Early scuffle in Cowboys-Browns game leads to ejections of Cam Erving, David Irving

CLEVELAND -- An early scuffle in Sunday's contest between the Dallas Cowboys and the Cleveland Browns resulted in the ejection of an Erving and an Irving.

Browns center Cam Erving and Cowboys defensive end David Irving both were ejected after they scuffled following an incompletion by Browns quarterback Cody Kessler with 12 minutes, 44 seconds left in the first quarter.

Replays showed Irving did not have a helmet; it appeared that Erving ripped off the helmet and threw it at the Dallas end, who retaliated. Both players were penalized.

Browns' tackle Joe Thomas likened the scuffle to that of a UFC fight.

"After the play was over, I heard whistles and turned around and saw that the guy was on top of Cam punching him in the face. It looked like a UFC fight. So I tried to run over there to split it up so that Cam didn't retaliate, thinking that obviously the guy on top was going to get ejected but as long as Cam didn't retaliate he wasn't going to get ejected. Obviously they both got ejected."

Referee Jeff Triplette ejected the players. His crew has ejected five players this season. The rest of the NFL officiating crews have ejected four players.

The league has now more than doubled its total number of four ejections for the 2015 season and remains on pace for at least a 15-year high in that category.

The highest number of ejections in a season is 13 from 2001, which is the furthest back the ESPN Stats & Information database goes.

The pair of ejections had a bigger impact on the Browns, and coach Hue Jackson gave his take on the scuffle at the conclusion of the game.

"Disappointing. Obviously, you can't throw the helmet. There is a chance Cam would have probably stayed out there if he did not throw the helmet. He has to keep his poise. That is one thing I talked to him about when he came over. Let us not retaliate because somebody is doing something. You have to be smart enough to hold your cool, because it hurts our football team. We can't afford to lose a guy that is a starter."

Erving is the Browns' starting center on a line that has dealt with injuries all season. Left guard Joel Bitonio is out for the season after surgery to repair a Lisfranc injury in his foot. Erving missed three games with a bruised lung, and one of his replacements, Austin Reiter, tore a knee ligament.

Irving is a backup defensive end. He was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week after the Cowboys' Oct. 16 victory over the Green Bay Packers with three forced fumbles.

John Greco moved from right guard to center to replace Erving, with rookie Spencer Drango taking over at left guard and Alvin Bailey moving from left to right guard.

Kevin Seifert and Todd Archer contributed to this report.