FINAL (OT): Browns 20, Cowboys 23
CLEVELAND — As the Browns (2-7) get ready to clash with the Cowboys (4-5), all eyes will be focused on the field prior to kickoff as team officials usually exchange pleasantries.
During Pat Shurmur’s team’s bye week, a CBS Sports report linked lame-duck team President Mike Holmgren as a possible head coaching candidate if, and when, Dallas mega-owner Jerry Jones decides to pull the plug on his current field boss Jason Garrett.
The pair should run into each other at mid-field during pre-game warm ups.
“I don’t think it’s a distraction to us. Of course, I’m not going to comment on it. As far as I know, the Cowboys have a coach, so I don’t know where that came from. It’s not a distraction for us,” Shurmur without hesitation said Monday.
From a football playing standpoint, the Browns have been off since they were pounded at home on Nov. 4, when the Ravens handled them 25-15.
Brandon Weeden turned in his worst performance since the opener, as he threw for just 176 yards and two interceptions. The offense was limited to five Phil Dawson field goals in the loss.
“I didn’t really do my part throughout the entire game for four quarters to help this team get in the end zone,” Weeden confessed. “There are a lot of different things. I think you have to take pride in scoring touchdowns. We talk about three points sometimes isn’t bad, but you have to score touchdowns.”
It’s all systems go for Trent Richardson (ribs) and Phil Taylor (pectoral muscle). Both practiced this week and are slated to start.
The same can’t be said for arguably the Browns’ best defensive player, Joe Haden.
The perennial Pro Bowl cornerback strained an oblique muscle on Wednesday and is inactive for the game.
“The next guy will do a terrific job, that’s what’s going to happen. We’re going to load up the plane with our guys, go down there and play a football game. I’m excited about the work we put in. I’m excited about the team we’re going to take down there, and we’re going to make every effort to do what it takes to win the game,” Shurmur confidently predicted.
Dallas is coming off their “make it or break it” game last week when they beat up the disappointing Eagles 38-23 at Philadelphia.
Tony Romo was mistake-free going 19-26 for 206 yards and two interceptions.
“I think the game is never over when he’s got the ball in his hand and he’s got outstanding weapons to throw the football to. Jason Witten leads all tight ends with 66 receptions. He’s got explosive players on the outside, they run the ball well and he’s proven he can win games in this league. He has the ability to make big-time plays and I think that’s what makes him dangerous,” Shurmur explained. “They’ve got an outstanding front five, the linebackers are active and the corners do a nice job of playing bump and run. They’ve got good players and the scheme’s good.”
Kickoff is set for 1:00 p.m. from Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
FOX 8 Sports has you covered. P.J. Ziegler will have complete highlights and a re-cap tonight on FOX 8 News at 10 p.m.
The Browns will return home next Sunday when they host the Steelers.