becoming the first NFL quarterback with at least 450 yards passing in three straight games.
Prescott set that record because the Cowboys (1-3) have played from way behind three straight weeks, in part because of turnovers by him. He five the past two games.
And now Dallas has lost the first of three straight home games in what could prove to be a critical stretch if coach Mike McCarthy wants to get Dallas to the playoffs in his first season. Cleveland’s Kevin Stefanski is in his first season as well.
“We keep hurting ourselves on offense, putting our defense in bad spot,” said Prescott, whose interception on his career-high 58th and final attempt ended any comeback hopes in the final two minutes. “And not starting fast enough, that’s what’s been killing us over the past few games.”
The Browns ran for 307 yards and three touchdowns despite losing lead back Nick Chubb to a knee injury in the first quarter. Stefanski said Chubb would have an MRI exam.
Hunt, who has been battling a groin injury, had 71 yards and two touchdowns, and D’Ernest Johnson doubled his career yardage of 26 yards in the first half alone, going on to finish with a team-high 95 yards.
Beckham’s first TD of the game was also Jarvis Landry’s first touchdown pass in his 100th career game, a 37-yard score on a trick play. It was the longest TD toss by a receiver since Beckham’s 49-yarder with the Giants in 2018.
“That was something that I have had on the tip of my tongue a few other games, and I just did not get it called,” Stefanski said. “I told the guys we were not going to go through another game without that one getting called.”
Garrett celebrated his homecoming early with the first of his two sacks on the second play from scrimmage. The second sack turned the tide.
In a 14-14 tie in the second quarter, Garrett forced the first of two turnovers on consecutive plays by Dallas, both converted into touchdowns as Cleveland broke the tie with 27 consecutive points.
Garrett easily beat undrafted rookie Terence Steele and hit Prescott as he was trying to throw, leading to a 1-yard scoring pass to Austin Hooper from Mayfield, who was 19 of 30 for 165 yards. After Ezekiel Elliott fumbled at the end of a 24-yard run near midfield, the Browns drove to Hunt’s 2-yard TD run.
“I am no stranger to this field so playing on this field and making big plays is not new to me,” Garrett said. “I am just glad that I was able to do it again.”
Amari Cooper had 12 catches for 134 yards and a TD for Dallas, and rookie CeeDee Lamb scored his first two touchdowns.
NICKED UP CHUBB
Chubb, who came in as the NFL’s fourth-leading rusher, was injured in the first quarter when his right leg was rolled up on by a pair of opposing linemen engaged with each other. He limped to the locker room, and the team said it was a knee injury.
NO D IN BIG D
Cleveland’s 307 yards rushing were the most the Cowboys have ever allowed. Dallas is the first team since Oakland in 2012 to allow at least 38 points in three straight games in the same season. The only other time the Cowboys did it was their inaugural season in 1960, when they went 0-11-1.
Browns: WR KhaDarel Hodge hurt his hamstring in pregame warmups. … DT Larry Ogunjobi left with an abdominal injury and didn’t return.
Cowboys: C Joe Looney injured his right knee on the first offensive play of the game and didn’t return. He was replaced by rookie Tyler Biadasz.
Browns: Indianapolis at home next Sunday.
Cowboys: New York Giants in second of three straight home games next Sunday.