Three quick reactions to Cleveland's 35-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys …
Cowboys rookie duo shines vs. Browns D
Trailing 3-0 early, the Cowboys got rolling on their first possession of the game and never looked back.
Dallas scored touchdowns on five of its first six drives of the game, taking a multiple-possession lead early in the second quarter and never letting the Browns get within a single score. Dallas rode the backs of its rookie quarterback-running back duo of Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott from start to finish to deliver another tough blow to Cleveland's young defense.
Elliott, the former Ohio State star, plowed 8 yards on Dallas' first offensive play and paced the league's top-ranked rushing attack the rest of the way. When he wasn't bursting through big holes created by Dallas' top-ranked offensive line, he was tough to bring down in the open field. He had two touchdowns and 92 of Dallas' 168 rushing yards.
Prescott picked his spots through the air and made the Browns pay by finding the right receiver at the right time. All three of his touchdown passes were to players who found big openings in Cleveland's coverage. He finished 21-of-27 with 247 yards and three touchdowns.
Tight end troublespot resurfaces
Prescott's first of three touchdowns went to a wide-open Jason Witten, who found a soft spot in Cleveland's defense and corralled the 26-yard score. The future Hall of Fame tight end found a number of those openings en route to his biggest game of the year, hauling in eight passes for 134 yards.
Dallas scored its fifth and final touchdown on a short, 1-yard pass to backup tight end Gavin Escobar.
Tight ends have been tricky for Cleveland all season, but it had shown signs of improving in previous weeks. The Browns held Tennessee's Delanie Walker to one catch, minimized the impact of Cincinnati's Tyler Eifert and didn't face a marquee player at the position last week against the Jets. The acquisition of Jamie Collins Sr. should help this area of Cleveland's defense in the future, but it remained a shortcoming Sunday.
Kessler impressive on 2-minute drill
On an otherwise rough day for the Browns, Cody Kessler's performance, especially in the first half, can be lauded as another step in the right direction. Kessler, in particular, was sharp on a two-minute drill drive late in the first half that led to Cleveland's only touchdown.
With 1:43 to play in the second quarter, Kessler got the Browns moving with an 18-yard completion to Corey Coleman. He followed with a 9-yarder to Duke Johnson Jr. and picked up another first down with a 12-yarder to Coleman on the sidelines. The biggest chunk came when Kessler stood in the pocket, completed a 9-yard throw to Terrelle Pryor and sustained a low hit, drawing what would be a 13-yard roughing-the-passer penalty. With essentially a free play at his disposal because of a Dallas offsides, Kessler rolled to his right and found Pryor for a 12-yard touchdown with 23 seconds left on the clock.
Kessler's second half was an uphill climb, as he took a number of hard hits from a charging Dallas defense that kept the Browns out of their territory for the entirety of it. Still, he finished 19-of-27 for 203 yards and the touchdown against one of the NFL's top teams.
The Browns play the Dallas Cowboys in Week 9.