With division rivals, it might be difficult to find just one, but against a team like the Cowboys it shouldn't be too hard. After all, our career regular season record against Dallas is an even 5-5, though they have the edge, 1-0, in the playoffs because of that 1977 Super Bowl. Ironically, out of the eleven games we have played against the Cowboys throughout our history, the last regular season game we played was easily one of the most exciting games ever played between these two franchises.
Thanksgiving, 2005. Names like Tony Romo or Jay Cutler were barely(in the case of Romo) or not at all(Cutler) associated with their respected teams. The Cowboys were a team finally on its way back up after a decade long downward spiral, while the Broncos were reaching an apex of veteran poise, leadership and first class coaching few organizations could rival.
The Broncos were coming off a 27-0 thumping of the New York Jets just four days earlier, while the Cowboys put up their own beat down of the Lions, 20-7. The game was touted as one of the biggest games of the year, as the Broncos(8-2) came to Dallas to face the Cowboys(7-3) on Thanksgiving Day. Most of you probably recall this game, since watching football on Thanksgiving Day is about Americans as apple pie, but I will give you all the quick low down on how the game progressed.
Drew Bledsoe and the Cowboys came out early, driving his team down the field early on. Now this is where we must all take a minute and remember how Champ Bailey was robbed of the Defensive Player of the Year award in 2005. Bailey intercepts the ball at his own 35 yard line and streaks down the sideline 65 yards for a Bronco's touchdown. Bledsoe comes back out and leads his team down the field to score touchdown to tie things up on the next drive.
This goes on for most of the game, until late in the fourth quarter with the Broncos up 21-14. The Cowboys, with time running out, are able to get down near the goal line. Drew Bledsoe completes a four yard touchdown pass to Jason Witten to tie the game up. The Broncos win the coin toss and on the second play of overtime, Ron Dayne breaks through the middle and dashes 55 yards before being caught from behind. Mike Shanahan wastes no time and sends Elam out there who kicks the game winning field goal, 24-21.
This game was an amazing roller coaster ride with stratospheric highs and lows. I remember thinking that the momentum had shifted at the end of the fourth quarter and things were really bad even though we had won the coin toss. However, that low was immediately replaced by an adrenaline pumped near heart attack induced finish that caused me to lose my voice that day. This was truly a great game, and 2005 was truly a special year for that team.
I do have an honorable mention to include here. The 1998 game which saw the Broncos beat Troy Aikmen, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin and the Cowboys 42-23 in the second game of the season. A game that showcased the powerhouse Broncos who took a 35-17 halftime lead, which included back-to-back runs by Terrell Davis for 63 and 59 yards. TD finished the day with 23 carries for 191 yards and three touchdowns. Troy Aikmen was held to a wimpy 88 yards passing, while Emmitt Smith was held under 100 yards rushing. Total domination over a team that had just won the Super Bowl two and half years earlier and were considered the "Team of the 90's".
The Broncos were 1-2 against the Cowboys in the 1990's, however, the two losses to the Cowboy's happened when the Broncos went 8-8 and even if you combined the scores, the Broncos still edge the Cowboys in head to head scoring 90-85. Besides, from 1989-1999 the Broncos won 105 games compared to just 102 by the Cowboys. The only thing the Cowboy's did that the Broncos were not able to do was win three Super Bowls in four years(Which is probably the stat that matters most). In any case, it would have been interesting to see which team would have come out on top. The 1993 Cowboys or the 1998 Broncos...I have a feeling it would have been the Broncos.
NOTE: I would have made Thanksgiving 2001 my honorable mention, but it didn't seem right to bring any attention to the fact that Ryan Leaf whooped on us in that game...