Almost everyone, including myself believed today’s game was going to be a nail-biter. That means almost everyone on the planet who prognosticated about the game was wrong. I don’t think Broncos Country could be any happier to be proven wrong, as the Denver Broncos annihilated the Dallas Cowboys by a score of 42-17.
Here is how it all went down.
The Dallas Cowboys, under the leadership of second-year phenom Dak Prescott had the opportunity to strike first, but were promptly sent off the field after going three-and-out on their opening possession. That was the first sign of many bad things to come for the Cowboys’ team, who were outmatched and outplayed throughout the entire course of the game.
Looking to build upon their efficient offensive performance in week one against the Los Angeles Chargers, Denver’s offense stormed onto the gridiron and didn’t disappoint in their first drive of the game. The entire offense was sharp, with Trevor Siemian poised at the helm who dissected a porous Cowboys secondary and hit multiple receivers easily. In just under four minutes, Siemian led the Broncos’ on an 8 play, 78 yard drive which was capped by a ten yard touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders.
Neither Dallas or Denver were able to accomplish anything of merit in each of their second drives, and that’s when the ominous skies and threat of inclement weather led to a suspension of the game with just moments remaining in the first quarter. It seemed like an eternity of a wait, but the team’s finally got back onto the field.
At the start of the second quarter, the Broncos got the ball back, but they didn’t hold onto it for long. Shortly after the drive began, Demarcus Lawrence was able to get inside pressure on Menelik Watson and thrash Siemian to the ground and cause a fumble, which was picked up by a Dallas defender. Two plays later, Prescott was able to hook up with Dez Bryant, who bested Aqib Talib in the end zone for a three yard touchdown pass to even the score.
Looking to rebound after an unfortunate turnover, the Broncos’ offense took the field for a fourth time in order to shift the momentum in their favor. Siemian was able to move the ball through the air with ease, taking advantage of a Cowboys’ unit that was out three defensive backs due to injury. On the thirteenth play of the drive, Trevor connected with C.J. Anderson out of the backfield, who scampered sixteen yards to score and put the Broncos up 14-7 with just under six minutes to go in the half.
Dallas’ offense took the field in hopes to answer the Broncos’ quick score, but were completely shut down by the dynamic Denver defense. Through nearly two quarters of play, the Cowboys offense had only registered three first downs and sixty total yards of offense. Had it not been for the turnover early on in the second quarter by the Broncos, the game could have already reached blowout status by the half’s end.
After an impressive twenty yard return by rookie Isaiah McKenzie, the Broncos were back in business at midfield. Certainly, they had the chance to put more points on the board if they could successfully run an efficient two-minute drill. With a strong rushing attack combination of Anderson and Jamaal Charles, Denver sliced their way through the Cowboys’ defense and got into the redzone.
With the clock ticking down, Siemian was able to get his third touchdown pass, this time a six-yard toss to Sanders, who notched his second touchdown of the game — and catapulted the Broncos to a 21-7 lead. However, the Cowboys were able to get a 56 yard field goal courtesy of Dan Bailey just moments before the half ended, which closed the gap in the Broncos’ lead to just 11 points, 21-10.
Trevor Siemian: 16/21, 179 yards, 3 TDs, 140.7 passer rating.— Ryan Koenigsberg (@RyanKoenigsberg) September 17, 2017
The Broncos received the ball to start the second half and continued their offensive assault against the Cowboy’s egregiously bad defense. It was already bad for Dallas, but it they were about to be absolutely embarrassed. With surgical precision, Siemian picked apart Dallas’ defense and notched his fourth touchdown pass of the day hitting Virgil Green on two yard play action pass.
While the drive may have been a success, it wasn’t without significant loss. First-round pick and starting left tackle Garret Bolles was carted off the field with an apparent lower leg injury. We will keep you posted on the extent of his injury once more information is available, but as of now, it looks to be a significant blow for the team’s offensive line.
A dejected Cowboys offense then took the field, but were immediately shut down by the No Fly Zone, as Chris Harris Jr. picked off a Prescott pass and almost took it back all the way for the score. Two plays later, Anderson rumbled for twenty-three yards to give the Broncos an insurmountable 35-10 lead with just over six minutes remaining in the third quarter.
But the Cowboys weren’t ready to raise the white flag just yet. They were able take advantage of a Siemian interception, with Prescott connecting with future Hall of Fame tight end Jason Witten on a twenty-eight yard touchdown strike early in the fourth quarter to bring the score to 35-17. But would it be enough of a spark to help spring a comeback?
To preserve their lead, the Broncos’ offense went from ultra-aggressive to super conservative in the last quarter of the game, routinely rushing the ball in order to run down the clock and end the game as fast as possible. It’s a strategy that worked well, and the final dagger was placed in the Cowboys’ coffin when Aqib Talib picked off Prescott and took it 103 yards for a touchdown to cement a 42-17 victory for the Broncos.
What a game, Broncos Country! Be sure to give your observations and thoughts in the comments section. Here are some of mine from today’s impressive victory.
Hart’s Quick Hits
- Despite an interception and fumble that led to points for the opposition, Trevor Siemian had an impressive day. He connected with eight different players and was 22 of 32 for 231 yards and four touchdowns. It was the first time that an opposing quarterback had registered four touchdowns against the Cowboys’ defense since Matt Flynn did so against them in December of 2013.
- C.J. Anderson also had a great day, rushing for 118 yards on 25 carries with one score. Jamaal Charles was solid as a second back, registering 46 yards on nine carries. All in all, the Broncos had an incredible 178 yards on the ground against the Cowboys.
- Ezekiel Elliott who? The Broncos' defense held the second-year pro in check all game long. He only had eight yards on nine carries, which is by far his worst statistical performance in his young NFL career to date.
- Von Miller broke a five game sack drought and was able to corral Dak Prescott twice.
- The Broncos offense was great on third down conversions (9/15) while the Cowboys were a lackluster (3/14). Denver had 26 first downs to the Cowboys’ 16.