The Dallas Cowboys defense was left embarrassed Sunday in a 49-38 loss to the Cleveland Browns at AT&T Stadium, as Dallas fell to 1-3 to start the season.
The Mike McCarthy era is not off to a good start. But the blame for that falls squarely on the lack of talent acquired to help shore up a predictably bad Cowboys defense. Of course, no one could've predicted it would have been this bad.
Dallas allowed the Browns to score on five consecutive possessions -- three touchdowns, a field goal prior to halftime that likely would've been a touchdown if not for time constraints, and another touchdown to start the third quarter.
Cleveland went from trailing 14-7 to leading 38-14 thanks to those five successive scores.
The Cowboys offense didn't help their cause very much. Dallas turned the ball over on consecutive plays.
Quarterback Dak Prescott was stripped from behind by Myles Garrett, leading to the Browns' third touchdown and a 21-14 lead.
Then, on the first play of the next Dallas possession, Ezekiel Elliott fumbled the ball, and the Browns turned that into seven more points, to extend their lead to 14.
Dallas had been in the lead at one point.
Dak Prescott's 11th pass of the day was a touchdown pass to Amari Cooper, to give Dallas a 14-7 lead.
By the time he threw his 12th pass of the day, Dallas trailed 14-28.
Cleveland tacked on a field goal before halftime, and a Kareem Hunt touchdown run early in the third, capping a 7-play, 70-yard drive, as Cleveland built their lead to 38-14.
By that point, the Dallas offense -- as potent as it can be -- couldn't do anything about the disaster laid before them.
The Cowboys defense indeed may be the worst in the league. At minimum, they are on a short list of teams in consideration for that title, along with the Jets, Falcons, and Vikings.
The Dallas offense amassed 566 total yards Sunday, and scored 38 points. And they lost by 11, because their defense just flat out couldn't stop the Cleveland Browns.
Dallas left tackle Tyron Smith was active against Cleveland after missing two games with a neck issue, and Browns running back Kareem Hunt was active after being listed as questionable with a groin injury.
Cleveland also had left guard Joel Bitonio (back) and cornerback Denzel Ward (groin). Both were listed as questionable. Browns defensive end Olivier Vernon returned after missing two games with an abdomen issue.
The return of Smith left the Cowboys with four of their projected starters on the line after the injury issues at tackle forced four-time All-Pro right guard Zack Martin to switch to tackle for the second half of last week’s 38-31 loss at Seattle.
Smith came back a day after news broke that right tackle La’el Collins will have season-ending hip surgery. Undrafted rookie Terence Steele has started all three games in Collins’ spot, while Brandon Knight filled in for Smith.
Defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence and rookie cornerback Trevon Diggs were active for Dallas after being listed as questionable. Lawrence has a knee injury, and Diggs has been battling shoulder and knee issues.
Cleveland cornerback Greedy Williams had already been ruled out and missed his fourth straight game with a shoulder injury.