Prescott, Cowboys overpower winless Browns 35-10

CLEVELAND (AP) - It wasn't a trap game. It was a massacre. 

The Dallas Cowboys (7-1) had their largest margin of victory against the team with the fewest amount of wins, a 35-10 victory over the Cleveland Browns (0-9).

Quarterback Dak Prescott had his best game as a pro, which is saying something considering his outstanding rookie season. Prescott completed 21-27 passes for 247 yards and three touchdowns, with no interceptions. His rating for the game was 141.8. 

Jason Witten had his first 100-yard game since the final game of the 2013 season. Witten finished with eight catches for 134 yards, doing it in his 155th consecutive start, breaking Lee Roy Jordan's team record. Cole Beasley and Gavin Escobar caught Prescott's other two scoring passes.

Rookie running back Zeke Elliott did everything but get 100 yards, averaging better than five yards per carry and scoring twice. He finished with 18 rushes for 92 yards. 

The Cowboys offense was as efficient as it's been all year.  Not including their one-play drive at the end of the first half (they took a knee), Dallas had the ball eight times and scored five touchdowns. They punted twice, and their final drive ended when they took a knee to end the game; that drive lasted 13 plays and nearly eight minutes. The Cowboys nearly doubled up the Browns in time-of-possession, 39:39 to 20:21. 

"We're balanced. We've got a great run game; it starts with those five guys up front," said Prescott, referring to the offensive line. "Zeke does his job of hitting the hole and making guys miss; the rest of the backs that come in as well. So it opens up the pass game and allows us to be balanced."

The Browns actually scored first in this game, on a 31-yard field goal from Cody Parkey. Cleveland's offense gained 62 yards on their first drive, and only 160 the rest of the game. Their touchdown came on a 12-yard pass from rookie Cody Kessler to Terrelle Pryor Sr. 

In between, the Cowboys scored three times. Witten had the first when the Browns left him wide open on a deep out for a 26-yard touchdown, his second of the year. That gave Dallas a 7-3 lead in the first quarter.

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Elliott scored his first touchdown early in the second quarter, a 10-yard run that ended when he dove and reached the ball over the goal line with his left hand, giving Dallas a 14-3 lead. With 891 rushing yards through 8 games, Elliott is on pace for nearly 1,800 yards. In 2014, DeMarco Murray set the Cowboys single-season record with 1,845.

A few minutes later, Cole Beasley was left wide open in the end zone for an easy touchdown catch. Two Browns defensive backs stayed with Dez Bryant on his route, and neither picked up Beasley. Halfway through the regular season, Beasley is on pace for 998 yards and 8 touchdowns.

The Cowboys got the ball to start the second half and marched 75 yards on seven plays, capped off by Elliott's second touchdown of the game, an 8-yard run.

Near the end of the third quarter, Gavin Escobar scored on a 2-yard pass, his first touchdown of the year and first reception of the year. That made it 35-10 with 1:41 left in the third, and neither team scored after that.

The 7-game winning streak is the second longest in franchise history, and it's been done four other times. Only one Cowboys team has ever won eight in a row; the 1977 team started the season 8-0 and won the Super Bowl.

For the eighth game in a row, the Cowboys defense did not allow a 100-yard rusher or receiver; they're the only defense in the NFL that can say that. The most points they've allowed this season is 23 points (week 2 vs the Redskins); this is the first time since 1994 that the Cowboys have started the season allowing 23 points or fewer through the first half of the season. Rookie Maliek Collins had two sacks. 

Their 7-1 record puts the Cowboys in first place in the NFC, 1.5 games up on Atlanta (6-3). If Seattle beats Buffalo Monday night, the Cowboys will also stay 1.5 games ahead of the Seahawks (they'll be 5-2-1 with a win). No one else in the NFC has fewer than 3 losses.

Next week, the Cowboys will play at Pittsburgh, who fell to 4-4 after a loss to Baltimore.

Copyright 2016 WFAA


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