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Browns to face pickoff leader



Published: Sun, November 18, 2012 @ 12:00 a.m.

Associated Press

IRVING, Texas

Both coaches get questions about their job security. Both quarterbacks have to answer to unsightly interception numbers.

Other than that, Dallas and Cleveland are in very different places going into today’s game at Cowboys Stadium.

The Cowboys (4-5) made it through the difficult, road-heavy part of their schedule with their playoff path barely navigable, but navigable nonetheless.

Tony Romo and company now get five of the season’s final seven games at home, and only one of those opponents — Pittsburgh — has a winning record.

The Browns (2-7) have more reason to think about next season than postseason as they come off their open week. After the Cowboys, Cleveland and rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden still have the Steelers twice and a visit to Denver against Peyton Manning.

Two weeks ago, Romo was far ahead of Weeden and the other four rookie NFL starters with 13 interceptions. But Weeden and some veterans are closing in after Romo had consecutive turnover-free games against Atlanta and Philadelphia. The Cowboys didn’t beat the Falcons, but they rallied past the Eagles sparked in part by a Romo scramble and completion that kept Dallas from trailing going into the fourth quarter.

Browns coach Pat Shurmur has a stronger case for distractions than Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett. He has a new owner, a new president, and a 6-19 record in his second season. His roster is young and promising, starting with rookies Weeden, an older-than-usual newcomer who has 12 interceptions but is showing improvement, and receiver Josh Gordon, who leads first-year receivers with 417 yards and is tied for first with four touchdowns.

Trent Richardson is third among rookie running backs with 575 yards.

Whether playing for Shurmur or playing for pride, the Browns say they’ll play.

“Playoffs or not, when you’re out there, you never want to get beat,” Browns cornerback Joe Haden said. “People in here ... rock, paper, scissors, you don’t want no one to beat you.”


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