ARLINGTON -- It wasn’t as easy as expected, but the Dallas Cowboys avoided what would have been a crippling loss against the Cleveland Browns.
The Cowboys overcame a 13-point deficit, forced overtime in the final seconds of regulation and pulled out a 23-20 victory when Dan Bailey made a 38-yard field goal in overtime on Sunday afternoon at Cowboys Stadium.
Dallas improved to 5-5 and won consecutive games for the first time this season.
Things looked bleak for most of the day, though.
Fresh off their 15-point victory at Philadelphia, the Cowboys came out flat. Tony Romo was under relentless pressure by the Browns defense, and the offense couldn’t get anything going.
Cleveland, meanwhile, grabbed a 13-0 lead in the first half. Brandon Weeden and Benjamin Watson hooked up for a 10-yard TD pass in the first quarter, and Phil Dawson made a pair of field goals in the second quarter.
It was a different story in the second half, as the Cowboys rallied back in it.
Romo orchestrated two TD drives in the fourth quarter. An 89-yard scoring drive was capped off by a two-yard run by Felix Jones, and the Cowboys took a 17-13 lead when Romo connected with Dez Bryant on a 28-yard TD pass.
On the ensuing drive, the Cowboys’ defense came up with what appeared to be the pivotal play of the game. Linebacker Anthony Spencer forced and recovered a fumble at the Cleveland 18-yard-line with 5:45 left.
But Romo fumbled the ball back to the Browns two plays later. Cleveland drove to the Dallas 1-yard-line, but failed to score with 1:42 left.
The Browns would get one more possession, and scored on their first play when Weeden found Watson open down the middle.
There was enough time left, though, for the Cowboys to force overtime. Bailey converted a 32-yarder to tie it at 20-20.
-- Drew Davison